By Bailey Faulkner
Heading into Sunday with a huge win against the Dayton Wolfpack the previous weekend, the High Country Grizzlies came up short against the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks, conceding the game with a 68-21 loss to the Florida team.
The Sharks, seen in the preseason as the frontrunners in the league, asserted their dominance over the Grizzlies, not allowing the High Country team to score until former ASU standout and Grizzlies receiver Malachi Jones completed a 15-yard passing touchdown with 12:45 left in the third quarter. The Grizzlies first touchdown brought the score to 41-7 in Jacksonville’s favor.
One of the most exciting moments for the Grizzlies came when Jones acrobatically completed a pass from quarterback Stephen Panasuk during the team’s third drive of the game. Running out of room, Jones was able to simultaneously make the reception and scale the field’s out-of-bounds wall before being brought to the ground by the Sharks defense.
While the drive did not end with a touchdown, the completion reflected the Grizzlies’ athleticism even in the face of a game that isn’t going their way.
“We didn’t come to play today. That was obvious from the get-go,” QB Panasuk said. “We did not prepare like we should have, and it’s a tough pill to swallow, but it better be a lesson learned.”
The Grizzlies will have the chance to reflect upon their loss during the coming week. The team moves into their first bye week this week, setting their eyes on an upcoming April 22 matchup against the Columbus Lions in Georgia. The team will head to their second and final bye week after the game in Columbus.
Having already learned valuable lessons in the team’s first four games in franchise history, The Grizzlies will come off their second bye week with a home game against the Georgia Firebirds on May 7.
The Grizzlies crushed the Firebirds in the High Country’s franchise opener on March 18, rolling over the Albany, Georgia team with a 62-29 victory. Now with two losses under their belt, the Grizzlies hope to learn from previous mistakes as they greet the Firebirds to the High Country for their first rematch against a fellow NAL team.
If you want to learn more about the Grizzlies, you can check out the team’s website here. The site is constantly updated with news, YouTube videos of previous games and other Grizzlies events happening around the area.
You can also click here to order tickets to the Grizzlies’ May 7 game against the Georgia Firebirds.
Check out this video of the Grizzlies’ franchise opener against the Firebirds and these pictures from Sunday’s game against the Sharks!