Sharks Come From Behind To Win NAL Title

In case you didn’t know, the National Arena League Championship was held in Jacksonville. But don’t worry, they’ll let you know.

The home crowd left it all out in the stands like the Sharks left it out on the field.

But with a thrilling come from behind victory, the top team all season in the host Jacksonville Sharks won 52-48 against the Carolina Cobras at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Devin Wilson took a shot on the first play from scrimmage and got the wind knocked out of him after a 17-yard completion. Chris Gilchrist got another play to move it up to the seven. With seven seconds to go, Sharks wide receiver Daquan Neal caught the game winning score in the corner of the end zone.

With seconds remaining, Von Pearson took a cross over the middle driving for the end zone. He was tackled at the four.

Carolina scored on their first drive on a quick out route to Jordan Jolly. It was an uneventful first drive, as McCullum went 3-4 on the drive. The next drive started with plenty of penalties but a 35-yard reception by Jolly set up a seven-yard run by Von Pearson for their second score.

For the Sharks, a no call on a false start by the Cobras’s nose tackle led to a turnover on downs. But the Sharks were able to respond on their next possession thanks to a 17-yard corner route from Wilson.

On their third drive, a holding penalty and back to back sacks by the Sharks defense all the way back to their own two. Rutherford attempted the field goal, but it was blocked and then picked up by Devin Gilchrist for the seven-yard return.

NAL special teams player of the year hit the PAT to tie it. He hit the deuce to take the lead.

Gilchrist scored his second defensive touchdown of the night after McCullum was strip sacked at the Cobras five. Gilchrist went untouched for the score.

On their next offensive possession, Fafual pass to Neal was intercepted by Cedric Poole at the Cobras four-yard line and it looked like he would take it for the score. But he was leveled at the goal line by Wilson and fumbled it. The ball was recovered by another Cobra and gave Carolina a first and goal. McCullum scrambled on a broken play for the score, putting the Cobras back on top 28-23. The Sharks tried to storm back, but ran out of time after the clock was not stopped to move the chains after a Jarmon Fortson first down reception at the Carolina 12.

The second half started just as bad for the home side, as Jonathon Bane came into the game for the first time. His first pass was tipped and picked off by Poole for his second pick. Pearson took it the rest of the way for the score, putting the Cobras up 36-23 as Rutherford hit the deuce on the kickoff.

With both teams exchanging scores, the Cobras went for it on 4 & 7 at their own seven. Jolly, who came in after McCullum was shaken up on the play before, was sacked with an additional intentional grounding with 13:25 left in regulation. Fafual, who came back after being benched at the start of the half, threw a dart to Daquan Neal to cut the deficit down to 42-37.

After a late Carolina score and a pick by Cobras’s DB Kenny Veal to give the Cobras the ball with a 12-point lead , fans started to file out. But a pick returned by Aaron Bellazin and a two-point conversion brought the game back to just three points with a minute left in regulation.

 

 

 

Box Score:

1     2     3     4    Total

Cobras   14   14   14    6       48

Sharks     7    16    7     22     52

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