Sharks Drop Heartbreaker Against Predators, 57-50
Saturday May 17, 2014
Orlando returns missed field goal for decisive score in final seconds
JACKSONVILLE – With the Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators tied at 50 with fourteen seconds left, Orlando’s Gerald Young returned a missed field goal 49 yards for a touchdown, crossing the goal line with just one tick remaining. Young’s score proved to be the difference as the Sharks fell to the Predators, 57-50, in front of 9.549 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Jacksonville (3-6) had the ball with a chance to win the game, beginning a drive at its own three-yard line with 30 seconds left. But after three consecutive incompletions, the Sharks elected to try a long field goal attempt. The kick stayed in bounds and did not reach the net, as Young collected the ball and sprinted to the right along the wall for the score. After the touchdown and extra point, Jacksonville had one final chance but could not generate any yardage on the ensuing kickoff return as time expired.
Orlando’s dramatic score ended a back-and-forth game that saw each team seize control at different points. Thanks to an early Jacksonville turnover, Orlando (6-3) raced to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Predators scored the game’s first two touchdowns on passes by quarterback Bernard Morris before the Sharks struck first on a two-yard run by London Crawford. Orlando then answered with a long touchdown pass from Morris to Khalil Paden.
From there, the Sharks’ defense clamped down in the middle of the game, as Jacksonville allowed just seven points in the middle two quarters of the game. The Sharks forced a pair of turnovers, as Jerry Turner gathered a fumble and Micheaux Robinson pulled down an interception just before halftime.
The Jacksonville offense found more of a rhythm in the second quarter, as quarterback R.J. Archer fired a pair of touchdown passes to Jomo Wilson in the frame. Wilson’s second score of the night cut the Sharks’ deficit to 27-20 in the final minute of the first half.
In the third quarter, the Sharks took their first lead. After Jacksonville tied the game on the opening drive of the second half, when Archer hit Crawford from a yard out, defensive lineman Rashaad Duncan took down Morris in the end zone, forcing a safety. The defensive score gave the Sharks a 29-27 edge, their first advantage of the night.
Jacksonville then made it a two-score lead as Archer hit Jeron Harvey for a short touchdown pass on the possession immediately following the safety. The first of Harvey’s two touchdowns gave Jacksonville a 36-27 edge.
But from there, Orlando clawed back thanks to a pair of two-point conversions. First, Young corralled a 16-yard pass from Morris with six minutes left and Larry Brackins hauled in a two-point pass to make the score 43-42. Following a scoring catch by Harvey, Paden collected a touchdown that led to yet another Brackins two-point play. Brackins’ second conversion tied the game at 50 in the final minute, setting the stage for Young’s field goal return.
In the loss, Archer completed 25 of his 40 pass attempts for 271 yards and six touchdowns. The Jacksonville signal-caller has now thrown 22 touchdown passes without an interception over the course of the Sharks’ last three games. Wilson led the Sharks with nine catches for 102 yards and three touchdowns, while Harvey pulled down two scores and Crawford gathered one to go along with his rushing touchdown.
On defense, Charlie Hunt led Jacksonville with six total tackles (four solo) and recorded a partial sack. Both Duncan and Justin Parrish also logged a sack apiece, while Turner notched a partial sack to go along with his fumble recovery. Terrance Smith led all players with three pass breakups.
For Orlando, Morris went 19-of-33 for 342 yards and seven touchdowns against one interception. Paden led the way in the receiving corps with six catches for 149 yards and three scores, while Young and Brackins each caught a pair of touchdowns. Erick McIntosh and Tracy Belton each recorded a game-high total of 6.5 tackles, while Ko Quaye picked up two sacks and Anthony Shutt recovered a fumble.
Jacksonville returns to action next Saturday night, as the team will hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Storm. Next week’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and will air live on CBS Sports Network, as well as on AM 600 WBOB.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville QB R.J. Archer
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DL Jerry Turner
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Orlando WR/KR Gerald Young
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Jomo Wilson’s one-handed tip to himself, leading to a 37-yard touchdown with 28 seconds left in the third quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game – Orlando WR/KR Gerald Young’s 49-yard missed field goal return touchdown with one second remaining in the game
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 available, two tickets for as low as $105. 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.