07/26/2014 10:04 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks closed out the 2014 season on a high note on Saturday night, taking down the Los Angeles KISS by a 53-36 count in front of 11,084 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Jacksonville (7-11) took control of a close game in the second half. After a one-yard rushing touchdown by fullback Jared McGriff-Culver in the final minute of the second quarter gave the Sharks a 26-24 lead, the Sharks’ defense opened the second half with a defensive stop. Los Angleles (3-15) turned it over on downs when Jacksonville Jack linebacker Charlie Hunt tackled receiver Donovan Morgan shot of the first down marker. On the very next play, R.J. Archer hit Jomo Wilson for a six-yard score to put the Sharks ahead, 32-24.
Though the KISS responded with a touchdown of their own, Jacksonville came right back with an answering score. On second down, Archer fired a 17-yard strike to Jeron Harvey for the first of their two touchdown connections of the game. The extra point gave Jacksonville the game’s first two-score lead, 39-30, early in the fourth quarter.
The Jacksonville defense followed that score with another stop. On a first-down play from the KISS’ own 22, defensive lineman Jerry Turner broke through to take down Raterink for a sack. With tight coverage, the Sharks’ secondary then forced Raterink into three straight incompletions, as Keiron Jones knocked down a fourth-down pass that allowed the Sharks to get the ball back via a turnover on downs. On the very first play of the ensuing drive, Archer hit Jomo Wilson in the corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score that put Jacksonville on top by a 46-30 count.
Trailing by 16 points, Los Angeles did have a chance to get back into the game after Raterink connected with Morgan for an eight-yard touchdown. But Jones intercepted the two-point pass, allowing the Sharks to maintain a two-score lead. The rookie defensive back wasn’t finished, as he recovered the KISS’ ensuing onside kick Getting the ball at the Los Angeles 11, the Sharks cashed in on the short field. On third-and-goal from the eight, Archer hit Harvey in traffic for a touchdown that proved to be the game’s final score.
Leading by three scores, the Sharks sealed the game with a bar ball recovery, as Fabrizio Scaccia’s kickoff banged off the iron and was recovered by Jones. Archer then ran a quarterback sneak forward to run out the clock and end the game.
Earlier, the first half progressed in back-and-forth fashion, as neither team led by more than four points prior to halftime. McGriff-Culver was Jacksonville’s offensive catalyst before the break, as the hauled in a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the game’s opening possession and then barreled his way in for a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter.
For the Sharks, Archer finished the season with a 25-for-36 performance, throwing for 318 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. Hughley paced the Sharks with nine catches for 106 yards, racking up a total of 158 all-purpose yards in the game. Wilson (seven receptions, 99 yards) and Harvey (four receptions, 44 yards) each found the end zone twice, while McGriff-Culver totaled six rushes for 11 yards and two scores to go along with his touchdown catch.
Defensively, Brodrick Brown led the Sharks with 4.5 tackles, while Xavier Brewer totaled 2.5 stops, recorded a pass breakup and intercepted a pass on the KISS’ opening possession. Up front, Turner and James McClinton each notched a sack, as McClinton finished the season with a team-high total of 9.0 sacks.
For the KISS, Raterink went 14-of-29 for 142 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Fullback Sam Campbell racked up 16 rushing yards and two scores, while Morgan led the way at receiver with five grabs for 65 yards and a touchdown. On defense, J.C. Neal racked up a game-high total of 7.5 tackles, while Darryl Cato-Bishop and Ayo Idowu each notched a sack.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville QB R.J. Archer
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DB Xavier Brewer
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Jacksonville FB Jared McGriff-Culver
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Jeron Harvey’s eight-yard touchdown catch with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville WR Jomo Wilson’s relentless effort on a 46-yard catch-and-run in the second 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 2015 season are now available, two tickets for as low as $99. To purchase 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.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game live on ESPN.