It's been an interesting week of build-up to Saturday's Spokane-Boise playoff game. Both sides traded barbs in newspapers, but the game finally takes center stage.
Read my unedited advance below.
Two weeks ago,
They collide again tonight at the Arena with a berth in the National Conference championship on the line. The top-ranked and top-seeded Shock (16-1) need a win to continue pursuit of their third ArenaCup appearance in four years. Fourth-seeded
“We knew it could come down to this,” Shock receiver Raul Vijil said. “We beat them in a couple of close games and they’re going to want to beat us pretty bad. It’s become a little bit physical, a little yelling back and forth.”
Facing fourth-and-goal at the Shock 3,
“This is two teams that fought for the (West) division title all year,” Shock coach Adam Shackleford said. “They’re well coached and they do things well in all three phases. They obviously made the right decision in hiring coach (Brent) Winter. He’s taken them to another level. To secure a spot at the next level, they need to beat us.”
Both teams will have the benefit of a standout player that missed the game two weeks ago. Vijil attended a wedding while
Vijil had 1,415 yards receiving and 36 touchdown catches in the regular season and was named first-team All-af2 for the second straight year. Sanders, who made af2’s All-Ironman team, had seven interceptions and scored 10 touchdowns on returns (seven via kickoffs, one on a missed field goal, one on a fumble and one on an interception).
“Sanders is their middle defensive back and he definitely makes them a better team,” Shackleford said. “And we’re a better team when Raul is on the field.”
The Burn forced eight turnovers and dismantled
“(Thorson) likes to get the ball out really quick,” McCullough said. “The starter would hang on to it and let plays happen. We’ll have to make some adjustments. Really, we just want to get pressure on him.”
“Jomo is the best we’ve seen all year, but Terrance has more touchdowns,” Shackleford said. “Our goal is to tackle Jomo and Terrance. If we do that, then all the pressure is on Thorson to lead his team down the field.”