WEEK FIVE PREVIEW: SHARKS VS. EMPIRE Jacksonville Ready to Fly after Big Victory at Home
JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Jacksonville Sharks (1-3) secured their first victory of the season with 10 games left in the regular season as they defeated their NAL rival the Columbus Lions in thrilling fashion inside the Shark Tank Saturday night 49-20. The lack of Lion play left the only roar coming from the Shark fan base as well-over 6,000 fans witnessed huge hits including a season-high eight sacks, stunning receiving touchdowns including an over-the-wall touchdown reception by Devin Wilson worthy of nothing less than Sports Center Top 10 moment. Fans even got to see some excellent special teams plays as Sharks kick returner had some massive returns for near scores including a 46-yard return while new kicker Cody Barber had a smooth night with a perfect 1/1 in field goals and 5/7 in extra-point attempts.
The win at home was refreshing for not only the fans but the players as well as the team getting a win under their belt with two upcoming road games starting this week. The Jacksonville Sharks fly to Albany to face the Empire (2-1) who are currently tied for second in the National Arena League with the Columbus Lions (2-1). The Empire come off a bye week and won their last game in week 3 against the Orlando Predators in a 78 to 61 victory in Orlando. The Shark's offense is led by league-leading quarterback Malik Henry who currently leads the NAL in passing yards and passing touchdowns adding six last week against the Lions. Malik’s success under center is a combination of strong unit success as the Sharks have actually had all season long as that side of the ball, despite their record Burley's offense has remained a top-three offense in the NAL. This week the Sharks now lead all teams in points scored with 206 total points scored on offense going into week 5. The Sharks leading receiver Devin Wilson is currently one touchdown short of double digits for receiving touchdowns (9) and currently has extended his team touchdown streak as he has scored at least one touchdown in his last 30-straight games as a Shark.
Receiver Rob Jones has been a hot target and Wilson’s wingman is already at six receiving touchdowns so far this season. The former New York Streets star has also been the Sharks key kick returner averaging over 23-yards per return this season. The most unforgettable factor last week that got local and league-wide attention was the incredible game the Jacksonville Sharks defense had holding the Columbus Lions a season-low 20 points which included shutouts in the 2nd and 4th quarters. The Sharks sack attack totaled a season-high eight sacks on the night including a handful of qb pressures. Sharks defensive end Kwan Stallworth had an MVP-like night with six tackles and three sacks against Columbus. Lineman Faleoga Russell and Chei Hill each added two sacks on the former Shark quarterback Danny Southwick. Defensive back Kenny Veal continues to prove himself for an All-NAL season with his third straight interception of the year and now leads the NAL in interceptions.
Going into week 5, the Jacksonville Sharks may now be one of the best 1-3 teams in league history with a quarterback that leads in league in passing yards (925) & touchdowns (21), a defensive back that leads the league in interceptions (3), a receiver in Devin Wilson that leads the league in receiving yards (329), and a linebacker by the name of Markus Smith that leads the league in tackles (20). Now as Jacksonville sweeps through the NAL with accolades they must be sure to sweep up a win this week in upstate New York as the awards are great but a losing record may prevent Jacksonville from postseason play.
This week’s game is set for Saturday, May 21st with kickoff at 7pm. Fans can watch the game online on the National Arena League YouTube Channel or check out our game day watch tonight post on the Shark Facebook page or join Shark Nation at another Dicks Wings Watch Party as the Watch Party location will be announced on Sharks social media later this week.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2019 & 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions play all their home games at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2022 season are now available. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on Facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.