Jacksonville and Orlando to Reignite Rivalry this Saturday
CKSONVILLE - The Jacksonville Sharks (3-1) defeated the defending NAL Champion, Carolina Cobras, (3-1) in a 35-24 victory on Fortnight and First Responders Night last Saturday. This week, the Sharks host the Orlando Predators (1-4) for the first time since 2016. This historic rivalry continues this Saturday as both teams have faced each other in some of the most exciting, epic, and extraordinary games in arena football history. The Sharks and Predators rivalry dates back to 2010. The Sharks lead the Predators with a 12-9 overall series record.
Currently, three teams are tied for first place in the NAL: Jacksonville, New York and Carolina. With both Jacksonville and Carolina playing this weekend each team needs a victory to stay on top. Luckily, Jacksonville finds themselves with home field advantage against an improving but 1-4 Orlando team.
When it comes to the Sharks offense, they have the second-most efficient quarterback in the league. Jonathan Bane, who is currently 84-of-141 (59.57%) for 939 yards (2nd - NAL), 19 touchdowns (T-1st in NAL), and just five interceptions runs the offense. On the ground fullback, Alstevis Squirewell, has rushed 18 times for 41 yards (2nd - NAL) and two touchdowns. The Sharks are firing on all cylinders with the most dominant receiving core in the National Arena League. The Sharks boast four receivers with over 100 yards receiving, two with over 200 yards, and Devin Wilson the NAL leader in receiving yards with an astonishing 415 yards. This fantastic four (Wilson, Neal, Fortson, Gilchrist) combine for 19 touchdowns making the passing game a serious threat to all Sharks opponents.
Jacksonville's Defense proved to be the difference maker in last week's game against the defending champion Cobras. Turnovers were the key and the Sharks had three interceptions and two sacks. Seth Ellis, Cody Saul, and Markus Smith each stole passes from Carolina's quarterback McCullum, while Zack Brown, Jonathan Taylor, and Keith Bowers kept the pressure on night. They each knocked the Cobras quarterback down for a sack, turning the high-powered Carolina offense into a lower scoring team recording only 24 points last Saturday (lowest in team history). The Sharks defense has proven to be the team's most consistent unit currently leading the league in sacks (11), and now averages only 27 points allowed per game. If the defense continues with those numbers it will be hard to count Jacksonville out of the championship this season.
Between the two teams, Orlando has struggled as they joined the league late in the off season; however, they still managed to win their home opener but are currently at 1-4. Last week the Predators showed that they can compete with the top teams in the league by battling New York in a close 54-53 loss in Orlando. This week the Predators are taking that trip up I-95 into Shark territory. No matter how many fans they bring from the Jungle, they will find that they will be in trouble in the Shark Tank.
The game will be on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:00 pm (ET). Tickets to this great rivalry are going for as low as $10 and the Sharks are offering a special Buy One Get One Free Ticket offer for all military (active duty, retired, veterans and their families. For tickets, please call (904) 621-0700 or visit: www.ticketmaster.com or go to the arena box office on game day. To watch the game from home all Jacksonville Sharks games are streamed LIVE on YouTube on the National Arena League YouTube Channel, a link to watch the game will be posted on the Sharks social media pages ever game day at 2pm.
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Quarterback Jonathan Bane directs the Jacksonville Sharks offense
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