Shock Broke Fever, Spokane Wins 62-32
Inner-state rivals Spokane Shock and Tri-Cities Fever took the field for the sixth meeting between the two teams tonight. The Fever (0-2) doesn’t hold great standings in the league, but there is something about playing against Spokane that brings out the fight in them. Tonight was no exception, with the Fever being first to score, a 33-yard field goal by kicker Michael Braunstein.
Shock QB Nick Davila started uncharacteristically shaky, tallying two incomplete passes and a near interception before achieving the Shock's initial first down. He eventually gained control and went on to lead the “Boys in Blue”, thanks to connecting with WR Charles Dillon for at 23-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Brian Jackson's extra point was good, putting the Shock on top 7-3. The Fever answered back with a 35-yard field goal by Braunstein.
The Shock started the second quarter with a 6-yard touchdown reception by WR Andy Olson. The Fever responded shortly after with a 13-yard touchdown reception from QB Joe Ayoob to WR Tommy Devereaux.
Raul “The Thrill” Vijil came up with a 24-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter. However, the game-changer was at the end of the second quarter, brought on by the most ridiculous incomplete pass ruling I have ever witnessed.
Like in the season opener last week, Shock LB Kevin McCullough dove for and intercepted a pass from Fever QB Joe Ayoob and started sprinting towards the end zone. Although it was clear to everyone in the arena that this was in fact an interception, the official ruled the pass incomplete. Even a replay on the video wall provided evidence of this amazing play by McCullough. The call stood.
Charged with fury over the last call, the Ninth Man responded with such thunderous noise that I am sure was heard in Seattle. This fueled our defense even further, resulting in a fumble by the Fever. The fumble was recovered by Shock DL Justin Warren, who ran 35-yards for a touchdown. Jackson nailed the extra-point kick and the Shock and fans alike were vindicated.
Despite the 10,552 charged-up fans, the Fever managed to score one more time in the half, this time WR Phil Goodman for a 4-yard pass from Ayoob. The Shock led at the half, 27-19.
The fervor from the end of the first half remained at the start of the second. Shock's Olson scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, one a 34-yard reception, the other a 13-yard reception. Fever's Goodman was good for a 6-yard touchdown reception from Ayoob. However, the Shock continued to dominate, ending the third quarter 41-26.
Shock FB Harrison Niklao set the pace for the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run. The Shock were handed a safety, which was quickly taken away; another in a series of questionable calls by tonight's officials.
Shock’s Olson scored his fourth touchdown of the night, this time a 30-yard pass from Davila. Olson was injured on this play, but thankfully was able to get up and walk unassisted off the field. He definitely earned being named tonight’s Offensive Player of the Game.
With the Shock well in the lead (55-32), Shock QB Casey Hansen got his chance for glory. He connected with LB Lee Foliaki for a 1-yard touchdown reception with 21 seconds left in the game. Jackson’s extra point kick was flawless and ended the game with a 62-32 victory for the Shock.
We LOVE af2 arena football! You see, af2 offers something most leagues cannot; pure football. What do I mean by this? NFL, CFL, AFL and even college all have corporate/board/agents/coaching politics and the money involved that can sometimes cloud the relationship between the player with the fans and even the game. The love of the game can be lost.
Here in the af2, we have opportunity! Every player in the af2 signs a 1-year contract. They play for $200(Loss)-$250(Win) a game and film footage. At the end of the season these guys (coaches included) are hoping to catch the eye of the AFL, CFL and/or NFL for a chance to fulfill their dreams.
These guys are playing with all they have to get noticed. There are no politics involved or large price tags. Just pure unadulterated football.
Due to their circumstances, they are grounded (with a few exceptions). They love their fans (especially the 10,000+ Spokane 9th Man) and feel blessed to have the opportunity to show their talents!
Since the AFL has suspended their season, we are blessed to be seeing talent that deserves so much more. They deserve to be moving up the ladder while their bodies are young. But they are not, at least for the time being.
Sometimes I think we forget about this. Just remember how important you are as fans to these guys on their journey. It is because of you (the 9th Man) that Spokane attracts such talent. We spoke with Shock DL Ben McCombs and asked him what he thought of Spokane.
He stated, "Every time I visited Spokane as a Central Valley Coyote, I loved it! I knew this is where I wanted to play this season when the AFL suspended their season. No questions about it!"
Saturday night was another awesome display of hunger for victory. As Lori mentioned, Tri-Cities Fever has struggled in the last couple of games to make anything happen. Coming into Spokane is a whole different story.
You can really see the influence Shock DB/Special Teams coach Rob Keefe has had on the defense. The Shock DB's combined with the defensive line is a difficult scenario to overcome.
The defense swarmed the Fever's offense, requiring Tri-Cities QB Joe Ayoob and receiving core to perform at the top of their game, which was very difficult. The Fever offense never found a rhythm.
On the other hand, the Shock had a tough first series but quickly found their rhythm and off they went.
The 9th man did a phenomenal job making noise at key moments which helped cause Tri-Cities to use time-outs and delay of games when they otherwise would not have had to use them. The Shock played very well and simply out-played Tri-Cities.
The Shock go on the road for the next two weeks starting in Boise to take on the Burn. We shall see if our Shock remain as victorious on the road as they are at home.
Shawn is in the process of completing and publishing an ebook entitled "The Complete HTPC Guide: Everyone's Guide To Building A Home Theater PC". Shawn has a structured wiring company where he helps homeowners create automated homes through the use of home electronics and computers.
Lori is an aspiring children's writer. After years of being an accomplished QA Analyst for a cutting edge software manufacturer, she now enjoys spending her time with her family and writing.