Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharks Are Catching a Few Breaks; Division-Leading Team Will Try to Keep It Going Tonight vs. Cleveland

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharks Are Catching a Few Breaks; Division-Leading Team Will Try to Keep It Going Tonight vs. Cleveland

Article excerpt

Byline: GARY LEDMAN

Six games into their first Arena Football League season, the Jacksonville Sharks are happy with where they are: best record in the league (5-1, same as Milwaukee), a two-game lead in the South Division over Tampa Bay and Alabama and undefeated at home (3-0) where 10,000 fans a game have cheered them on.

Well, they could be 6-0. The Sharks believe they shouldn't have lost to the Alabama Vipers in the second week of the season.

Then again, they might be 3-3. Three weeks ago, they beat Tulsa 62-60 on the last play of the game, an untimed down after a pass-interference penalty, on an Aaron Garcia pass to Dallas Baker.

The following week in Tampa, they went ahead with 36 seconds to play and then held on when Dee Webb stripped a Tampa Bay receiver of the ball and Micheaux Robinson recovered.

"We've gotten some very good breaks to get to 5-1," Jacksonville coach Les Moss said as the Sharks prepare to host the Cleveland Gladiators tonight at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

"Now I'm not taking anything away from what these guys have accomplished because they're the ones out there making the plays and getting things done," Moss said. "But we've also had some good breaks."

In Cleveland (3-3), they'll face a team that has won three games in a row, led by a quarterback, John Dutton, whose AFL experience and career passing accomplishments are surpassed only by their guy, Garcia.

Dutton has passed for 40 touchdowns this season, four more than Garcia, and two of his receivers, Chris Johnson (67) and Ben Nelson (66), are 1-2 in the league in receptions.

"Dutton's a great quarterback in this league and they have some great weapons," Moss said. "We got our hands full in the secondary."

Of course, the Sharks pose the same challenge for Cleveland, with Garcia (36 TDs this season) on a pace to become the all-time AFL leader in touchdown passes and yards within a few games. …

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