THURSDAY, AUG. 20, 2009, 2:17 P.M.

Shock, Pioneers familiar foes

Back with a notebook that will run in Friday's S-R. The unedited version is below. I fly to Las Vegas in the morning and will post a game advance later in the day.


By Jim Meehan

Neither Spokane nor Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is surprised that they’ll be seeing each other in the ArenaCup.

Spokane edged the Pioneers 56-52 on July 11 in a game that was billed as a potential ArenaCup preview. The teams went on to earn No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences and each won three playoff games to set up Saturday’s matchup at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

“I told them after we squeezed out that victory we’d probably see them again,” Shock quarterback Nick Davila said. “Sure enough … it’s going to be a fun game.”

Shock players said Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Tulsa were their toughest opponents. Spokane defeated Tulsa 51-44 last week. The Talons thumped the Pioneers 66-48 in early June.

“Those two teams are pretty even,” receiver Andy Olson said. “Tulsa is maybe a little stronger on offense and Wilkes-Barre is a little stronger on defense.”

Said Pioneers quarterback Ryan Vena: “Spokane is definitely the best team we played – them and Tulsa. Those two had an amazing game last week.”

Health care

How healthy have the Shock been this season? They’re expected to start the same eight players on offense as they did in the preseason game against Arkansas.

“That’s been key to a lot of our success. We’ve made some changes on the defensive side and I think we’ve made the right moves,” head coach Adam Shackleford said. “We’ve been at this for 26 weeks. Everybody is dinged, nobody’s is out.”

Wide receiver Charles Dillon left the Tulsa game with a leg injury. He said earlier this week he’ll be ready for the game.

“He banged up his shin, but he’s been running around full speed the last few days,” said Shackleford, adding that Dillon and Markee White “form a nice rotation.”

Ingold bounces back

Pioneers coach Rich Ingold experienced a major scare in 2007 when doctors found a cancerous growth on his tonsils. He had surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“I coached the whole season, getting treatments throughout,” he said. “Everything’s going great. I get checkups every six months.”

The fiery Ingold is full of energy during games.

“He’s probably one of the most intense guys I’ve been around in the football world,” Vena said. “That first year I got here (in 2007) he had just started his battle. He would come to practice for a half hour or so and the assistants would run the show. That first year was tough for him.

“Since he’s beaten cancer, he’s obviously more vocal and more of a leader. He’s an amazing coach. I’m proud to play for him.”

Ingold is back to calling offensive plays after taking the last two seasons off.

“We really stunk it up against Tennessee Valley in the (2008) playoffs. We had a good guy that did a nice job, but we lost to those guys after beating them (by 28) a couple weeks prior,” Ingold said. “We lost 34-30, and I knew right then I needed to get back on the field and call the plays.”

The Pioneers and Shock tied for third in scoring offense (60.8 ppg). Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is averaging 77.3 points in the playoffs.


Saturday’s game won’t be televised, but it will be available for free at The webcast can also be accessed through … The Shock had team meetings Thursday morning before flying to Las Vegas. They won’t practice today, but the team practiced twice Wednesday and is expected to work out at the Orleans Arena on Friday. … Saturday will mark just the second time there’s been a rematch of a regular-season game in the ArenaCup. The only other time was in 2000, af2’s inaugural season, when Quad City beat Tennessee Valley 51-37 in Week 13 and 68-59 in the Cup.


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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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