PATERSON, NJ - With the temperatures sitting just around the freezing point the pre-game rituals being undertaken by the players at Bauerle Field on Saturday were less about superstition and more generating some warmth.
The cold wasn’t going to stop the Silk City Sharks though, Mike Harris, one of the team’s coaches, assured TAPinto Paterson. “These guys are hungry, when the whistle blows they’ll be ready to play.”
It didn’t take long for Harris’ words to prove prophetic.
The visiting team from Newark won the coin toss, and that turned out, despite their own hard efforts on the field, to be the only thing they’d win all night.
Less than a minute into the first-round playoff game the Sharks had already gotten the ball back via a fumble recovery, and with two runs, one that would send him just short of the endzone, and a second that finished the job, Xavier Harris put his team up 6-0.
The Sharks defense forced a punt from the opposing team in the next series, and a poor kick gave them an advantage by placing them at the Knights 32 yard line as the offense took over again. A run by Deon Davis kept the charge moving forward, capped off by a short pass from Quattrell Huffin to Xavier Harris that brought the home team to the 10-yard line.
This time it was Marquis Marrero’s turn to run the ball into the endzone, doubling the Sharks lead to 12-0.
Next on the highlight reel was a Sharks kickoff to the Knights, which was recovered by the home team, putting that back on the offensive side of the ball. While a couple of offsides calls moved the Sharks back 10 yards, a speedy Prince Block ran the ball deep downfield, getting stopped just short of yet another touchdown.
The Sharks wouldn’t be stopped, however, and Roland Williams ran the ball in the final two yards, making it 18-0.
Refusing to give up, the Knights took the ball again on a kick off, gaining a quick 15 yards on a personal foul against the Sharks. The advantage didn’t help much as they were soon forced to punt the ball again, a play that really never got off the ground, giving the Sharks another offensive start in their opponent’s territory.
A short pass to Harris with a few extra yards tacked on, a scramble by Huffin, and a short pass to Davis that he took all the way into the endzone, brought the sharks another six points.
On the ensuing kickoff it was Kevone Little’s chance to shine as the running back recovered the ball that had been mishandled by a Knight. A long run by Dekyri Mimms, followed by an 11 yard dash by Rockee Santiago, now at quarterback, was capped off by yet another trip into the endzone for Harris, closing the half with the Sharks on top 30-0.
With the second half underway, the Sharks’ Andre Robinson picked off a Knights’ pass, giving the offensive set yet another opportunity. Sticking to the ground the Sharks kept running the ball, Marrero first brining the ball ten yards to the Knights 38 yard line and then Block once again going for a long trip to the Knights 14 yard line.
Closing out the scoring was Tyrell Rajoun who, despite being caught just short on his first attempt into the endzone, completed the job on the next play, recording his first career touchdown with the Silk City Sharks.
As the clock ticked in the fourth quarter, the score, now standing at 36-0, proved to be just too much for the Knights, whose players for the most part were working both sides of the ball admirably, and brought the game to a merciful end with several minutes left on the scoreboard.
A win by the Sharks secured their home field advantage in the second round of the IFL playoffs set for Saturday, November 24.
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