05/19/2012 9:44 PM - JACKSONVILLE - The Jacksonville Sharks built an early lead thanks to a pair of first-half interceptions and never looked back, cruising past the Iowa Barnstormers to a 55-19 victory in front of 10,642 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Jacksonville led 13-0 in the first quarter after Terrance Smith made an acrobatic touchdown catch on a Bernard Morris pass that bounced off the rebound net. On Iowa's next possession, Micheaux Robinson stepped in front of a Chris Dieker pass, hauling in an interception at the Jacksonville two-yard line. Three plays later, fullback Rendrick Taylor broke through the Barnstormer defense for a 31-yard touchdown run as the Sharks opened the gap.
Before Saturday night, Robinson had not suited up for the Sharks since their ArenaBowl XXIV victory last August. But after Jacksonville's May 11 trade with Philadelphia, Robinson returned to the team with which he spent the previous two seasons and rewarded the home faithful with two interceptions, six pass breakups and 6.5 total tackles.
Jacksonville continued to build its advantage in the second quarter, at one point taking a 31-0 lead before Iowa's Jesse Schmidt corralled a Dieker pass for a touchdown just before halftime.
The second half proved to be more of the same for Jacksonville, as Jeff Littlejohn recovered a Dieker fumble and returned it for a touchdown to put the Sharks ahead by a 38-7 count early in the third. The teams traded touchdowns until Jacksonville led 55-19 in the final minute. At that point, the Shark defense made team history with a final stand. In Jacksonville's two-plus years as a franchise, the team had never allowed fewer than 20 points in a single game. The previous franchise low had been exactly 20 points, in a game against Bossier-Shreveport on July 24, 2010.
Offensively, Morris put together his most efficient game of the season, finishing 18-of-24 for 202 yards and four touchdowns. Terrance Smith caught three of those touchdown passes and finished with eight catches for 109 yards. Shamar Graves caught Morris' other touchdown pass, a 41-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Taylor proved to be another record-setter for Jacksonville, as he became the first player in team history to rush for 50 yards in a game (7 carries, 50 yards, TD). The team's previous individual franchise record stood at 42, coincidentally accomplished by Bernard Morris in that same game against Bossier-Shreveport in 2010.
For Iowa, Dieker saw the lion's share of the action at quarterback in place of J.J. Raterink, who left after taking a hit in the first quarter. Dieker finished 16-of-35 for 202 yards and three touchdowns. Marco Thomas led the Barnstormers with 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, while league-leading receiver Jesse Schmidt nabbed six catches for 87 yards and two scores.
The Sharks take to the road next Friday night, as they battle the rival Orlando Predators at Amway Center. The game will air live on NFL Network as part of "Net10 Arena Football Friday" and is set to kick off at 8:00 p.m. The team returns home on Saturday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Storm.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville QB Bernard Morris
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DB Micheaux Robinson
JLS Ironman of the Game – Jacksonville OL/DL Jason Holman
AFL Playmaker of the Game – Jacksonville WR Terrance Smith
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Terrance Smith’s touchdown catch off the net
Spalding Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville FB Rendrick Taylor’s 31-yard touchdown run
National Guard MVP of the Game – Jacksonville DB Micheaux Robinson
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and back-to-back South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2012 season are now available, two tickets as low as $75. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance.