Shock Sweep Dusters in National Conference Championship
Prior to kickoff, I was reflecting on how tonight's game will be very interesting. Both teams have a 2-0 post season record. Amarillo, however, had a .500 regular season. To get here required Amarillo to beat the number two and three seed teams on the road. This said a lot about the Amarillo team. On the flip side, Spokane has had their best ever regular season with a 15-1 record. Like Amarillo, the Shock also have had to win tough games on the road.
Now that the game is over, I am almost at a loss for words. The Shock has won and I don't know what happened. I have been trying to figure out why Amarillo, who was able to go on the road and defeat two excellent teams, had such difficulty tonight. Maybe they were simply shell shocked by the roar of the 9,278 Ninth Men and the Shock defense that was totally on fire. Maybe it was just an off night that happened to land on a very important game. Perhaps their performance tonight explains why they are a 500 team.
Even the Shock players noticed. Shock WR Patrick Bugg commented, “I almost felt sorry for them. They looked like they didn't know what hit them.”
Whatever it was, the Shock made this win look easy. They simply dominated the Dusters on all levels. Sure, you had the occasional blown coverages that allowed the Dusters to remain in the game. Which I might add, the Shock will need to clean up to come away with the ArenaCup championship.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the Shock is hosting the ArenaCup? The City of Spokane is on cloud nine, not to mention these two writers who missed the 06' ArenaCup because it was held in Peurto Rico.
After the game we interviewed many Shock players and it was no surprise that they, too were on cloud nine. Shock's kicker Brian Jackson kept running around saying, “This is my first major championship! I've been a loser all my life.” Well Brian, loserdum is over.
Amarillo won the toss and deferred to kick to Spokane. And we all know in whose hands that ball landed. WR Raul “the thrill” Vijil returned it for 13-yards and a few plays later was the first to score. Add in Kicker Brian Jackson's extra point kick and the Shock were up 7–0.
Amarillo fumbled the ball on their first possession thanks to Shock DB Nygel Rogers. The Shock recovered the fumble and two plays later Shock OL Kyle Young ran 4-yards for another touchdown.
However, Amarillo did score on their next possession.
QB Nick Davila connected with WR Patrick Bugg for an amazing 26-yard touchdown reception. Amarillo, however, answered back with another touchdown. It quickly became apparent that Davila and company would have to be sure to score on each possession in order to stay a step ahead of Amarillo. The Shock defense would also have to keep pressure on Amarillo's QB Julian Reese and his offensive line for another opportunity to fumble the ball.
Patrick Bugg scored again, the first touchdown of the second quarter. This time, a 26-yard touchdown run. Kicker Brian Jackson continued to shine, nailing yet another extra point kick. The defense also held up to their end of the bargain, causing Amarillo's QB Reese to throw a beautiful interception right into the hands of Shock's DB Roshawn Marshall. WR Andy Olson came up with a 12-yard touchdown several plays later and the Shock pulled further ahead, 35–14.
The Shock defense continued to dominate Amarillo. I am sure the sack by Shock DL Devin Parks didn't make things any easier for Reese. Just when the Duster's thought they had an opening and room to run, a Shock player miraculously appeared and stopped them in their tracks.
The battle of the onside kicks began in the last minute of the first half, none of which played out as intended by either team. A total of 10 points was handed to the Shock with the two onside kick attempts by Amarillo. One a 17-yard reception by Olson; the other a 22-yard field goal by Brian Jackson. Amarillo scored a total of seven points as a result of the onside kick attempt by Spokane. The first half ended with the Shock in the lead 44-28.
The second half started with another type of battle. However, this time it was the battle of the interceptions. Shock LB Lee Foliaki intercepted the ball, bringing an end to yet another chance for Amarillo to score. Unfortunately, the Shock were unable to score due to an interception by Amarillo. But that is okay, as Foliaki came up with his second interception, giving the Shock offense another opportunity to score. This time, FB Katon Bethay came up with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Raul “the thrill” Vijil had another breakout kick return, this time for 40-yards. A few plays later, OL Kyle Young ran 3-yards for his second touchdown of the night.
Amarillo didn't learn from the onside kick fiasco in the first half and tried it again twice in the fourth quarter. They also did not go as intended. The first time, Davila made it look easy as he took the field and immediately connected with Vijil for a 12-yard touchdown. The second time, Davila ran it 2-yards for another Shock touchdown.
Shock DB Sergio Gilliam, was also recently named af2's Rookie of the Year, came up with a huge interception late in the fourth quarter, stopping Amarillo in their tracks yet again! Davila and crew milked the clock which set up for the 38-yard touchdown reception by Raul “the thrill” Vijil with just 17 seconds left in the game. Shock win the National Conference Championship 79-49.
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.