Pro Hockey News

Monday, July 27, 2015

GOLF NOTES: Thoughts on The Open at St. Andrews

Jacksonville Golf News

A few thoughts on attending The Open at St. Andrews:

• The greatest seat in sports is in the grandstand next to the 17th green. Even though you can't see the tee, you're looking down the fairway and can easily follow the ball. The green complex looks different that you think from television, as it wraps around the deep bunker that everyone goes to every length to avoid.

• Here's how well organized the Royal and Ancient had transportation. St. Andrews isn't easy to find and it doesn't even have a train station, so many come from cities at least 40 miles away such as Edinburgh or Aberdeen. It's a train ride to Leuthers, then a five-mile bus ride from that station. It took us exactly 1:15 from the Edinburgh train station to the grandstands at the 17th tee.  At this year's Players in Ponte Vedra Beach, it took my neighbor exactly 1:15 to go the final three miles to the parking lot and the 20-minute walk to the course … where, ironically, you also enter at the 17th tee.

• The level of UK announcing was much different that what you hear here. They are reserved and dignified, and don't waste time trying to read putts even though they're in a tower. (“Whadda ya think, Rog? Left edge?”) The press over there had a big laugh at our announcers trying to act like Brits, such as when Mike Tirico mentioned the “penultimate pairing” and Tom Rinaldi seemed to affect a British accent.

• One more TV thing: Peter Alliss says and does what he wants, and he's catching all sorts of grief from women's organizations over his comment that Zach Johnson's wife may have wanted first-place money for a new kitchen. No surprise; if you saw his World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, you'll remember his statements about a grade school teacher which ended with his giving her memory a one-finger salute.

• Bet you didn’t read this in your local paper. After the playoff, Johnson's caddie Damon Green explained the win: “My man's got the biggest pair out there.”

• The spectator amenities were incredible. There were a dozen of so grandstands with a total of 26,000 seats, and those were real seats with armrests, not bleachers. There was an enormous area at the entrance with hospitality tents, souvenirs stands and giant TV screens, and probably seating for a thousand plus a large area where fans lay down and watched the TV action.

• Don't you dare call it the “British Open” if you go. Don't you dare yell “You da man!” or “In the hole,” either.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Secure Playoff Spot in Rout of Tampa Bay Storm

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks put forth a dominant overall team effort on Saturday night, scoring on each of their first nine offensive possessions and forcing seven defensive stops en route to a 63-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm in front of 13,092 at Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. 

With the win, the Sharks have secured a spot in the 2015 Arena Football League postseason.

Jacksonville (9-7) set the tone from the opening snap, as Tommy Grady connected with Joe Hills for a six-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. On the ensuing Tampa Bay (6-10) drive, the Storm offense faced a fourth-and-11 from the Sharks’ 13-yard line. As Jason Boltus dropped back to pass, Joe Sykes drilled him from behind, forcing an incompletion and a turnover on downs. Three plays later, Derrick Ross powered in for the first of his three rushing touchdowns, putting the Sharks ahead by a 14-0 count.

That trend continued through the first half. After Tampa Bay answered with a score, the Sharks found pay dirt again, as Grady hit Tiger Jones for a 19-yard strike, putting Jacksonville ahead, 21-7. On their next possession, the Storm marched all the way down to the one-yard line. As Boltus attempted to scramble for the end zone on fourth down, Alvin Ray Jackson and Greg Reid laid a pair of hits on the Storm quarterback, bringing Boltus down shy of the goal line. Jacksonville took advantage of the stop, as Ross capped the following drive with a one-yard score, giving the Sharks a 28-7 lead.

In the final minute of the first half, Tampa Bay again marched into Shark territory, facing a fourth-and-4 from Jacksonville’s 10-yard line. This time, the Sharks dropped Boltus in the backfield, as Scooter Berry came up with a sack to force another turnover on downs. Three plays later, Grady threaded the needle to London Crawford, who pulled in a 20-yard touchdown to give the Sharks a 35-7 lead. Tampa Bay’s Craig Peterson nailed a 47-yard field goal as time expired, but Jacksonville still went to the locker room with a 25-point halftime lead.

The second half featured more of the same, as the Sharks opened the third quarter by forcing yet another turnover on downs. Beginning the next drive at the Tampa Bay 14, the Sharks scored in three plays, as Ross took it around the left side for a five-yard score. That touchdown put Jacksonville ahead, 42-10, midway through the third quarter.

After Hills answered a Tampa Bay touchdown with one of his own, Tampa Bay moved into Shark territory in the closing seconds of the third quarter. As time expired to end the period, Greg Reid snared a deflected pass for his team-leading eighth interception of the season. The Sharks turned that stop into another score, as Ross broke free for a remarkable 43-yard run, setting up Jones’ second touchdown catch of the night.

Tampa Bay’s next drive ended with AFL history. On a fourth-down snap, Joe Sykes burst into the backfield and took down Boltus for his 17th sack of the season, breaking his own single-season League record in that category. Sykes has now set new single-season marks in both sacks (17) and forced fumbles (10) this season.

One play after Sykes’ sack, Lee Chapple entered the game at quarterback and promptly tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Johnathan Haggerty – the first score for either player in their respective AFL careers. That touchdown proved to be the game’s final score, as LaRoche Jackson hauled in an interception on Tampa Bay’s last drive, and the Sharks’ offense ran out the clock from there.

Overall, Jacksonville scored on each of its first nine drives and was never stopped, as the game ended on the Sharks’ tenth and final offensive possession. The Sharks’ defense forced seven stops while only yielding two touchdowns and a field goal.

With the victory, Jacksonville is guaranteed a spot in the 2015 postseason, and can fall no lower than the No. 3 seed due to tiebreaker advantage over the Cleveland Gladiators. The Sharks remain in control of their own destiny in the South Division race.

In the win, Grady completed 15 of his 22 pass attempts for 179 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. Ross fell one yard shy of tying a single-game franchise record, as he racked up 67 yards and three scores on his 10 carries. Jones led Jacksonville with seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns, while Hills scored twice and Crawford caught four passes for 50 yards and a score.

On defense, Reid and Chris Smith each recorded three pass breakups, while Terrance Smith racked up nine solo tackles. Up front, Sykes, Berry and Nicolas Jean-Baptiste each recorded a sack.

For the Storm, Boltus went 27-of-45 for 260 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. T.T. Toliver led Tampa Bay with six catches for 68 yards, while Kendrick Ings and Emery Sammons each caught a touchdown pass. Ings also recorded 118 kickoff return yards on six runbacks. On defense, Randall Burden led Tampa Bay with 4.5 tackles for loss, while Richard Clebert recorded the Storm’s lone tackle for loss.

Next week, the Sharks will make the in-state trip to Orlando for a pivotal game in the division race on Saturday, August 1. With a win next week, Jacksonville would move into first place and clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Predators. Kickoff at Amway Center is set for 7:00 p.m.

Media Awards

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville QB Tommy Grady

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DL Joe Sykes

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Jacksonville FB Derrick Ross

Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Tiger Jones’ over-the-wall catch with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville FB Derrick Ross’ 43-yard rush in the fourth quarter

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Outlasted by Wahoos 6-5 in Series Finale

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (9-16, 38-56) would drop the series finale with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (15-10, 40-53) 6-5 Tuesday night from Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Barret Astin (W, 2-1) generated seven innings in his start for Pensacola and surrendered four runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking two and striking out four. Craig Stem (L, 1-4) worked an inning and a third for the Suns out of the bullpen and surrendered two runs (both earned) while walking one and striking out a solo batter. Zack Weiss (S, 12) nailed down his 12th save of the year after working a scoreless inning and two-thirds.

Jacksonville got on the board in the top of the third, when Zack Cox led off with a double and reached third after a wild pitch, to then see Austin Brice drive him home courtesy of his RBI single to center leaping the Suns in front 1-0.

In the last of the third it was Zach Vincej’s (HR, 3) solo home run that tied the score at one. Then after a Marquez Smith single, Juan Duran laced a run scoring double to leap the Wahoos ahead 2-1. 

To the fourth and Jacksonville loaded the bases after a walk and a pair of singles, to then see Zack Cox generate a bases loaded walk to tie the game at two. Next batter Chadd Krist would follow that up with a two RBI double into left field to break the tie and provide the Suns with a 4-2 lead.

To the last of the fifth, and Duran reached on the fielding error by Suns third baseman Cox, to then steal second and third base. With runners on the corners after a walk to Seth Mejias-Brean, a wild pitch from Brice brought home a Duran and made it a 4-3 contest. Ryan Wright would knot the score at four courtesy of his run scoring single into center, off of Suns bullpen arm Craig Stem.

Moving to the sixth Barret Astin and Zach Vincej led off with a pair of singles. Then it was Duran rocketing a two run double to move Pensacola ahead 6-4.

Flashing to the eighth frame, against Wahoos reliever Patrick Schuster, the Suns loaded the bases after three straight singles provided by Carlos Lopez, J.T. Riddle, and Matt Juengel. Then it was Viosergy Rosa who was hit by a pitch to bring in a baserunner and creep the Suns to within 6-5.

Austin Brice in his start for Jacksonville lasted four and two-thirds frames surrendering four runs (two earned) on five hits while walking six and striking out six. Fabian Williamson worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief for Jacksonville. Scott McGough generated a scoreless frame in the eighth out of the bullpen for the Suns.

The Suns will begin a five-game set with the Birmingham Barons Thursday night with a first pitch in the series opener from Bragan Field set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out right-hander Josh Hodges (1-0, 2.25 ERA) while the Barons will counter with righty Robinson Leyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Sunday, July 19, 2015

NASL: Cosmos Dealt First League Loss by Jacksonville Armada

NEW YORK- FC Edmonton has earned the title of "Road Warriors" after Week 3 of the North American Soccer League's Fall Season.

The Eddies defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 1-0, at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night, capping off a long road trip that took them to Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, and back to Florida again. With a roster depleted by injuries and international call-ups, the Eddies drew the first two games before taking all three points at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Across the Florida peninsula, a professional team from Jacksonville hosted the New York Cosmos for the first time since 1982. The Armada FC, which had not scored a goal in its first three matches of the Fall Season, received a second-half tally from Tommy Krizanovic to hand the Cosmos their first league loss of the year. New York, which won the Spring Season title, entered the match unbeaten in 11 league games, but could not solve Jacksonville goalkeeper David Sierra at Community First Park.

Elsewhere, Nacho Novo scored two goals and Akira Fitzgerald made key saves late in the match to preserve Carolina's 3-2 victory over visiting San Antonio as the RailHawks moved into second place in the standings, one point behind FC Edmonton. At Lockhart Stadium, Walter Ramírez converted a penalty kick in the 90th minute to tie the match as Fort Lauderdale ended Atlanta's bid for a second straight win.

Jacksonville Armada FC 1, New York Cosmos 0

New York (0W-1D-1L, 1 point), playing its first game in 13 days, rattled two shots off the goalpost in the first half but failed to put the ball past David Sierra. 

Playing in front of 8,167 at Community First Park, Jacksonville (1-0-3, 3) jumped in front in the 54th minute when Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer's clearance attempt eventually fell to Tommy Krizanovic, who tucked it into the open net. 

Jacksonville played the match without Alhassane Keita (suspended), Pascal Millien (Gold Cup), and Marcos Flores.

With the win, the Armada picked up their first points of the Fall Season (1W-0D-3L NASL Fall, 4-3-7 NASL Combined) and improved their overall home record to 4-1-1.

It also gave them four points in two matches against the Cosmos after a 3-3 draw on the road in June.

"It's important because the Cosmos are the Cosmos," said Armada FC head coach Guillermo Hoyos . "They're one of the best teams, and we're a new team. It's important for the whole institution of the Armada. And the three points are huge."

They'll have a chance to get three more at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 31, when they host Minnesota United FC. Tickets, starting at $10, can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.Armada or by going to

Carolina RailHawks 3, San Antonio Scorpions 2

Carolina (2-1-1, 7) took the lead in the 22nd minute when Nacho Novo's long cross from the left flank found a streaking Neil Hlavaty. Hlavaty struck the ball on the full volley and beat Scorpions (1-1-2, 4) goalkeeper Daryl Sattler to give the hosts an early lead. In front of a crowd of 4,180 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., the RailHawks made it 2-0 minutes later when Novo smashed home his own rebound from a scramble in front of the San Antonio goal. 

The Scorpions pulled one back, in the 35th minute, when César Elizondo's header from a free kick beat Akira Fitzgerald. Novo added a penalty kick in the 67th minute to make it 3-1, but the Scorpions refused to yield. In the 75th minute, Rafael Castillo converted from the spot to again cut the deficit to one goal. A late diving save by Fitzgerald preserved the win for the RailHawks. For San Antonio, Omar Cummings, the league's leading goalscorer, and Marvin Chávez were not available for the match after sustaining injuries in training during the week. Carolina was without Tiyi Shipalane, who was injured in last week's match. 

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2, Atlanta Silverbacks 2

Brazilian youngsters PC and Marlon Freitas of Fort Lauderdale (0-3-0, 3) collaborated on the game's first goal, with Freitas scoring his third of the year. Atlanta (1-1-1, 4) drew even in the 64th minute when Paul Black's cross eventually found its way to Jaime Chavez, who converted in style with a bicycle kick from close range. The Silverbacks, who added a handful of players during the break between the Spring and Fall Season, stormed into the lead in the 76th minute on a goal by Pedro Mendes. But a foul by Atlanta's newly signed defender Kosuke Kimura gave the Strikers a penalty kick in the 90th minute, which Walter Ramírez converted for the equalizer.

FC Edmonton 1, Tampa Bay Rowdies 0

FC Edmonton capped a grueling 10-day, three-game road trip with a match against the Rowdies. After a scoreless first half, the Eddies (2-2-0, 8) took a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute when Tampa Bay's Stefan Antonijevic scored an own goal during a scramble in front of the goal. The Rowdies pressed desperately for the equalizer, but couldn't find their way past Eddies goalkeeper Matt VanOekel. Freddy Adu, signed by Tampa Bay (1-0-2, 3) last week, did not dress for the match. 

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

The Philadelphia Soul (13-3) had two late costly turnovers and couldn't hold off the Jacksonville Sharks (8-7) in the second half as they fell 74-67 in front of 9,475 fans at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night.

"This is not the way we wanted to go into a Bye Week," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. "Late turnovers will always kill you, but more importantly, it is about finishing a game. This needs to be playoff mode for us. We can't make the mental mistakes this time of year. Jacksonville is a playoff-quality team and we will need to learn from the mistakes we made and get healthy."

 Jacksonville's Tommy Grady completed 18-of-29 passes for 301 yards, seven touchdowns and no interception.

Tiger Jones led the Sharks receivers with eight receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns, while Joe Hills added six catches for 115 yards and three touchdown.

Offensive Player: Jacksonville's Tommy Grady
Defensive Player: Jacksonville's Greg Reid
AFL Playmaker: Jacksonville's Greg Reid
Catch of the Game: Philadelphia's Harvey Binford's 46-yard TD in the first quarter.
Highlight of the Game: Jacksonville's Greg Reid 50-yard INT return for a TD.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

NASL: Armada FC Returnfor Fall Home Opener With Cosmos

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Armada FC return to Community First Park at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday for their North American Soccer League Fall Season home opener against the Spring Season Champions New York Cosmos.

The Armada are coming off a 4-0 loss at Minnesota United FC on Wednesday. Jacksonville played without two of its key offensive players for the majority of the game - Marcos Flores and Alhassane Keita, and played with only 10 men for the entire second half. 

Flores went down with a hamstring injury in the 35th minute and was subbed out for Tommy Krizanovic, and Keita was shown a red card in the 45th minute when his leg went high and collided with Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock's face when going for the ball. 

The Armada were also without regular starting right back Matt Bahner, who sat out the game with a knee injury, and regular starting left midfielder Lucas Scaglia, who served a one-match suspension for receiving two yellow cards against Atlanta on July 11.

The Cosmos last played on July 5 and notched a 1-1 draw with Indy Eleven in New York. After Indy got on the board first in the 26th minute, Cosmos midfielder Walter Restrepo scored the equalizer in the 78th minute off a rebound from a 'keeper save to help New York extend its NASL unbeaten streak to 11 games.

The teams last met in New York on June 13 in the Spring Season finale and played to a 3-3 draw. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, Pascal Millien, who is currently unavailable on international duty with the Haitian national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, lifted the team on his shoulders and played a part in the Armada's next three goals. He started his attack in the 59th minute when he found the upper left of the goal on a feed from Johnson.

Millien evened the score at 2-2 in the 73rd minute when he fired a laser shot past New York 'keeper Jimmy Maurer from 13 yards out. After the Cosmos went up 3-2 on a Lucky Mkosona strike in the 79th minute, Millien curved in a cross to defender Joseph Toby in the box, who deflected the ball off his right heel and into the top right corner of the goal. It was Toby's first professional goal. The draw allowed the Cosmos to finish one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Rowdies to clinch the spring title.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

AFL: SaberCats Remain in Top Spot of Media Poll

LAS VEGAS – The San Jose SaberCats (14-1) remained in the top spot of the AFL Media Poll for the eighth straight week following a 56-35 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo (2-12) in Week 16.

The two-time defending Pacific Division champions garnered 13-of-16 first place votes in the latest Media Poll after recording their 14th win of the year, the most in a single season by any SaberCats team in franchise history.

 San Jose will continue on its quest to clinch home field advantage in the National Conference this weekend when they host the Portland Thunder (4-10). Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday night.

Earning three first place votes and coming in at No. 2 once again in the AFL Media Poll are the Arizona Rattlers (12-2), who recorded their eighth consecutive win with a 57-43 victory over the Las Vegas Outlaws (5-9) in Week 16. The three-time defending ArenaBowl champs square off with the Spokane Shock (4-10) this Friday. Kickoff is set for 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

The East Division champion Philadelphia Soul (13-2), who came in at No. 3 in the latest AFL Media Poll, clinched the No. 1 seed in the American Conference last weekend with a 72-56 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators (7-8).

The Soul will look to keep their momentum rolling this Saturday when they travel to the Sunshine State for a matchup with the fifth-ranked Jacksonville Sharks (7-7), who suffered a road loss last week to the Portland Thunder. Kickoff for the Week 17 matchup is set for 7:00 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN3.

After dispatching of the rival Tampa Bay Storm (6-8) in the War on I-4 last week, the No. 4-ranked Orlando Predators (9-6) can lock up a playoff spot this weekend with a victory over the Cleveland Gladiators.

The two teams have split the season series so far, each coming away with wins in the other’s home arena. Kickoff for the rubber match is set for 6:00 p.m. ET Saturday on CBS Sports Network.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Suns Announce Roster Moves: Esch to Disabled List, Higgins to Jacksonville

PEARL, Miss. – The Miami Marlins announced pair of transactions that impact their Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Suns roster prior to tonight’s game against the Mississippi Braves at 8 p.m. ET at Trustmark Park.

Right-handed starting pitcher Jake Esch has been transferred to Jacksonville’s disabled list. Esch, a midseason Southern League All-Star, is 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 starts for the Suns.

In a corresponding move, right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Higgins has joined the Suns from High-A Jupiter. Higgins has pitched in 16 games in relief for the Hammerheads this season, with no wins or losses and a 3.00 ERA, allowing only nine earned runs in 27 innings pitched. Higgins also has one save, plus 21 strikeouts compared to only two walks.

Higgins pitched for the Suns in 2014, going 2-0 with a 4.97 ERA in 15 relief appearances. His season was cut short due to Tommy John surgery that he underwent in June 2014. Higgins was originally selected by the Marlins in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft out of Lansing Community College (Michigan).

The Suns roster now stands at 25 active players.

The Suns will begin a five-game series on Wednesday night with the Mississippi Braves at Trustmark Park with a first pitch set for 8:00 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out right-hander Trevor Williams (5-7, 3.98 ERA) while the Braves have yet to announce their starter.

Suns fans can also listen to Wednesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 600 AM & 100.3 FM “The Answer” or through,, or the TuneIn radio app, coverage will start with the Memorial Hospital Suns Pregame Show beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET.

The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Falll to the Portland Thunder 72-48

PORTLAND, OR – The Jacksonville Sharks trailed by just five points at halftime on Saturday night, but mistakes put the team in a third-quarter hole from which it could not recover, as the Sharks fell to the Portland Thunder by a 72-48 count at Moda Center.

Jacksonville (7-7) entered the second half with a chance to take the lead, as the team received the opening kicoff of the third quarter trailing Portland (4-10) by a 33-28 count. But on the ensuing drive, Joe Hills lost the handle after making a catch along the wall, resulting in a fumble that Portland recovered in Shark territory. Five plays later, Thunder quarterback Kyle Rowley hit fullback John Martinez for a 12-yard touchdown pass, pulling Portland ahead by two scores.

From that point forward, Jacksonville never had the ball with a one-score deficit for the remainder of the game. Though the Sharks got back on the board midway through the third quarter on Derrick Ross’ second rushing touchdown of the night, Portland responded with a five-yard pass from Rowley to V’Keon Lacey, putting the Thunder ahead by a 46-35 margin.

On the ensuing kickoff, Greg Reid gave his team a lift by fielding the ball off the net and sprinting up the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, the first of his Arena Football League career. But again, Jacksonville’s defense was not able to follow the score with a stop, as Rowley found Jared Perry for an eight-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

With that score, Portland regained a two-score advantage, though Jacksonville remained one defensive stop away from potentially turning the tide. But on the Sharks’ first possession of the fourth quarter, a series of offensive penalties backed the team up to a third and 25 situation. After Portland’s Marquis Jackson got to Tommy Grady for a third-down sack, Grady’s fourth-and-long pass fell incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs. Penalties plagued Jacksonville throughout the game, as the Sharks were flagged 17 times for a total of 91 yards. On the flip side, Portland committed just six fouls for 19 yards.

From there, Rowley hit Lacey for another short touchdown pass, putting the Thunder on top by three scores for the first time in the game, 59-24. On the ensuing kickoff, Andre’ Martin stripped Reid of the ball and chased down the fumble in the end zone for a Thunder touchdown. That score gave Portland a 65-42 lead, essentially sealing Jacksonville’s fate with five minutes remaining.
Earlier, Jacksonville appeared to generate a momentum shift in the final stages of the first half. With his team down by a 27-21 count, Joe Sykes hammered Rowley from the blind side, forcing a fumble that Alvin Ray Jackson pounced on in the end zone. With that play, Sykes tied his own single-season AFL record with 16.0 sacks, and set a new single-season League mark of 10 forced fumbles.

But the Sharks were unable to maintain that lead into halftime, as Rowley hit Perry for a 22-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half and the Jacksonville offense was stopped on its final drive of the second quarter.

In defeat, Grady completed 20 of his 31 pass attempts for 215 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Hills led Jacksonville with 10 receptions for 112 yards and two scores, while London Crawford added four catches for 30 yards and a score of his own. Tiger Jones caught four passes for 58 yards, and Moqut Ruffins hauled in a pair of screen passes, gaining 15 yards on those two receptions. On the ground, Ross totaled 29 yards and two touchdowns on his six carries.

Defensively, Terrance Smith led Jacksonville with 5.5 total tackles and three pass breakups, while Alvin Ray Jackson totaled four tackles and a pass breakup to go along with his defensive touchdown. Sykes racked up 3.5 tackles in addition to his strip-sack.

For Portland, Rowley went 22-of-29 for 235 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. He also scored a rushing touchdown, while Martinez carried the ball eight times for 15 yards and two scores. Lacey led Portland with 10 receptions for 63 yards and two scores, while Perry also caught two touchdowns.

The Sharks will now return to Jacksonville and prepare to face the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday, July 18. Kickoff on Sea Best Field is set for 7:00 p.m.

Media Awards

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Portland QB Kyle Rowley

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Portland DB Varmah Sonie

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Portland WR V’Keon Lacey

Cutters Catch of the Game – Portland WR Jared Perry’s one-handed catch in the first quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville DL Joe Sykes’ strip-sack resulting in an Alvin Ray Jackson touchdown in the second quarter

Thursday, July 9, 2015

CFB: 2016 Navy-Notre Dame game to be played in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.,  — Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk and Jacksonville Sports Council President & CEO Rick Catlett announced that the 2016 Navy-Notre Dame game will be played in Jacksonville at EverBank Field on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 and will be nationally televised. 

"My sincerest gratitude to everyone in Jacksonville for the wonderful support extended in making this historic college football match-up happen in the great state of Florida,” said Gladchuk.  “I can't imagine more energy, enthusiasm, and community involvement taking place anywhere else in the country.  The Academy and the Navy are "all in" for what should be a fan experience never to be forgotten.  Thanks to the Mayor, Rick Catlett, and the City of Jacksonville for their leadership in delivering a first … Navy versus Notre Dame in one of our nation's greatest cities in one of our nation's greatest venues."

The JAXSPORTS Council is focused on bringing together a diverse set of sports groups, and is constantly working to capitalize on big opportunities – events that put Jacksonville on the map.  Catlett said because the military is such a critical part of what makes Jacksonville great, it is a true honor to host this game here.

“I would like to thank Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk and the Naval Academy for entrusting us with the time honored tradition of the Navy-Notre Dame game,” said Catlett.  “With three major Naval facilities in our community, the City of Jacksonville is very proud to be a Navy town and this event will give us the opportunity to thank these young men and women for their service to our country.”

Northeast Florida has a strong military presence with area military installations such as Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport, Kings Bay Naval Base, Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Naval Aviation Depot Jacksonville and Marine Corps Blount Island Command providing employment to more than 50,000 active duty, reserve and civilian men and women. 

This will be the third time that Navy has played a game in Jacksonville.  The Mids played regular season games against Georgia Tech at the Gator Bowl in 1964 and again in 1973. It will also mark the second Navy-Notre Dame game to be played in Florida as the two teams met in Orlando in 2000.   

Navy and Notre Dame have the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in college football and teams will meet for the 89th time on Saturday, Oct. 10 in South Bend.  The Mids are 3-5 against Notre Dame dating back to the 2007 season.