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Pittsburgh Power sinks Jacksonville Sharks Saturday

Posted: June 28, 2014 - 11:18pm  |  Updated: June 28, 2014 - 11:42pm
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The Sharks' Charles Gilbert makes an over-the-shoulder catch as he's pursued by the Pittsburgh Power's Latarrius Thomas during Saturday night's game at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.  Gary McCullough For The Times-Union
Gary McCullough For The Times-Union
The Sharks' Charles Gilbert makes an over-the-shoulder catch as he's pursued by the Pittsburgh Power's Latarrius Thomas during Saturday night's game at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

A season of firsts continued for both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh on Saturday night in the Sharks’ 64-48 loss.

The visiting Power (12-3) already had their first winning season and playoff berth in franchise history before arriving at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, but the victory was the first in five games against the Sharks since Pittsburgh rejoined the AFL in 2011.

For the first time in the Jacksonville’s five-year existence in the AFL, it likely won’t be in the playoffs.

The team tried to find a spark by bringing back former Jacksonville players Marco Capozzoli (kicker) and LaRoche Jackson (defensive back) as co-captains. But for the first time in franchise history, the Sharks (5-9) won’t have a winning record.

Tommy Grady had an easy time finding receivers. He completed 24 of 37 passes for 353 yards and nine touchdowns, including four scoring passes to Hank Edwards, three to Prechae Rodriguez and two more to Shawn Kauleinamoku.

The Sharks came into the game knowing they needed to run the table in their final five regular-season games to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.

“When you have your backs to the wall, you have to play better,” Sharks quarterback R.J. Archer said. “We made a couple mistakes, and it gave them extra possessions. We were in position. It was right there for us.”

Jacksonville stole the early momentum when Xavier Brewer recovered Rodriguez’s fumble on Pittsburgh’s first offensive play and Jared McGriff-Culver ran 19 yards a play later to put the Sharks up front 7-0 just 59 seconds into the game.

But that’s where Jacksonville’s early rally — and its playoff hopes — ended. Grady threw two easy completions — 38 yards to Hank Edwards and a 7-yard touchdown to Kauleinamoku to tie the score less than one minute later.

Jake Killeen’s sack of Archer for a safety, followed by a 12-yard TD pass from Grady to Kauleinamoku put the visitors up 16-7.

McGriff-Culver’s fumble at the Power 1-yard-line midway in the second quarter, followed by a 49-yard touchdown pass from Grady to Rodriguez with 5:51 to go before the break gave the Power a 16-point lead that was too much for the Sharks to overcome.

Pittsburgh led 37-21 at halftime.

Terrance Smith caught a 23-yard touchdown pass for Jacksonville on its first possession of the second half, but Grady threw scoring passes of 26 yards to Edwards and 47 to Rodriguez.