On a night dedicated to south Georgia storm recovery, the Georgia Firebirds couldn't send fans home with a win.
But winning wasn't exactly the top priority.
Jacksonville took down the Firebirds 39-24 in the team's preseason game Thursday night at the Albany Civic Center. Head coach Antwone Savage says there was a lot to like, despite the loss.
"I just wanted the guys to go out and compete, not bust assignments, and make plays," Savage says. "I saw a little bit of that today. I got some things I expected, and some surprises also."
The Sharks jumped out to a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Firebirds stormed back with 17 2nd quarter points of their own to lead by a point at halftime.
"I think we got the first quarter jitters out," Savage says. "Once we started to make plays, we moved the ball."
Savage says tonight's goal wasn't about winning the game. He was much more concerned with rotating players at certain positions, particularly quarterback and wide receiver.
The Firebirds did play their first-team offense together in spots during the game, and Savage thought that unit played well.
"I did see the offense I think we're going to have," he says. "Once we play a full four quarters with those guys, I think we'll be pretty good."
Jeffrey Legree got the start at QB, and split time with Isaiah Jupiter Thursday. Legree finished with a 6-15 mark with 49 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Jupiter completed 10 of 20 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
The Firebirds now have a few days to work out the kinks before the season opener. Georgia will host the High Country Grizzlies on March 18 in the team's 2017 debut.