07/13/2013 10:08 PM
JACKSONVILLE – As a result of three first-half turnovers, the Jacksonville Sharks (10-6) fell behind by three scores midway through the second quarter and could not rally in the second half, as Jacksonville dropped a 62-40 result to the Spokane Shock (12-4) in front of 9,175 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night.
With the loss, Jacksonville drops to the No. 2 seed in the American Conference behind the Philadelphia Soul, who take over the top spot after winning on Friday night. Though the Sharks do maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Soul, Jacksonville no longer controls its own destiny for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Saturday’s game remained close into the second quarter, as Kyle Rowley’s touchdown pass to Jeff Hughley pulled the Sharks within a point, 14-13, with 11:27 remaining in the first half. But after Spokane scored on the ensuing possession, the Shock defense swung the game with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns that came on back-to-back passes. After Terence Moore’s pick-six made the score 28-13, Paul Stephens followed up with one of his own to give the Shock a 22-point edge with 3:10 left in the first half.
Though the Shark defense was able to make plays, sacking Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer twice and recording an interception, Jacksonville never closed the gap to within less than three scores at any point in the second half. After Meyer connected with Adron Tennell with 4:58 remaining, Rowley fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to London Crawford in the final minute for the game’s last score.
While Jacksonville did not come away with a win on the scoreboard, a pair of Shark players turned their impressive seasons into franchise history. In the third quarter, Jeron Harvey grabbed his team-high 132nd reception of the season, establishing a new single-season franchise mark. Though his streak of seven consecutive games with a touchdown pass was snapped at 11, Harvey finished the game with 10 catches for 76 yards and now has 137 catches this season.
In the fourth quarter, Terrance Smith made a diving catch to pull down his 12th interception of the season, breaking teammate Micheaux Robinson’s franchise record that was set during the 2011 season. Smith is now second in the league with those 12 picks.
Beyond Harvey and Smith’s record-breaking performances, Crawford continued the torrid start to his AFL career. Late in the third quarter, he burned the Spokane defense with a double-move and hauled in Rowley’s pass for a highlight-reel 49-yard touchdown catch. Crawford touched the ball four times and scored a touchdown on each, as he collected two catches for 62 yards and two rushes for four yards. Crawford now has seven touchdowns in his last two games and has totaled nine scores in the first four games of his career.
Making his third start in a Shark uniform, Rowley completed 23 of his 38 passes for 230 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. In addition to Harvey’s and Crawford’s contributions, Hughley caught seven passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns, while Markee White gained 48 yards on his four grabs.
On defense, Jerry Turner was a force in the backfield throughout Saturday’s game, racking up two tackles for loss and one-and-a-half sacks. Turner also recorded his sixth forced fumble of the season, tying the franchise record in that category. Nose guard Rashaad Duncan chipped in with a partial sack, while in the secondary Tracy Belton totaled 6.5 tackles (six solo) and a pass breakup, while Micheaux Robinson recorded a team-high two pass breakups.
For Spokane, Meyer went 18-of-30 for 182 yards, six touchdowns and an interception, adding a rushing touchdown as well. Though he serves as Spokane’s backup quarterback, Arvell Nelson made a huge contribution in the red zone, catching a game-high four touchdown passes. Kamar Jorden led Spokane with eight catches for 72 yards, while Chris Pino and Adron Tennell each hauled in a touchdown for the Shock.
On defense, Ruschard Dodd-Masters led all players with seven solo tackles, while Moore added 4.5 total tackles and a sack to go along with his interception. Diyral Briggs also logged a sack and a forced fumble for Spokane.
Jacksonville returns to action next Saturday night, playing its final road game of the 2013 season against the New Orleans VooDoo on Saturday, July 20. Kickoff from the Superdome is set for 6:00 p.m. ET.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Spokane WR/QB Arvell Nelson
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Spokane JLB Terence Moore
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Spokane WR/QB Arvell Nelson
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Markee White’s 28-yard fourth-down catch along the sidelines midway through the first quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville WR London Crawford’s 49-yard touchdown reception with 4:08 left in the third quarter
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time 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 2014 season are now on sale, two tickets as low as $185. 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 and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.