Week 9 Preview: Sharks vs. Lions
Jacksonville Looks to Dominate in Georgia Rematch
JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Jacksonville Sharks (4-4) look to take on the (3-3) Columbus Lions the winner will decide who enter week 10 at #3 in the NAL standings. The Sharks are coming off a three game win streak after defeating the undefeated Carolina Cobras in week six 59-56 in Greensboro, NC. While the Lions return after a victory against the Cobras in week 8 where they defeated the Cobras in Columbus 55-28.
The last time the Sharks and Lions battled Jacksonville won at home punishing the Lions 49-20 to deliver the Sharks their first win of the season. However, Columbus won the first matchup of the year as they opened the season with the Sharks at home in Columbus for the Lions first victory of the year. In that game, the Sharks fell 56-49. Last week new quarterback Daniel Smith led the Lions to a victory over the Carolina Cobras 55-28. Smith threw 13 completions including four for passing touchdowns. Coach Gibson’s defense also collected two scores including a pick six and fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Lions set the Cobras record to 6-2 and look to derail the Sharks win streak.
To prevent a loss tonight in Columbus, GA the Sharks must bring the same high intensity defense we saw in the first half of last week’s game against the Predators where Jacksonville held Orlando to only 6 points going into halftime. Leaders on the defense include defensive back Markus Smith who leads the team in interceptions with four this season and DL/LB/FB Chei Hill who leads the Sharks with five sacks including one last week against the Predators while also scoring two rushing touchdowns for the Sharks.
On offense, the Sharks cannot let up the turnovers that the Lions devoured with the overconfident Carolina Cobras. Quarterback Arville Nelson looks to be the Sharks' solution this season combining for 17 passing touchdowns and only 5 interceptions in three games. Since Nelson has joined the team the Sharks have been 3-0. Heavy target for Nelson has been the Sharks rising star Nyqwan Murray who has recorded 29 receptions for 393 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first season with the Sharks so far. Murray also has become a dual threat on special teams serving as a kick returner that has already yielded 1 return for a touchdown and has come close on multiple occasions to adding more to his special team stats.
Close games have often come against the Columbus Lions which means kickers on either side could be the difference especially if the Sharks face another fourth quarter within three points of a lead. Kicker Cody Barber has been the Sharks best option this season leading the team with five field goals made and two deuces but did struggle last week going 3/6 in extra points and 0/1 in field goals against Orlando. A big game from him tonight could be a big factor in the Sharks keeping their win streak alive as the Sharks are 0-1 this season in Columbus. The battle begins tonight with kickoff set for 7pm at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, GA. Join Shark Nation at Dicks Wings Fleming Island for the Jacksonville Sharks watch party as the party starts at 6:30pm and fans that wear gear will receive a dick special. Can’t make the party of the game watch live tonight on the National Arena League YouTube Channel.
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.