04/13/2012 10:27 PM - By Jack Morbitzer
JACKSONVILLE - The Jacksonville Sharks had the ball with a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but could not score, as the Utah Blaze outlasted the Sharks, 75-67, in a back-and-forth battle in front of 9,016 on Sea Best Field on Friday night.
"We can't score 67 points and give up 75," Sharks head coach Les Moss said. "If we score in the high 60s we should win. They're playing hard, we're just not executing the way we need to execute right now."
The Sharks (1-3) looked to tie the game after a 38-yard touchdown catch by Terrance Smith, but a missed extra point attempt left the team down by one, 68-67. After a failed onside kick and offensive penalty, Utah (3-2) quarterback Tommy Grady rolled to his right, finding Aaron Lesue against the boards for a 17-yard touchdown that put the Blaze ahead for good.
In the final seconds, Jacobs fired into the end zone on multiple occasions, but passes intended for Smith and Jeron Harvey fell incomplete as time expired.
"It's a tough loss, we fought hard to the end," Jacobs said. "We're getting there. We scored on every possession but the last one and the one before half. We just have to put a full game together. We have to get a few stops and just keep scoring. We're a team, there's no blame on anybody. We’re a team and we'll get better as a team."
Grady finished 29-38 for 325 yards with 10 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, leading Utah to a score on every drive. Lesue led the Blaze with 11 catches for 95 yards and seven touchdowns. Jacobs finished 24-43 for 290 yards nine touchdowns for the Sharks while Jeron Harvey led in catches with 11 and had four touchdowns, while Smith led in yards with 154 and touchdowns with five.
Jacobs has now thrown 12 touchdown passes without an interception in his last two starts. Moss credited his quarterback's performace to improved play along the offensive line, which had to contend with a Blaze defensive front that led the league in sacks (16) entering Week 6.
"Omar is settling down and the offensive line did an excellent job tonight against the best pass rush in the league," Moss said.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as the Blaze and Sharks scored on every drive of the half until the Sharks' final possession of the second quarter.
Utah opened the scoring with a 12-yard pass from Tommy Grady to Alvance Robinson and the Sharks responded with a 20-yard strike from Omar Jacobs to Jeron Harvey. From there, the teams continued trading scores including a QB sneak by Grady for a touchdown and a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamarko Simmons.
The teams traded onside kick attempts and scores until the Blaze ended the first half flurry with a Grady to Lesue connection with 14 seconds left.
The Sharks will take to the field next on Saturday, April 21 on the road against the Cleveland Gladiators. Cleveland will also enter next week's game coming off a loss, as the Gladiators fell to the Tampa Bay Storm on Friday night. Next Saturday's game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Russell Athletic Player of the Game - Utah QB Tommy Grady
AFL Playmaker of the Game - Jacksonville WR Terrance Smith
Cutters Catch of the Game - Utah WR Aaron Lesue
Spalding Highlight of the Game - Utah WR Alvance Robinson
JLS Ironman of the Game - Utah WR Aaron Lesue
National Guard MVP of the game - Utah QB Tommy Grady
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 $121. 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.