07/22/2011 11:13 PM -
Fridays game between the Spokane Shock (9-8) and the Jacksonville Sharks (13-4) was broadcasted live on the NFL Network, and featured two of the top franchises in the AFL. The Spokane Shock came into the game on a two game winning streak, while the Jacksonville Sharks came into it with a three game losing streak. The Sharks looked to snap a franchise long losing streak against the defending ArenaBowl Champions on Sea Best Field.
The Sharks came out of the gate on fire, thanks to a 57 yard kick return to put Jacksonville ahead in under a minute of play. The Shock responded with a touchdown pass to last weeks hailmary hero, Randy Hymes. The Sharks took the lead at the end of the quarter with a touchdown pass to the returning Jamarko Simmons.
The Shock took advantage on the next drive with a pass to the tight end, Chris Pino, to give Spokane the lead 14-13. Taylor Rowan helped the Shock build their lead with a field goal with eight minutes left in the second quarter. A 31 yard touchdown pass from Aaron Garcia to Jeff Hughley not only gave the Sharks the lead 20-17, but he also passed the 50,000 yard marker for his career. A series of touchdown exchanges left the Sharks ahead of the Shock 26-23. On Spokanes next drive, kicker Taylor Rowan made his second field goal of the evening to tie the game at 26 with only 40 seconds left in the half. An overturned ruling of a recovered onside kick by Spokane left the Sharks with great field position. It didnt take long for Jacksonville to capitalize, Jomo Wilson caught a 7 yard touchdown pass from Garcia on the second play of the series to give the Sharks the lead 33-26. The Shock attempted to drive the ball at the end of the half, but Bill Alford/s interception of Kyle Rowley ended the half.
The second half opened up in Jacksonvilles favor, with a 4th down stop on the opening drive for Spokane, which was turned around quickly by the Sharks. Omar Jacobs came into the game at quarterback, and his first play was a touchdown pass to Kevin Concepcion, a new addition to the Jacksonville roster. Greg Orton gave a spark to Spokane, with a 45 yard touchdown pass from Kyle Rowley to narrow the Sharks lead to 40-33. Jacksonville answered with Omar Jacobs second touchdown pass of the night, complete to Jeff Hughley. A fumble recovery by Sharks Defensive Back LaRoche Jackson, led to Omar Jacobs third consecutive drive ending with a touchdown pass, this one complete to Jamarko Simmons. The Shock showed signs of life at the end of the third quarter, with a short touchdown pass to Greg Orton from the backup Quarterback Steven Sheffield.
Jamarko Simmons opened up the fourth quarter with his fourth touchdown reception of the night, but the Shock quickly countered with Greg Ortons third touchdown of the evening. Jamarko added a rushing touchdown to his night on the next drive, for his fifth touchdown of the evening. The back to back scoring stopped on the next drive when Sale Key intercepted Steven Sheffield and returned it for another Jacksonville touchdown. Spokane made a dent in the Sharks lead with one minute left in the game, to bring the score to 75-56. The Sharks ran out the clock to end the game and took home their first win in four weeks.
The victory helps the Sharks end their season with a 14-4 record, and snaps a franchise long three game losing streak. Jamarko Simmons made an elite return to the team with five total touchdowns. The Sharks also used the game to show the skills of their entire team, including Omar Jacobs, who ended every one of his drives in a touchdown. The game was another historic evening for Sharks Quarterback Aaron Garcia, as he passed the 50,000 yard mark for his career. The Sharks will begin their post-season next week back on Sea Best Field and also back on the NFL Network when they take on the American Conference Fourth Seed (either the Orlando Predators or the Georgia Force) on Friday, July 29th at 8:00PM EST. The Sharks will seek the first playoff win in franchise history, and will also seek to make a statement across the entire league.
Offensive Player of the Game: Jamarko Simmons (JAX)