Sharks Drop to 4-5 in Lions Den
Sharks Return Home after 43-33 Loss on the Road
COLUMBUS, GA - The Jacksonville Sharks had a heavy-weight fight between the NAL’s two oldest teams the (4-4) Jacksonville Sharks and the (3-3) Columbus Lions. Each team has beaten the other this season with the Lions taking the season opener in Columbus but the Sharks winning the last in Jacksonville. Tonight was not only a game to continue the fueling rivalry but a decision game that allows the winner to stand alone at #3 in the NAL and the loser falling to #4.
The Lions opened this game on their home turf hot starting the game with a deuce, a Sharks fumble snap would be Jacksonville's first and last play of the opening drive delivering the Lions the ball back in the red zone. Columbus scored quickly with a rushing touchdown by WR/LB Jarmon Fortson to give the Lions the early lead 9-0. The Sharks faced three unsuccessful drives that resulted in a turnover on downs, a blocked field goal attempt, and another turnover on downs ending the Sharks first quarter scoreless. The Sharks nearly ended the first half scoreless but a fumble recovery by Markus Smith converted into a touchdown for the Sharks but another blocked kick kept the Sharks at only six. Kicking off second the special teams' battle continued to fall in favor of the Lions as Darien Townsend return the kick for a touchdown but the Sharks blocked the extra point to keep the game at 16-6. Returning the Shark offense to the field Arvell Nelson had his best drive rushing to the redzone for a first down and capping off the drive with his own hands with a qb sneak to score. Cody Barbers' extra point attempt was blocked again as the Sharks trailed 16-12.
The Sharks defense came up with a huge stop in the second quarter forcing a Lions kick that was missed by kicker Blake Erickson, giving Jacksonville the chance to take the lead the Sharks drove down the field with a clutch 4th down attempt converted by a Nyqwan Murray catch. As the Sharks closed in to score so did the time on the clock as the Sharks marched to the red zone but would not get the chance score as the buzzer ended the half with the Sharks down by four at 16-12. The Lions kicked off the second half with a quick pass from quarterback Daniel Smith to receiver Darien Townsend the Sharks exchange a score with a short pass from Sharks quarterback Arvell Nelson to receiver Nyqwan Murray making the game 23-19. Columbus continued to pile on the blows this time with a passing touchdown to receiver Jarmon Fortson extending the lead to 30-19 but the Sharks closed the gap with a rushing touchdown as the Sharks leading passer used his legs to put the Sharks within four points going into the four-quarter down 30-26.
The fourth quarter round of this heavy-weight fight as Sharks WR/DB Nyqwan Murray proved he can’t be stopped as he scored his caught second touchdown from Nelson to start the quarter and a Cody Barber extra point put the Sharks up for the first time in the game 33-26. The lead did not last long as the Columbus went to their go-to player Darien Townsend but this time on a rushing play where he took to the sideline to punch in a rushing touchdown with the Lions up 36-33 the Sharks needed a score but crashed late in the fourth with a critical pick-six as Lions defensive back Droell Greene caught the interception and ran it back for a touchdown putting the Sharks down 43-33. Unable to pull off the 10-point deficient with a minute left the Shark lost this one in Columbus and will go 4-5 into week 10.
The Jacksonville Sharks return home next Friday, June 24 to face the Orlando Predators (3-5) in the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arean in Jacksonville, FL with kickoff set for 7pm. Sharks tickets are on sale for $12 and the first 1,500 fans will receive free inflatable thundersticks.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2019 & 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions play all their home games at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2022 season are now available. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on Facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.