After an abrupt coaching change mid-week, the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks (10-0) took the field against the winless Dayton Wolfpack (0-7). The result was as expected, as Jacksonville outscored Dayton 45-6 to run out 77-32 winners.
In a bit of an early surprise, the Wolfpack matched the Sharks score for score throughout the first half, and early on held a 12-6 lead. Devin Wilson, however, immediately had other ideas. Wilson stretched his arms out into the end zone for a touchdown and a quick, one-point lead.
In what would be one of the bigger Dayton highlights of the night, DeMarcus Sweat caught a pass where he was wide open thanks to Micheaux Robinson slipping, and the Wolfpack took what was their final lead of the night, 18-13.
Damien Fleming, who had a comfortable night in the pocket, used intermediate routes on the next drive, ending it with a touchdown pass to Darryl Thompson. After the defense made two quick sacks, the second resulting in a fumble, Derrick Ross took it from there. Ross, the workhorse of the first half, scored from 10 yards out. Nick Belcher missed the extra point, but his night quickly turned around.
Sweat kept Dayton in the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion catch, but when Fleming ran into the end zone untouched soon after, the crowd of over 9,100 felt the rout was on.
Erick McIntosh started the second half with a pick-six, the first of 34 unanswered points by Jacksonville in the third and fourth quarter. In that run, only four players scored: Ross, Belcher with two deuces, Maurice Williams, and a safety on a Damien Jacobs sack in the end zone. McIntosh nearly scored again, but nearly ran into his own man on another interception.
Dayton did score late to bring the deficit to 66-32, but another Fleming scramble, another deuce, and another safety showed why Jacksonville has yet to lose in their NAL tenure.
The Sharks look to maintain a perfect record and clinch the #1 seed in the penultimate game of the season against the High Country Grizzlies. Kickoff for the second game in a three-game home stand is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.