Category Archives: Jarmon Fortson

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NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action

Week Two of the National Arena League (NAL) concluded on Saturday night. The New York Streets (2-0) defeated the Orlando Predators (1-1) 70-31 and the Carolina Cobras (2-0) defeated the Massachusetts Pirates (0-2) 50-22.

The night before, the Jacksonville Sharks (1-1) also moved past the Columbus Lions (0-2) 48-24 in the standings. Things got chippy all over the league, which resulted in multiple ejections.
NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action
Friday Night Lights
The Sharks controlled just about every 60 minutes of the game with some minor mistakes that would allow the Lions to come back and make it a game.

However, the Lions never came within one score of the Sharks after the second half started. This caused some heated moments, as the Sharks and Lions already have a big rivalry going on.

With 2:50 to go in the game, Defensive Back Seth Ellis intercepted a pass and returned it to the Columbus one-yard line. A Jacksonville Pass Interference would wipe away the turnover, giving the Lions the ball back.

After the play,  Lions Wide Receiver Bones Bagaunte allowed tempers to flare and charged at Sharks DB Robert Brown. This ultimately led to Bagaunte being ejected from the game, letting any hopes of the Lions comeback down the drain.

Bagaunte’s suspension hurts the Lions tremendously. He averages 12 receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns per game this season.
Cobras and Pirates get Chippy All Night
The Cobras dominated all game and showed no signs of slowing down in their 50-22 victory over the Pirates.

Just like the first game of the week, tempers flared in this one. Down 9-34 with just over five minutes left in the game, Offensive Lineman Mitch Bell for Massachusetts was penalized three times in a span of 12 seconds, leading to his ejection.

Shoving three players and getting in their faces surely doesn’t look good on him, nor the Pirates organization.

The already struggling O-Line for Massachusetts was hurting even more without Bell’s presence.

Not only were they struggling before his ejection, visiting teams don’t take the whole roster on away games, which likely meant that the Pirates needed to put someone outside of O-Line as an O-Lineman for the remainder of the game.

Bell’s ejection was not the only ejection of the night, as Cobras Quarterback Charles McCullum got mouthy with officials.

His first penalty was with 23.9 seconds to go in the game. It is unclear as to what he said, but he broke the huddle with his helmet off and started chirping at the officials.

Just seconds after that penalty, he picked up the ball, handed it to the ref, and pointed at the field, instructing the official as to where the ball should go and seemed like he was telling them how to do their job.
End Result of These Ejections?
According to sources, there is a new rule in the NAL this season when it comes to ejections; that rule states that if a player gets ejected or disqualified from a game, they must serve a suspension the following game.

This incident originally took place last season, as former Lions Wide Receiver Jarmon Fortson was ejected and suspended a game. The league reviewed the situation and lifted the suspension.

The Pirates host the Orlando Predators this week and then host the Sharks the following week. According to this rule, Bell would not be allowed to play against Orlando, but would be allowed to return against Jacksonville.

Unfortunately for Bagaunte and McCullum, they both have a Bye this week.

The Lions host the Predators in Week Four, but Bagaunte won’t be able to return to the field until their Week Five matchup against the Pirates.

The Cobras host the Streets in a huge Week Four game, except McCullum wouldn’t be allowed to play. The Cobras travel to Jacksonville, FL for a Week Five game against the Sharks. That game, McCullum can return to the field.

There is no telling as to whether there will be fines associated with these ejections, but a small fine should be implemented if the league wants to be serious about the rules and how games should be played. Regardless, something should be done or else the players won’t take it seriously and will start drama again.The post NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams

In our third Week Two matchup, we have a clash between two expansion teams as the Orlando Predators (1-0) take on the New York Streets (1-0).

The Streets are on fire, defeating the Jacksonville Sharks in Week One with a 52-41 score; a score of which hardly anybody expected.
NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams
Both teams have won their very first game in franchise history in the NAL. Both were closer games, but were still victories at the end of the day. Which one will come up victorious this weekend?
League-Leading Streets Offense
The Streets are the home team this week and have that New York fanbase behind them. After a victory in their first week against the Sharks, who are celebrating their 10th season as a franchise, the Streets climbed from dead last to the top two in the NAL leaderboard. They dominated everything last week, which will help them stay on track this week instead of having the blues after a week one loss.

Sure, it may only be week two, but the Streets have the league-leader in receiving yards. Wide Receiver Rob Jones had eight receptions for 155 yards and one touchdown.

Starting Quarterback Dave Legree was inactive, but that didn’t stop New York, as backup QB EJ Nemeth was 15-of-26 (57.69%) for 208 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.

If Nemeth is the starter this week, the Streets have absolutely nothing to worry about. If Legree ends up becoming the starter, it will be interesting to see what he can do on the field and who the Streets will end up rolling with for the rest of the season.
Pass-Rush Defense
The Streets may have only sacked the quarterback one time last week, but their Defensive Line did a great job of getting close to the QB and forcing him to overthrow his receivers or even throw the ball into the crowd.

The D-Line statistically didn’t have a great game, but that doesn’t matter when they are “doing their job” by forcing the quarterback to make a split-second decision that he may or may not regret.

For the Defensive Backs, they had a slow start, but eventually got into a rhythm, shutting down just about every receiver as the game went on.

To start the game, they left every single receiver open, which is why the Streets were down 9-14 at the end of the first quarter. After adjusting their defensive backs a little bit, they limited WR Jarmon Fortson’s catches to almost nothing as well as Chris Gilchrist and Cody Saul. The only receiver they had an issue with was Devin Wilson, as they allowed him to make 11 catches for 140 yards as well as a touchdown.

If the DB’s do their job this week and shut down the receivers like they did last week, they will be golden against Orlando, who doesn’t have nearly as many talented receivers as Jacksonville.
Fast-Paced Orlando Offense
Last week against the Lions, the Predators had a slow start, but finished the game at rapid fire. After halftime, the game was score after score after score.

They ended up defeating the Lions by two points and showing them who the real jungle belonged to. Will that same offense show up to New York against the Streets scary defense?

With Quarterback Kyle Israel throwing to Wide Receivers Rob Brown and Keith DeVeaux, both with NAL experience, it will be interesting to see what kind of day New York’s DB’s will have this weekend. Playing one good wide receiver is tough, but managable; but playing two good receivers makes it just that much tougher.
Closing Prediction
The Streets are on their A-Game right now and are on top of the world, but they can’t keep that mindset because there is tons of football to play. Even though they defeated one of the oldest teams in the NAL, they can’t think they are the best because they beat the “best”. That is exactly what Jacksonville thought last week because they are completely stacked on offense. We all know how that game ended up.

On the other hand, the Predators must keep fighting. Their win was a quiet one in the league since their YouTube stream was taken down for copyright reasons as well as no stats for their game yet. The Predators must force turnovers on defense, especially with their DB’s, such as Dallas Jackson and Robert Brown, who both killed the league last year.

When it comes down to who will win, the Streets should be able to kick Orlando out and show that the Streets are worthy of being 2-0. This should definitely not get to them, like mentioned before because that will destroy this game. A team’s season is not decided by just one game.The post NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: Sharks in High Hopes to Break History in Columbus

The Jacksonville Sharks (0-1) travel to Columbus, GA to take on the Columbus Lions (0-1) in a National Arena League Week Two matchup. Both teams are coming off of heartbreaking losses to expansion teams, but only one will be able to redeem themselves this week. The Sharks have some bad history in Columbus that they will look to try to erase this week.
Sharks in High Hopes to Break History This Week
Who: Jacksonville Sharks @ Columbus Lions
When: Friday, April 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm (E.T.)
Where: Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, GA

The Sharks and Lions both enter this week with 0-1 records. Some good news is that one of these teams will walk out with a win or a very rare tie. The Sharks, however, don’t have history on their side. They have not won a single game in Columbus since the inaugural 2017 NAL season. That was when the Sharks defeated the Lions on March 17, 2017 with a 56-41 score.

Both teams have changed dramatically since that date, so that small statistic doesn’t really mean anything at the moment. To be fair, the Lions technically haven’t beat the Sharks in Jacksonville a single time in franchise history. That’s beside the point because this game is not in Jacksonville.

Both teams have some powerfull offenses, but who ranks the best when it comes to the offense?
Top Receivers at Full-Strength
Like mentioned in last week’s preview, the Sharks have the top three receivers from the NAL last season. That didn’t seem to phase the Streets, as they nearly shut down all receivers except Devin Wilson.

Wilson finished with 140 yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions. Former Lions receiver, Jarmon Fortson, looked great in the first drive for Jacksonville, catching both passes that were in his direction, one of which he took to cash in some points.

Other former Lions receiver Durron Neal suffered an injury and did not play, but he should be good to play this week against his old team. Neal led the league in receiving yards last season and he should be hungry for revenge on his old team for letting him go.

With all of this said, there can only be one receiver targeted per play and there are only so many offensive plays in a game, so these receivers aren’t all going to see all-star numbers this week or every week.

One or two players might see great numbers, but definitely not all three, especially when there are other receivers such as Chris Gilchrist and Cody Saul taking reps. Gilchrist actually led the Sharks in receiving touchdowns last week with two.
Sluggish Defense but still forcing turnovers?
For the Sharks defense, their Defensive Backs looked a tad bit tired on the field ast week, but were still able to force two turnovers. Saul at Linebacker also caught a controvercial interception last week, as he caught the ball but didn’t maintain possession before the ball popped out. The officials ruled the play as a fumble and the game continued, crediting Saul with an interception.

Defensive Lineman Keith Bowers looks to make his return debut with the Sharks after suffering an injury in training camp, less than two weeks before the home-opener. With him back in the swing of things, the Sharks defense should be back to normal with their high-powered sack machines. Nick Woodman also came down with a sack last week, the Sharks’ only last against the Streets.
Touchdown Galore Lions Offense
Last week, the Lions offense had a field day against the Orlando Predators defense. One player alone scored five touchdowns. That player was Wide Receiver Bones Bagaunte. Bagaunte previously played for the Massachusetts Pirates and totaled 54 receptions for 524 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games.

After making the move to the Lions, he showed that he was willing to be their top guy. Their quarterback, Luke Collis, may be far from Mason Espinosa, but he has tons of arena football experience, starting with the Spokane Shock in 2012. Losing Fortson and Neal to the Sharks didn’t seem to phase the Lions at all, as they were just two points short of the Predators.

They looked strong all game, but didn’t have a kicker to boot the ball through the uprights. This forced Columbus to attempt a 2-point conversion after every single touchdown. After a while, this can be very predictable and can put the opponents at an advantage.
Same-ish Defense from Last Year
The Lions lost a key member of the defense from last year when Defensive Back Chris Pickett. He was named First Team All-NAL selection in 2018. That won’t slow the Lions down this season because they almost have the same exact defense as last year.

Other key players to stay with the Lions this season include Defensive Lineman Kendrick Washington, Defensive Backs Shattle Fenteg, Martay Mattox, and Kyle Griswould.

There is no saying that this defense will be unstoppable after what happened last season in the championship game (Carolina beat the Lions 66-8), but this defense is pretty close to being an unstoppable force.

It will be interesting to see if they will be able to keep up with this fast-paced Jacksonville offense or if they will be one step ahead and win the third and fourth down game.
Conclusion and Closing Thoughts
This game will be tough to pick a winner because nobody really knows what to expect from either team. Both teams are really good and they have shown that, but there are obviously some bumps in the road so far.

For Jacksonville to win this game, they must target more receivers than just one. Last week, they started off great by getting the ball to multiple receivers to start the game. That resulted in points on the board. Once the ball consistently got to Wilson, things got very predictable and that is where Jacksonville fell apart.

For Columbus to win, they must shut down the Sharks offense and get past the offensive line to get to the Quarterback. When the QB has no time to think about what he is going to do, mistakes will happen. That is exactly what Columbus has to do in order to win.

When it comes down to it, both teams have learned each other more since last week. Both teams also have what it takes to win. They say defense wins championships and right now, Columbus has the scariest looking defense.

Jacksonville only got to the QB once last week and forced two of the three turnovers in “garbage” time. Unless the Jacksonville defense can turn things around, this Lions team will make Columbus real proud.

As always, don’t forget to follow us in Instagram and Twitter for all updates on arena and indoor football throughout the country.The post NAL: Sharks in High Hopes to Break History in Columbus appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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