03/26/2012 9:24 PM - JACKSONVILLE - The ArenaBowl XXIV Champion Jacksonville Sharks look to rebound from last Saturday’s loss as they head southwest to face the Tampa Bay Storm on Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Jacksonville enters this road test having suffered a 69-41 defeat at the hands of the Georgia Force in last weekend’s home opener on Sea Best Field. In that game, five first-half Shark turnovers helped Georgia build a 41-17 lead from which the Force never looked back.
Though Jacksonville played steadier football after the intermission, Georgia held off any threat of a rally in the game’s final two quarters. In his first career Arena Football League start, quarterback Omar Jacobs finished with four interceptions against five touchdown passes.
In the loss, wide receivers Jeron Harvey and Terrance Smith built on their season-opening performances with another pair of solid games. Harvey caught two touchdowns for the second straight week, while Smith accounted for 204 all-purpose yards and scored twice as well.
Another player who enters this week’s game with momentum is wide receiver Bobby Sewall. After serving as the holder and seeing a bit of time on offense in the season opener, Sewall replaced an injured Shamar Graves in the starting lineup on Saturday and made his presence felt.
Thanks in large part to a slick 45-yard touchdown reception, Sewall finished Saturday’s game with five catches for 104 yards and a pair of scores. In doing so, he became the first Shark receiver to cross the 100-yard mark in a game this season.
On the other side of the ball, Derrick Summers notched his first sack of the season against Georgia. A Second-Team All-Arena selection as a rookie in 2011, Summers and the rest of the Sharks’ pass rush will look to cause havoc in the Tampa Bay backfield.
Know Your Foe
That Storm offense is led by a familiar name wearing a new jersey. Quarterback Steve Wasil started against the Sharks in 2011 as a member of the Kansas City Command, handing Jacksonville its final loss of that 2011 season.
Now in Tampa, Wasil has thrown a pair of interceptions in each of the Storm’s first two games of 2012. Still, the Redford, Michigan native has been effective on the run, accounting for four of Tampa Bay’s five rushing touchdowns this season.
One key to holding the Storm offense in check will be stopping wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez. The impressive rookie has hauled in 23 receptions for 350 yards through his team’s first two games, leading the league in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
Defensively, Tampa Bay has struggled to get pressure on the quarterback so far in 2012, as Pernell Phillips accounted for the team’s lone sack in the Storm’s season-opening loss to Chicago.
Because Friday’s game will be played on Friday night while NFL Network’s “Arena Football Friday” is on the air, the game will not be broadcast on television.
However, fans wishing to watch the game live may do so on the Sharks’ official Ustream channel, found at www.ustream.tv/JacksonvilleSharks. In addition, the game will be carried live via I (Heart) Radio. A direct link to the broadcast stream will be available on jaxsharks.com on the day of the game.
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and back-to-back South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2012 season are now available, two tickets as low as $135. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance.