Writer: Megan duBois
(Jacksonville, Fla.)- The Jacksonville Sharks took on division rival Tampa Bay Storm, Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The back-and-forth scoring contest ended with the Sharks going home to Jacksonville with a win, the final score being 64-55.
The Sharks made key adjustments throughout the game and put the best product on the field. Four players that made the most impact were Bernard Morris (QB), Rendrick Taylor (FB), Jeff Hughley (WR/DB) and Tracy Belton (DB). Without the effort these men put on the field, the Sharks might not have been so happy with the outcome of the game.
Quarterback Bernard Morris was number two in rushing in 2012 with 291 yards. Coming back to the Sharks as the starting quarterback for the 2013 season, he brings a lot of knowledge and leadership to a veteran-majority team. Morris completed 24 out of 31 passes for 269 yards. He also threw seven touchdowns without an interception, and connected with receivers on his first 10 pass attempts. With the precision Morris has, and the added threat of his running game, he will continue to make an impact on Jacksonville’s offense.
Fullback Rendrick Taylor also showed his skill against the Storm, Saturday. On the first scoring drive of the night, Taylor ran for a first down. He ended the contest with seven carries and 57 yards. During the contest, Taylor also caught a pass from QB Morris and ran it into the end zone resulting in a touchdown. One of the more impressive plays of the night was in the fourth quarter. The Sharks were up nine points, with 44 seconds left on the play-clock. The Sharks decided to go for two after getting a touchdown. The play resulted in Taylor getting the fake, and the Storm defense falling for it while QB Morris walked into the opposite corner of the end zone.
Kick-returner, wide receiver and defensive back Jeff Hughley, returned to the Sharks after playing with the Philadelphia Soul for the 2012 season. Hughley caught 13 receptions for 146 yards in the duration of the contest. He also made two touchdowns for the Sharks. The highlight of the night in Hughley’s game play came just before the one-minute warning in the second half, where the Sharks were down by six points. Hughley, standing under the nets caught the football and ran out to mid-field, where Sharks QB Morris would take over in a drive that would end in a touchdown.
The final impact player of the night was defensive back Tracy Belton. After spending two years with the Georgia Force, Belton joined the Sharks, February 2013. Throughout the night, Belton racked up solo tackles, which totaled 10 at the end of the contest. Belton also caused potentially great plays by the Storm offense to go interrupted. During the third quarter, Belton broke up a fourth-and-long pass by Storm QB Adrian McPherson. At the end of the night Belton was one of two Sharks players to win media awards, where he won Riddell Defensive Player of the Game.
These four men worked hard, along with the rest of the Jacksonville Sharks to get a win in Tampa. When the two teams meet again, the season will be ending and playoffs will be on the horizon. Playing one game at a time, and keeping their eyes on the prize the Sharks are bound for another Arena Bowl Championship.
© Megan duBois 2013
Cannot say BOUND a lot of tough games ahead. They gutted out the win. What you do not want to forget Megan is Les genius,. He helped win this game. For one thing going for the onside kick which Marco executed beautifully that Terrence Smith recovered This was the Sharks up 56-55 and :53 left. The 2nd was the fake that Bernard took in for 2 forcing Tampa to need 2 scores. Bernard was my choice for RUNNER UP player of the week. If it was not for Davila and his impact against the Arena Bowl Finalists the Soul, Bernard would have been my Offensive Player of the Week