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Thunder rally under Rowley, but fall short against Shock 69-54

Monday June 22, 2015

 PORTLAND – Thunder QB Kyle Rowley threw for 225 yards and five scores coming off the bench, but the surge was not enough for Portland (3-9, 1-3) to overcome a 21 point first quarter deficit, as they lost to Pacific Division rival, the Spokane Shock (4-8, 1-3), 69 to 54 decision in front of 7,123 fans at the Moda Center Sunday night.

Rowley completed his first eight passes after relieving starter Alex Carder, with the first three of his offerings each going for Thunder touchdowns. Thunder WR Jared Perry also provided 5 scores in the loss, turning in a performance of 12 catches, for 170 yards, and five touchdowns. Perry would also add a touchdown pass to fellow WR Perez Ashford on a late, fourth quarter toss-sweep-shovel play. Despite Perry’s all around solid game, the Thunder’s four turnovers were too much to overcome.

“Digging a hole with the two interceptions and them getting one off the net, doesn’t help you,” stated Head Coach Mike Hohensee when he addressed the media. “I don’t care whether you’re playing a front runner or someone who is 3 and 8 like you are. You can’t give them three opportunities in a row like that and expect to win.”

Spokane opened the scoring with Carson Coffman finding Nick Truesdell, who beat Osagie Odiase with a small push, for a 33 yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing kickoff, Spokane was able to recover a kick that careened off the netting where Shock DB Christian Wise wound up with the ball on the Portland two yard line. The very next play, recently reactivated Shock QB/JLB Arvell Nelson gave the Shock a 14-0 lead on a quarterback keeper.

The Thunder’s offense finally was able to take the field under new starting quarterback Alex Carder, however the drive would stop abruptly as Carder was picked off by Shock DB Sergio Gilliam, setting up the Shock with great field position and another Coffman to Truesdell touchdown.

The Thunder got on the board at the end of the first quarter, when Carder found Jared Perry for Carder’s lone touchdown pass of the game. Rowley would enter the game replacing Carder not long after with the move seemingly rejuvenating the team, despite being down 49 to 28 at the half.

As Portland started to close the gap after another Rowley-to-Perry touchdown pass, cutting the Shock lead to 15, the Thunder pass defense awakened, with Andre’ Martin leading the charge. With 8:38 to go in the 3rd quarter, Martin was able to break up an intended pass for Truesdell on a Spokane 4th-and-7, to give the Thunder the ball on downs, with excellent field position, and a major momentum boost in the comeback effort.
Portland FB John Martinez stretched out for a one yard touchdown a few plays later, bringing the Thunder to within one score at 49-41.

The Shock would score again, when Coffman was able to find Sambrano for a 30 yard touchdown, extending the Spokane lead yet again. The Thunder drove back down the field on the following possession, but failed to convert on four straight red-zone plays, turning the ball over on downs to the Shock, effectively putting the comeback on ice.

The Thunder look to get back in the win column next Sunday afternoon at the Thomas and Mack Center when they face the expansion Las Vegas Outlaws for the first time. Kickoff is set for 2pm.

CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME- PDX Jared Perry 29 yard TD catch in Second Quarter
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME- SPO Mike McMillan end-zone interception in Second Quarter

About the Portland Thunder
The Portland Thunder are back with a BOOM this 2015 AFL Season. Tickets and sponsorships are now available. For more information, email us at or call 503-773-4235. For all the latest news and discussion on the Portland Thunder, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@pdxthunder).