06/04/2010 11:23 PM -
Jacksonville Sharks quarterback, Aaron Garcia, has thrown more touchdowns than any player in the history of the Arena Football League. Garcia completed his third touchdown of the night in the third quarter, giving him a record-breaking career total of 932. Garcia would throw four more before the end of the game to defeat the Chicago Rush 64-56 on national television Friday night.
The AFL Game of the Week between the Jacksonville Sharks (7-2) and the Chicago Rush (6-3) was being described by many as a possible preview of this seasons ArenaBowl and the game delivered excitement on all levels. Paul Edinger returned to the Sharks lineup off the injured reserve this week. His first kick, the opening kickoff, bounced high off the rebound nets and was recovered by Irving Campbell another player coming off the IR this week for a touchdown. The Sharks led 7-0 without a single offensive play from either team.
The Sharks ended the first quarter leading 20-14 and only two offensive plays. Garcia found Dallas Baker on a 17-yard pass and Jomo Wilson returned a kickoff 57 yards along the walls for a touchdown. Wilson retuned his second kickoff for a touchdown this season and finished the game with over 200 all-purpose yards for the third time this season.
The second quarter saw scoring off all varieties. A broken play turned into a 7-yard touchdown pass from Chicago Rush signal-caller Russ Michna. Chris Martin gave the Rush a league-best 17th interception on 4th and 15. Martin would zigzag his way into the end zone. Another Garcia to Baker connection, a sack and intentional grounding call on Michna in the end zone, and an Edinger 25-yard field goal (tying a season-high) gave the Sharks a 32-28 lead at the end of the first half.
The second half began with the Sharks getting the ball. Garcia wasted little time to find his favorite target, Jason Willis, for a 24-yard touchdown, giving Garcia sole-possession of the all-time passing touchdown record. The Rush refused to roll over. Michna found receivers Sammy Parker and Allen Turner for two Rush scores in the third, cutting the Sharks lead to 3, 52-49.
Garcia and Baker connected (again) quickly to start the fourth quarter and put the Sharks 9 points ahead of the Rush. The ensuing kickoff, Edinger kicked the ball high off the nets again and recovered the ball after numerous bounces. The Sharks turned the recovery into another Garcia-Baker touchdown. The Rush, down 64-49, scored with under five minutes left in the game to cut the lead down to 8.
When the Sharks took over after the kick, the offense began to slowly and methodically drive down the field, eating up as much clock as possible. With the one-minute warning approaching, Rush defensive back Josh Ferguson stole his 7th pass of the season in acrobatic fashion for a touchback. The Rush, still down 8 points, began to drive down the field. The leagues best defense would hold strong and force the Rush to turn the ball over on downs at the Shark 4 yard line. The Sharks would run out the clock for a 64-56 victory and maintain the leagues best record.
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). All home games will be played at Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks take on the Predators in Orlando Friday, June 18th at 8pm. Catch all the action live on the NFL Network. The Sharks return home Saturday, June 26 against the Arizona Rattlers. Single game tickets start at $8 per game and are available at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets, and the arena box office. To reserve your season tickets, group tickets, or for more information please call (904) 621-0700.