04/09/2010 10:43 PM -
JACKSONVILLE, FLA The Jacksonville Sharks (1-1, 0-1) fell to the Alabama Vipers (1-1, 1-0) in their second consecutive road game to open the season 63-49.
The Sharks and Vipers spent the half practically trading touchdowns. The Alabama Vipers started the game with a touchdown drive that took nearly 9 minutes a drive unheard of in the AFL. The Sharks answered quickly with a two play, 37-yard drive ending an Aaron Garcias 887th career passing touchdown in the AFL.
The first quarter ended with the Vipers controlling the clock by running the ball, continuing to drive for the second time. The second quarter started with Dan Alexanders second rushing touchdown for the Vipers. The Sharks didnt need two plays to tie the game. Jomo Wilson, Week 1s Nifty Playmaker of the Game against Oklahoma City, returned the kick coast-to-coast for the score. This would be the one of the last times the Vipers did not attempt an onside kick.
The Sharks would create a defensive stop on the ensuing drive, allowing Garcia to march down the field methodically. As time expired in the first half, Garcia threw is second completion to the end zone. The Sharks created the first stop of the game and would be starting the second half with the ball leading 28-21.
When the Sharks took over for the first possession of the second half, they looked like momentum was with them. The offense found the end zone with a Kirby Griffin 3 yard touchdown run, pushing the Sharks lead to 35-21.
The Vipers refused to let the Sharks continue to score at will on offense. After another Viper score, the onside kicks began. Wilson, the Sharks return man, never got another opportunity to touch the ball on special teams as the Vipers repeatedly attempted and often recovered the onside kicks.
With Garcia and Wilson kept off the field, the Vipers tied the game, then took the lead for the fourth time. This time, however, it would be for good.
The Sharks were victims of a few bad bounces in the second half. A deflected pass was intercepted and returned for a Vipers touchdown. As Jomo Wilson stretched to gain another half-yard for a touchdown which would have brought the Sharks within seven points a Viper defender was able to strip the ball. The ensuing possession would result in a 49.5 yard Viper touchdown drive.
The Sharks inevitably fell to the Vipers for the first loss in franchise history. Garcia finished the night 18-29 with 186 yards and 5 touchdowns passing. Wide receiver Jason Willis hauled in two scoring catches and Jomo Wilson, Sale Key, and James Clark each added a touchdown. Paul Edinger finished the night a perfect 7-7 PATs.
On the injury from, Jason Willis was taken to the hospital with what appears to be a broken arm.
The Sharks head back to Jacksonville tonight and will begin preparing for the home opener against the Orlando Predators on April 16 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Shark Fest, the pregame festivities outside the arena, will begin at 6pm. Doors will open at 7pm with the first 3000 receiving rally-towels courtesy of St. Vincent Health Care. Kick off will be at 8:05pm.
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). All home games will be played at Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The home season kicks off April 16th as the Sharks take on the Orlando Predators. Season tickets for the inaugural season of the Jacksonville Sharks are now available for as low as $45. Single game tickets start at $8 per game and are available at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets, and the arena box office. To reserve your season tickets, group tickets, or for more information please call (904) 621-0700.