For several years, the Jacksonville Sharks were part of an in-state arena football rivalry with the Orlando Predators prior to the Predators folding in 2016.
The Predators are back now, but it doesn’t look like they’re ready to revive the rivalry just yet.
In their first meeting since 2016, the Sharks demolished the Predators on Saturday night, winning 61-7 despite an injury to starting QB Jonathan Bane.
It was all Jacksonville from the opening kickoff, with Bane connecting with WR Devin Wilson for a quick touchdown on his first throw of the night. The Sharks’ defense would then force a fumble by the Predators, leading to another Bane touchdown pass – this time to Mark Munson – giving the Sharks a 15-0 lead less than six minutes into the game.
Bane would throw four touchdown passes in the first half before going down with an injury shortly before the end of the half.
The Sharks’ defense had a particularly strong showing in the first half, forcing the Predators into four fourth-downs – three of which would lead to turnovers-on-downs – along with a sack and a forced fumble. Overall, they held the Predators to just 7 points, a new low for their franchise.
Backup QB Mike Fafaul performed admirably in the second half as Bane’s replacement, shaking off an early interception to throw for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Kicker Brandon Behr, who struggled in last week’s game, redeemed himself by going 5 of 6 on extra-point kicks and converting three deuces.
Wilson continued his early-season dominance, finishing with eight receptions for 111 yards and three TDs. Jarmon Fortson pulled in four receptions for 75 yards, including an impressive end-zone TD catch.
The Sharks now advance to 4-1 and enter a bye week on a four-game winning streak and in a tie for first place. They’ll return to action on June 1, taking on the Predators – who fell to 1-5 – again in Orlando.
- The Sharks wore special camouflage jerseys in honor of Military Appreciation Night, presented by Ocean Grove RV.
- The Sharks led 22-0 after one quarter, and 38-7 at the half.
- Jax scored 29 points before the Predators registered a point or a first down.
- No update yet on Bane’s status going forward, but it bodes well for the team that he’ll get a bye week to rest up.