05/25/2012 10:37 PM - ORLANDO – The ArenaBowl XXIV Champion Jacksonville Sharks used a 30-point second quarter to erase an early deficit and take control, defeating the Orlando Predators by a 55-37 count at Amway Center on Friday night.
The Sharks trailed 14-3 entering the second quarter as a result of an early turnover on downs. But on the first play of that second frame, quarterback Bernard Morris hit Bobby Sewall for a 10-yard touchdown pass that brought Jacksonville within seven points. From there, the run was on.
After an Orlando touchdown, Jacksonville scored 39 of the game’s next 42 points to take a 49-24 lead early in the fourth. Though the Predators scored twice in the fourth, Orlando never cut its deficit within two scores in that final frame.
Included in that mid-game run was a 37-yard field goal off the left foot of Marco Capozzoli, who made all three of his field goal attempts. Capozzoli set a pair of franchise records on Friday, as that 37-yarder was the longest in team history and he became the first Shark to kick three field goals in one game. Capozzoli is now 7-for-7 on field goal attempts this season.
The Sharks’ surge was keyed by an impressive defensive effort during the middle portion of the game. From the middle of the second quarter until the end of the third, Jacksonville’s defense went seven possessions without allowing a touchdown. This included a pair of fumble recoveries, two turnovers on downs and a missed field goal.
Aaron Robbins led the Sharks’ defensive onslaught, sacking Orlando’s Chris Leak on two separate occasions. Scooter Berry continued to build on his impressive rookie season as well, notching a sack and a fumble recovery. Berry now leads the team with six sacks and has recorded one in five of the team’s last seven games. Overall, Jacksonville set a new season high with four quarterback sacks on Friday night.
Offensively, Morris played another mistake-free contest in his third start of the season. He tossed a season-high six touchdown passes, finishing 18-of-34 for 173 yards in the process. Morris also ran for 44 yards on four carries, including a 24-yard touchdown dash on the first play of the fourth quarter. Morris has now thrown 10 touchdown passes without an interception in his last three games.
Terrance Smith led Jacksonville’s receiving corps with 10 catches for 64 yards and three touchdowns. Smith has now scored at least two touchdowns in nine of the Sharks’ 10 games in 2012. Sewall added four catches for 74 yards and two scores, while Jamarko Simmons hauled in a touchdown as well.
For the Predators, Leak went 17-of-32 for 275 yards and four touchdowns. Dwayne Eley, Jr. proved to be one of Orlando’s biggest offensive threats, as he racked up 114 receiving yards and 240 all-purpose yards. T.T. Toliver led the way with three touchdown catches for the Predators.
With the win, Jacksonville temporarily pulls into a tie with the Tampa Bay Storm for second place in the South Division and the final wild-card spot in the American Conference. The Storm will host the Milwaukee Mustangs on Saturday night.
The Sharks return to Sea Best Field next Saturday night as they host those same Tampa Bay Storm, looking to avenge a 71-69 loss in Tampa on March 30. It will be Star Wars Night, and kickoff for the game is set for 7:00 p.m.
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.