03/12/2011 10:32 PM -
PHOENIX, ARI - The Jacksonville Sharks began the 2011 season firing on all cylinders. The Sharks traveled to Arizona for the first time in franchise history in hopes to avenge the only regular season loss on Sea Best Field when the Sharks fell to the Rattlers 66-50.
The Sharks began the game with the ball on the 20-yard line after a kickoff out-of-bounds from the Rattlers. Though the offense settled for a Marco Capozzoli field goal, 2010s best defense in the league forced the games first stop giving the Sharks the ball on the Arizona 4. Omar Jacobs came into the game running the Jumbo Package and walked in to the end zone on his second play as an AFL rookie. The Sharks put traded touchdowns with the Rattlers to end the first quarter with a ten point lead. A 43-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Garcia to Jeron Harvey put the Sharks up 16-6.
The second quarter saw both teams exchanging touchdown beginning with Arizonas signal-caller throwing his second touchdown pass to Trandon Harvey, the Sharks scoring with another Jeron Harvey touchdown catch from Garcia, Davilla calling his own number for a six-yard rushing score and finally Garcias third touchdown pass of the night to Jomo Wilson. The Sharks recovered the ensuing kick after a Rattler bobbled the kick. The Sharks did not capitalize on the extra possession as Garcia threw his first interception of the young season. The Rattlers ran 26-second drive for a 46 yards culminating in a touchdown with no time left on the clock. Joe Schroeder missed his third PAT attempt to cut the Sharks lead to five, 30-25.
The second half started with the Rattlers driving down the field until Sharks rookie Derrick Summers forced a fumble from Davilla with linebacker Justin Parrish recovering the loose ball. The Sharks found the end zone with a two-yard touchdown run by Jomo Wilson after a ten-play, 40-yard drive. Arizona responded with a 42-yard drive of their own for a touchdown after several near interceptions by the Sharks defensive backs.
The final period saw another Sharks field goal by Marco Capozzoli. The Sharks seven-point lead was erased with ten minutes left in the game after Rattlers wideout Trandon Harvey caught his fourth touchdown pass from Davilla. Sharks quarterback Aaron Garcia found receiver Sale Key for a seven-yard scoring strike on fourth and four, but the Capozzoli point-after attempt would be wide of the uprights. The following kickoff was then returned by Virgil Gray 57 yards for a Rattler touchdown. Kicker Joe Schroeder converted the PAT to put the Rattlers ahead by one point, the first lead for the Rattlers on the night.
With under five minutes remaining, the Sharks began a come-from-behind drive from the Jacksonville five yard line. A spectacular 39-yard catch by Sale Key in the end zone would be negated by offsetting penalties. Jomo Wilson caught a 34 yard touchdown pass from Garcia as the game-clock reached the one-minute warning. Down by two, head coach Les Moss opted for the two-point conversion. Garcia tossed the ball to Kirby Griffin on the sweep with Griffin stretching over the white line - only to be called back by a holding call. The Sharks, still opting for two-points, fired a pass from the 13 yard line into the hands of a Rattler defender. The Sharks led by five points, 52-47, with one minute to play.
The Sharks then attempted an onside kick, common in the Arena Football League in similar situations. The Rattlers recovered and began a final drive from their own 13. Davilla fired a touchdown pass to Jason Geathers with 31 seconds left. The Sharks held the two-point conversion, but were flagged for an offsides penalty giving the Rattlers another attempt, which Trandon Harvey used to rush the ball across the goal line. The Sharks would take over after a 20 yard return by Wilson. On the first play of the drive, Kev McCullough tipped a pass from Garcia to himself for the second interception of the night. Rattlers Davilla would continue to float passes into the stands to run out the clock for a Rattlers victory, 52-55.