JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks lose their third staright game on Saturday night despite a change at quarterback. R.J. Archer replaced a struggling Bernard Morris but the Sharks offense still only managed 36 points against The SaberCats.
Down one score at the start of the third quarter on Saturday night, the Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) committed back-to-back turnovers and could not recover, falling to the San Jose SaberCats (6-2) by a 57-36 count in front of 8,641 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Sharks came out of the locker room after halftime facing just a seven-point deficit, 29-22, but Jacksonville turned the ball over on each of its first two possessions of the second half. The SaberCats converted the second turnover into another touchdown, taking a commanding 36-22 lead.
The Sharks did get on the board with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, as Archer hit Markee White from three yards out and fired a 20-yard strike to Jeff Hughley. But each time, San Jose was able to answer with a score of its own, and the Sharks could not come within fewer than two scores at any point in the final quarter.
Making his first start of the season, Archer completed 29 of his 46 passes for 264 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Harvey and White led the Sharks with matching 11-catch performances, as Harvey totaled 108 yards and two scores while White added 78 yards and a touchdown. Hughley found the end zone twice as well, averaging a team-high 12.5 yards per catch on his six grabs for 75 yards.
On defense, Terrance Smith led the Sharks with five total tackles (four solo), two tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Aaron Robbins dropped Michna twice for his sixth and seventh sacks of the season, forcing a fumble as well. Turner and Jamaal Fudge each added a tackle for loss.
With the loss, the Sharks fell into a first-place tie with the Tampa Bay Storm atop the South Division. Jacksonville returns to the field on Saturday, May 25, when the team will face the in-state rival Orlando Predators at Amway Center in Orlando. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – San Jose QB Russ Michna
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – San Jose MLB Francis Maka
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – San Jose WR/JLB Huey Whittaker
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Jeron Harvey’s one-handed, 23-yard touchdown catch against the wall in the second quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville DL Ayanga Okpokowuruk’s blocked extra point return in the second quarter