Sharks Struggle in 52-41 Loss to Rival
Predators defeat Sharks for first time since 2016
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks entered their first night of National Arena League action with a roaring return of arena football. Fans both North & Central Florida found their way in to the Vystar Veterans Memorial for an exciting matchup. This was Shark Nation’s first time since the Shark won the National Arena League Championship in 2019. With well over 7,000 shark fans in the stands this long-time in-state rivalry between Sharks and Predators proved to be alive & well. Longtime rival Orlando Predators entered the game 0-1 under Orlando new head coach & arena football legend Ben Bennett. After back to back scoring drives by quarterback Mike Fafaul and a deuce from kicker Brandon Behr Jacksonville was in position to take over the game. In the second quarter Orlando battled back putting 19 points against the Sharks in that quarter while Jacksonville faced a wave of adversity the heaviest of which resulted in the injury of their championship-winning quarterback Mike Fafaul, who went down before halftime, prior to the injury Fafaul completed 14 passes for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Sharks Nation did not let up, Jacksonville's roaring crowd and high tempo defense kept Orlando’s Brian Hicks in check as the Sharks defense combined for four tackles for loss, a sack, forced fumble, and seven pass breakups. However turnovers became too costly as Jacksonville who started the game up 14-0 later found themselves behind 35-45 entering the fourth. Backup quarterback Breck Ruddick threw a 22-yard pass to All-NAL fullback Alstevis Squirewell who’s touchdown put the Sharks six points shy of a victory but Orlando had the last strike in the late night brawl as a 11-yard touchdown pass from Brian Hicks to DJ Meyers put this game away for Orlando as they defeated the Sharks for the first time since 2016. The Sharks will face Orlando on Friday, July 2 in Orlando at the Amway Center for their last regular season matchup. The Sharks next opponent will be their most recent NAL rival the Columbus Lions (2-1) in Columbus, GA at the Columbus Civic Center.
Tonight’s Duval Motor Company Shark Players of the Game Include:
Duval Ford Offensive Player: WR, Devin Wilson. Whose most expecting homecoming to the Sharks tank following his 1st Team All-NAL performance in 2019 did not disappoint. Wilson finished the night leading the team in receptions with 10 receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Duval Acura Defensive Player of the Game: LB, Zack Brown, who stood out as tonights overall leader in tackles for lost gaining 2.5, a sack that resulted in a five yard loss, and a pass breakup.
Duval Honda Special Teams Player of the Game: K, Brandon Behr who earned his first deuce in 2021 as well as kicked threePATs for the Sharks.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions and play all home games at the Vystar Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. SINGLE GAME TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE. To become a Shark Nation member or for more ticket information please call (904) 621-0700 or visit jaxsharks.com 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.