Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE: SHARKS 70, VIGILANTES 49; Defense Demoralizes Dallas Two TD Returns and a Safety Help the Sharks Track Down Vigilantes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE: SHARKS 70, VIGILANTES 49; Defense Demoralizes Dallas Two TD Returns and a Safety Help the Sharks Track Down Vigilantes

Article excerpt

Byline: GARY LEDMAN

What looked up like a rout for the Arena Football League's Jacksonville Sharks on Friday night wound up looking like a rout after all, but not without a fight from the Dallas Vigilantes.

Ahead by four touchdowns late in the first half, Dallas climbed to within a touchdown three times before prevailing 70-49 and sending 10,052 fans home from Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena happy.

Aaron Garcia threw eight touchdown passes and the Sharks (5-1) seized four turnovers from the Vigilantes (1-4), turning one of them into a touchdown that gave them breathing room in the final five minutes of the game.

Justin Parrish pounced on the loose ball and returned it 1 yard for a touchdown after Dallas quarterback Collin Drafts dropped the ball as he drew back to pass. It was the second scoring fumble return of the season for Parrish.

That gave the Sharks a 63-41 lead and came on the first play after Garcia had thrown his eighth TD pass, a 15-yard pitch-and-run to Dallas Baker. It was the third time Jacksonville's offense responded when Dallas drew within seven or eight points.

"The offense answered. That's all that matters," Sharks coach Les Moss said. "That's all that matters. Hold serve."

Drafts threw seven touchdown passes of his own, five to 6-foot-5 receiver Larry Brackins. Until they hooked up for the first time, with 16 seconds left in the first half, the Sharks had rolled up a 36-7 lead. The Vigilantes maintained their new life through halftime, scoring the first four times they got the ball in the second half.

"I knew they'd make a run at us because they have too many good players and they're too well-coached," said Moss, who said his message at 36-7 was "keep going because it's too hard to get restarted after you start to slow down."

The Sharks dominated the first half on both offense and defense. Garcia threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Baker to complete a drive from the opening kickoff. …

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