COLUMBUS – The Jacksonville Sharks took down the Columbus Lions in the first ever win in the National Arena League. The two premier teams meet in Columbus, GA for this Friday night showdown to launch the national arena league inagural season. The Sharks defeated the Columbus Lions, a team that had not lost a game since 2015. The Sharks begin their rivalry with the Lions with 56-41 Sharks victory.
The Sharks broke into the 2017 season with 30 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy Grady to wide receiver Mo Williams on the first play of the drive. The Sharks scored again on a 23 yard field goal by Nick Belcher and a 3 yard touchdown run by Derrick Ross, putting Jacksonville ahead 17-6 to end the 1st quarter.
The Sharks entered the second quarter on fire, racking up 34 points before the half and dominating the Lions, who struggled against the Sharks overwhelming defense that intercepted three passes including a pick six from defensive back Marvin Ross causing the Lions to bench their star quarterback Mason Espinosa. Derrick Ross had an exceptional first half finding the endzone three times and rushing for 38 yards, allowing for the Sharks to lead 40-20 at halftime.
During the second half, the Lions fought to pull off an home game upset but the Sharks defense shut down their momentum when linebacker Charlie Hunt got his second interception of the night, scoring on a pick six during the Lions two-point conversion attempt. Wide receiver Thyron Lewis saw his first touchdown of the night to extend the Sharks lead to 56-34. The Lions under backup quarterback Darren Daniels did not surrender, playing to maintain their 10 game win streak, Daniels threw three touchdowns in the 4th quarter to help the Lions close the gap as the clock dwindled down, making the game 56-41 but the Sharks held them to 41 total to finish the game.
Sharks Quarterback Tommy Grady finished night with 19 completions for 182 yards and 3 TDs, finding receiver Will Dukes seven times for 56 yards and key redzone target Mo Williams six times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground “The Boss”, Derrick Ross proved why he was the best in the Arena Football League, the Sharks star fullback racked up 50 yards on 18 attempts and an impressive three touchdowns to start his 2017 season.
The (1-0) Sharks will head back to Jacksonville to prepare for their home-opener against the Georgia Firebirds Saturday, March 25 for Superhero Night. .
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions play all home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2017 season are now available. Shark Nation Memberships start as low as $99. 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.