The Hinesville Hurricanes won the inaugural game of the United States Indoor Football arena league 12-0 against the Richmond Hill Tiger Sharks Saturday at the Savannah Civic Center.
The Hurricanes got on the board with 7:12 left in the first half on a shovel pass from Tony Blocker to Shane Hotchkiss. The two-point conversion failed.
Anthony Budd scored for the ’Canes with six seconds left in the game from one yard out, but the two-point conversion again came up short.
“We’re just coming off of our outdoor season, so I think we were a little more prepared,” Hurricanes coach James Sharp said. “But we didn’t have all of our players, so our guys were getting a little tired having to play both ways.”
Many of the players on the Hurricanes’ arena league roster also play for the team’s semi-pro spring team
“But there were still a lot of adjustments we had to make,” Sharp added. “Especially on defense.”
The Tiger Sharks appeared ready to score on the opening possession of the game when quarterback Jonny Smith went down with a broken toe, trying to run the ball in on fourth and goal.
“We were about to punch it in,” Richmond Hill coach Roger Ritchie said. “I honestly believe if we hadn’t lost Jonny we would have won.”
The Tiger Sharks would end up using three other players at quarterback, but a rash of missed snaps and overthrows stopped them from generating any offensive momentum.
Arena football is played on a field that is 50 yards long by 28 yards wide.
Rules allow for two players to be in motion toward the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped to create more offensive excitement. On defense, on linebacker is prohibited from going more than six yards back from the line of scrimmage.
“That player can only move six yards back but can go the entire width of the field,” Ritchie said. “With those restrictions, that position is known as the ‘jack-in-the-box’ but a quick player can cover half the field.”
Richmond Hill appeared to score on its third possession on a pass from Donte Smith to Jonas Flannery, but the touchdown was called back to a personal foul.
“Our guys have never played on a field like this before,” Ritchie said. “But the only bad loss is one you don’t learn from. We’ll regroup at practice Tuesday and get ready for next week.
The league’s opening day continued with a night game between the Savannah Coastal Outlaws and the Myrtle Beach Masters.
The Tiger Sharks face the Outlaws at 7 p.m. on July 8, while the Hurricanes take on the Masters at 1 p.m. that day. Tickets are $15 for both games. For more information, see www.usifpro.com.