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Sharks Fall in Final Seconds Against VooDoo, 36-35

Tuesday July 15, 2014

 Jacksonville eliminated from playoff hunt with loss to New Orleans

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks had a chance to win the game in the final seconds on Monday night, but a 20-yard field goal attempt missed wide right as the Sharks fell to the New Orleans VooDoo, 36-35, on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

New Orleans (3-13) had reclaimed the lead with just under a minute remaining. After the Jacksonville (6-10) defense forced the VooDoo into a fourth-down situation, New Orleans kicker Josh Jasper hit a 29-yard field goal that put the VooDoo on top by a point with 52 seconds remaining.

The Sharks’ offense managed the clock well, as quarterback R.J. Archer connected with Jeron Harvey and then Jeff Hughley to bring the ball down to the New Orleans 15. The Sharks then faced a fourth-and-long, as Fabrizio Scaccia took the field for a 29-yard field goal attempt with 12 seconds left. Hughley then made a heads-up play to give the Sharks new life, as he fielded a bad snap, popped up from his holder position and sprinted to the wall for a first down.

Now with just five seconds left in the game, the Sharks lined up for another field goal attempt. But Scaccia’s 20-yard boot missed wide right, and New Orleans covered up the loose ball as time expired to end the game. The loss eliminates the Sharks from postseason contention for the first time in franchise history.

Monday’s game remained close throughout, as neither team ever led by more than one score. The Sharks opened the game with the ball and the lead, as Archer hit Jeron Harvey for a 14-yard score on the game’s opening possession.

New Orleans then seized the advantage, as two Adam Kennedy touchdown passes to Courtney Smith bookended a Jacksonville fumble. Smith’s second touchdown grab was an impressive over-the-wall catch that gave the VooDoo a 13-7 lead with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

But the Sharks then came back with back-to-back scores of their own, as Archer hit Jomo Wilson for the first of their three touchdown connections on Monday. The Sharks’ defense then forced a turnover on downs, as James McClinton sacked Kennedy on third down and Charlie Hunt tackled Kennedy short of the first down marker on the ensuing play. After the turnover on downs, Archer and Harvey connected for another touchdown to give the Sharks a 21-13 lead.

The teams traded touchdowns before halftime, as Jacksonville defensive back Micheaux Robinson came up with an interception on the final play of the second quarter, allowing the Sharks to go into the locker room with a 28-20 lead. But New Orleans capitalized on the opening drive of the third quarter, as Kennedy kept it himself for a two-yard touchdown run that pulled the VooDoo to within one, 28-27.

The Sharks’ offense stumbled to open the second half, as Jacksonville turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back possessions. New Orleans used the first of those stops to take the lead, as yet another touchdown catch by Smith put the VooDoo on top, 33-28. But the Jacksonville defense came up with another stop in the fourth quarter, as tight coverage forced an incomplete pass on fourth down. On the ensuing drive, Archer brought Jacksonville down the field and found Wilson for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 3:21 left, setting the stage for the closing minutes.

In the defeat, Archer completed 23 of his 42 pass attempts for 230 yards and five touchdowns. Hughley led all players with 10 receptions for 111 yards, while Wilson totaled seven catches for 50 yards and three scores, and Harvey caught four passes for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Archer led the team on the ground, courtesy of a 17-yard scramble late in the second quarter, while Hughley added two rushes for nine yards.

On defense, Charlie Hunt led the Sharks with five total tackles, while Robinson came away with the game’s only interception. Up front, McClinton, Aaron Robbins and Rashaad Duncan all got on the sack sheet.

For New Orleans, Kennedy went 18-of-36 for 176 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, adding 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Smith caught seven passes for 50 yards and a game-high four touchdowns, while VooDoo defensive back Cameron McGlenn led all players with 11 total tackles (nine solo) and a forced fumble.

The Sharks are back in action on Saturday, July 19, as the team will travel to face the Cleveland Gladiators. Kickoff from Quicken Loans Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.


Media Awards

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – New Orleans QB Adam Kennedy

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DB Micheaux Robinson

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – New Orleans WR Courtney Smith

Cutters Catch of the Game – New Orleans WR Courtney Smith’s over-the-wall touchdown catch with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

AFL Highlight of the Game – New Orleans K Josh Jasper’s 29-yard field goal with 52 seconds left 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 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.