06/11/2011 8:42 PM -

Saturday, June 11th featured part two of one of the AFL’s most distinctive rivalries. The first game between the Jacksonville Sharks and the Orlando Predators in the 2011 season took place on April 30, 2011. The Sharks won in Jacksonville on Sea Best Field 76-55. During the game, Sharks veteran Quarterback Aaron Garcia, threw his 1000th career touchdown pass, and was honored by the NFL Hall-of-Fame. Part two of the rivalry took place in Orlando, and guaranteed even more fireworks than the first game, when over 12,000 fans filled the new Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

The Jacksonville defense opened the game with a strong performance, holding Orlando on fourth down. The Sharks answered immediately with a touchdown pass from Aaron Garcia to Jomo Wilson. Orlando fought back in the next series, completing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Sippio, his ninth touchdown in three games. Jacksonville fired back with a 3-yard screen pass to Jeron Harvey, which resulted in his first touchdown of the game, and put Jacksonville back on top 14-6. The Predators got the last strike of the first quarter with a 3-yard pass to TT Toliver to put the Predators within 1 point of the Sharks. Both teams entered the second quarter with strong defenses. The first drive of the quarter resulted in the Predators stopping the Sharks on fourth down. But when the Predators had an opportunity to take the lead in the game, Sharks Defensive Back Micheaux Robinson picked off Orlando Quarterback Nick Hill in the end-zone for the first turnover of the game. Jeron Harvey caught his second touchdown pass of the game on the first play of the resulting drive to put the Sharks up 21-13.

Jacksonville and Orlando exchanged touchdown passes, but the kicker for both teams, appeared to have issues kicking the PAT’s. TT Toliver came down with his second touchdown reception of the night after catching a Nick Hill pass at the 10 yard line, and forced his way into the end-zone to put the Predators back within one point of the Sharks, 27-26. The two teams exchanged touchdown passes again, but PAT opportunities allowed the Predators to tie the game at 33 points, with thirty-eight seconds left in the first half. Garcia’s pass to Jomo Wilson was the final score of the first half, and put the Sharks ahead of the Predators 40-33.

The Sharks came out of the locker room on fire at the beginning of the second half. Garcia completed his 7th touchdown pass of the night when he hit Sale’ Key for a 10-yard completion. Hill and Orlando answered back with another touchdown pass to Bobby Sippio. Jacksonville Quarterback Aaron Garcia seemed to have the game under control throughout the third quarter, his passing attack kept pushing the Jacksonville lead to two scores. Nick Hill’s scrambling and passing ability proved to be just as effective as Garcia’s poise, as the back and forth battle continued into the fourth quarter, with the Sharks leading the Predators 54-47.

The Sharks began the final quarter of the game by utilizing their most effective weapon in the game, yet again. Jeron Harvey pulled in his fifth touchdown of the evening, but he was shaken up after the play. Harvey walked off the field shortly after and the Sharks kicked off to the Predators with a 61-47 lead. Josh Bush came back just two plays after being rocked, and plucked a 22 yard pass from Nick Hill right out of the sky to bring the Predators back within one score. The Predators managed to stop Garcia’s passing attack by intercepting a fourth down pass of the net. The Predators entered the one-minute warning with the ball on the 3 yard line, and Fullback James Lynch was able to punch the ball into the end-zone with fifty-two seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 61 points each. Jacksonville held the ball around the Orlando goal-line, drawing out precious seconds before Jamarko Simmons was finally able to hammer the ball into the end-zone on a 2-yard run with 26 seconds left on the clock. Orlando managed to score on a 33-yard pass to TT Toliver with 7 seconds left on the clock. In arguably the most intense moment of the 2011 season for the Sharks, Orlando went for the 2-point conversion instead of the PAT, which would have set the Predators up to take the lead in the ball game. Terrance Smith came up huge for the Sharks when he batted away a pass intended for Bobby Sippio, and kept the Sharks ahead 68-67. Jacksonville recovered an onside kick at by Orlando to finish out the game, and the Sharks managed to walk away from the Amway Center with their 11th consecutive win. The Sharks’ will to win allowed the Jacksonville to fight through another tough fought, last second game. Jacksonville’s victory in Orlando allowed the continuation of the AFL’s current longest winning streak (11 games). The Sharks ended their month long road trip with another win, and they will finally be welcomed home next Saturday, when they return to Jacksonville and play the Milwaukee Mustangs on Sea Best Field, June 18, 2011. The Sharks remain unbeaten in division play, and with this win over Orlando, any three wins in the Sharks remaining schedule will clinch first place in the South Division.

National Guard MVP – Aaron Garcia (JAX)
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the game – Aaron Garcia (JAX)
JSL Ironman of the Game – Josh Bush (ORL)
Riddell Defensive player of the game – Micheaux Robinson (JAX)
Cutters Catch of the Game – Bobby Sippio (ORL)
Nifty Playmaker of the Game – Jeron Harvey (JAX)
Spalding Highlight of the Game – T.T. Toliver TD reception from Nick Hill with seven seconds left (ORL)