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Shock Thrash KISS, Meyer Hurt in Win

Jeffrey Giuliani
Monday May 5, 2014

It’s about as terrible as one could possibly feel following a 70-21 drubbing. Yes, the Spokane Shock crushed the Los Angeles KISS and their vaunted theatrics, but they head back to Spokane with more questions than answers. Erik Meyer, the reigning AFL MVP, left the game after being driven into the turf by his former teammate, Beau Bell. It’s an unspecified shoulder injury for the time being, but speculation suggests that Meyer has a broken collarbone.

Spokane found itself in a predicament following the injury. Jarrett Brown, who usually dresses at Meyer’s backup, was hurt in practice a few days prior to the game. That left head coach Andy Olson without many options. He turned to WR Rashaad Carter, who played QB in high school before switching to WR at Tusculum College.
It was a shaky start for Carter.  Taking his snaps from the shotgun, he missed on his first pass, leading to a field goal attempt. That attempt was missed and returned 58 yards by AJ Cruz for a touchdown. Spokane had completely dominated the KISS up to that point, holding a 28-7 lead before Meyer’s injury. But with a wide receiver playing quarterback and the deficit cut to 14, the game seemed very much in question.
Carter would put those questions to rest, delivering a spectacular relief performance. On the following drive, he fired a 45-yard strike to Brandon Thompkins, showcasing his arm talent with a throw that was on a rope. He would follow up with another TD pass to Adron Tennell before the first half ended. Carter had more TD passes in the first half than KISS starter JJ Raterink and helped the Shock get a 42-14 halftime lead.
In the second half, Olson dug deep into the playbook to simplify the game for Carter. He mixed in simple passes with a number of QB keepers, taking advantage of Carter’s athleticism. Carter tallied four rushing touchdowns and 46 yards on 12 attempts in addition to his 73 yards and two touchdowns passing. Carter filled in admirably for the injured Meyer and helped maintain the Shock’s dominance throughout.
Spokane’s defense stepped up and had a huge game to keep the pressure off Carter and the rest of the Shock offense. The KISS offense, though often stagnant, still has a number of explosive playmakers. Donovan Morgan and Markee White are maybe the AFL’s best WR tandem. But they were held completely in check for the entire evening. Raterink completed only 9-of-30 passes, for a meager 101 yards and two touchdowns. Worse yet, he threw three interceptions.
But it wasn’t all on Raterink. Samie Parker dropped a wide open touchdown before that could have stopped Spokane’s momentum headed into halftime. Raterink was under siege all game by the Shock pass rush, which leads the AFL in sacks. They added another three tonight, with 1.5 by both James Ruffin and Jeremy Geathers. 
The Shock season is currently hanging in the balance. They sit comfortably at 5-2 and have played well in recent weeks. However, future success will hinge on the health of Erik Meyer. Carter played well in an emergency role, but whether or not that style of offense can be sustainable is up for debate. The plan at quarterback will become clearer in the following days as more information is revealed about the severity of Meyer’s injury. Still, the season continues to roll on. Spokane hosts the Pittsburgh Power on May 9th, with kickoff set for 7:00 PST.

Jeffrey Giuliani is a sports journalist from Renton, Washington. He is a senior at Western Washington Univeristy where he is studying journalism. Giuliani is currently the sports editor for his college paper, The Western Front and hopes to move on to a daily after obtaining his degree. This will be his third season covering the Spokane Shock for ArenaFan.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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