Shock Electrify Fans with Win Over Coyotes
It couldn't have been a better start to round two of the playoffs. The Coyotes fumbled the ball on their first possession and it was recovered by Spokane. Shock QB Nick Davila and wide receivers Andy Olson and Patrick Bugg marched mightily down the field, setting up for the one-yard touchdown run by FB Katon Bethay. Kicker Brian Jackson sent the extra point sailing through the uprights. Just like that; the Shock took the lead 7-0.
The mighty Action Jackson then thrilled the crowd with an on-side kick that landed in the hands of Shock WR Etu Molden, preventing yet another Central Valley possession. Again, Davila lead the team down the field for a touchdown. This time it was Bugg with a 5-yard reception.
The Coyotes fumbled the ball on their next possession. It was extremely evident from up in the press box that this fumble was also recovered by the Shock. Unfortunately for the Shock, the officials ruled otherwise and gave the ball and the subsequent touchdown to Central Valley.
Central Valley then botched an on-side kick that was caught by Shock DB Tremaine Tyler, who nearly took it in for a touchdown. The Coyotes prevented another Shock touchdown. However, the Shock still pulled ahead by three with a successful 18-yard field goal by Brian Jackson.
The Coyotes established momentum on their next possession and scored to end the first quarter with the Shock narrowly leading 17–14.
Kicker Brian Jackson was the first to score for the Shock in the second quarter. He nailed another field goal, this time from 36-yards.
Shock DB Roshawn Marshall came up with an interception on a Central Valley fourth down. The Shock took possession for a brief moment, until a dropped pass by Davila to WR Raul Vijil was ruled a fumble and recovered by Central Valley. This led to the Central Valley touchdown and the 21–20 lead over the Shock.
The next drive for the Shock was a long one and Central Valley's defense was to thank for the numerous first downs. Two pass interference penalties and one illegal defense penalty helped move the chains down the field and set up for the 2-yard touchdown run by Katon Bethay. Jackson's extra point kick put the Shock back on top 27-21 with just 55 seconds left in the half.
The next onside kick by Jackson didn't quite go as planned. It ended up the hands of Central Valley's WR Tonae Martin, giving the Coyotes possession at the 9-yard line. Central Valley scored and took the lead 28-27.
But the half wasn't over. Raul “the thrill” Vijil returned the ball nearly to the 20-yard line. Davila, who had pressure from Central Valley all over him, miraculously hit Andy Olson, who ran the ball in for a 28-yard touchdown. Davila then fought with all he had to make the two point conversion, putting the Shock in the lead once again 35-28.
The Shock started the third quarter with a touchdown on their first play. Davila threw a 32-yard bullet to Bugg. However, Central Valley's WR Jomo William returned the kickoff 43-yards for a touchdown.
Davila hit Bugg again, this time a 30-yard reception and roll into the end zone for a touchdown. Central Valley immediately answered back with another touchdown. However, the extra point attempt by Kicker Mikael Bjork was no good.
FB Katon Bethay rushed 31-yards to setup Davila's one-yard quarterback sneak. Not to take away from Davila's hard-earned glory, but his offensive line fought with all they had to ensure this particular touchdown. The Shock offense completely defined the word “teamwork” on that play.
Shock DB Sergio Gilliam intercepted a would-be Central Valley touchdown. The Shock took possession, but mayhem broke out on the field as a result of penalties on both teams, including unsportsmanlike conduct against Shock Head Coach Adam Shackleford. The Shock were unable to score on the drive and left the field with many of the Ninth Man scratching their heads.
Bethay wowed the crowed yet again in the fourth quarter with his 18-yard touchdown run. It was no surprise that he was named the AT&T Text MVP of the Game and the Offensive Player of the Game.
Shock LB Keven McCullough dashed Central Valley's hope for a touchdown with the third interception of the night. After the interception, he rushed 30-yards and set up for the 3-yard touchdown run by Vijil. Davila then connected with Olson for a 2-point conversion. The Shock pulled further ahead, 69-48.
Central Valley scored on their next possession, closing the gap 59-55. However, their onside kick fell into the hands of Shock WR Andy Olson. Davila then connected with Vijil for a 10-yard touchdown and Jackson's extra point kick was good.
Undaunted by the Shock's dominance in the second half, Central Valley's Jomo Wilson ran 58-yards for his second kick return for a touchdown. Central Valley was also successful with their 2-point conversion.
Again, Central Valley chose an onside kick. And again, Andy Olson came up with the ball. Coach Shackleford and his men managed the clock and knocked any remaining wind out of Central Valley's sails. LB Kevin McCullough ran 1-yard for another Shock touchdown and Jackson sailed yet another extra point kick through the uprights. The Shock win 83-63 and move on to the National Conference Championship game. Can you say, “ArenaCup”?
Tonight's game between the Shock and Coyotes was certainly a concern of for many Shock fans. Not to mention there was questions on who was going to come out on top. These two teams had met twice during the regular season and both games were within two points.
The first quarter was all Shock. They capitalized on key Central Valley mistakes, starting with a forced fumble when three Shock defenders pounded a Coyote. This quickly led to a touchdown after just four minutes. The Shock then recovered an onside kick which led to another touchdown. After this point, Central Valley got back into the game and tied up the score before the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, things really started to change. Central Valley slowly began to check out of the game. The Shock, on the other hand, held their energy levels high, as well as their determination to win.
Shock WR Raul Vijil had a big bullseye on his jersey tonight. Central Valley was all over him, especially on kick returns. Raul did have a few big plays and a touchdown, which did help his morale. After the game I asked him how it felt to finally get the touchdown after so many stops. His jokingly replied, “You just had to bring that up.” He continued, “It felt really good and was something I needed after my slump for the past couple of games.” I reminded him that he cannot take all the credit for the slump; other teams know his name and are looking to stop him. He replied with a smile.
While Raul was keeping the Coyotes preoccupied, Shock wide receivers Patrick Bugg, Etu Molden and Andy Olson were able to make big plays and keep the ball moving. Which proves a point I would like to interject. Throughout the season, we have continued to hear from all the Shock players that this team is a family. While someone may have a breakout game and everyone is happy for that individual, they all still feel that they have achieved this through a team effort.
For the most part, the officiating was very good. There was one questionable call where the Shock forced a fumble and appeared to have recovered it, but the officials thought otherwise and gave it back to the Coyotes. Upon viewing questionable calls, I must remind myself that the af2 is not only a scouting league for players. It is also a league that assists the officials hone in their skills. Just like the players, the officials are learning and building their careers with the hopes of moving up to the AFL, NFL and other leagues.
How do I know this? On a couple of occasions this season, we have had the opportunity to meet and listen to “Bob” (we will keep his name anonymous), who is an NFL official. He oversees the western division referees in the af2. He trains and grooms the officials to prepare them for moving up.
As for the remainder of tonight's game, the Coyotes continued to show spurts of energy and fight. However, the Coyotes were simply outplayed by the Shock. This was not expected with the way these two teams had fought earlier in the season.
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.