The showdown between No. 1 Spokane and No. 2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is just a day away. Read my unedited preview below for Saturday's 7 p.m. contest.
No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the arenafootball2 rankings. No. 1 in the National Conference vs. No. 1 in the American Conference. Top five in numerous key statistical categories.
The two af2 heavyweights collide tonight at 7 at the Arena in what could prove to be an ArenaCup preview. Top-ranked
“This is going to be a great football game,”
Echoed Pioneers coach Rich Ingold: “Very similar teams. They’ve got a heck of a pass rush and we do, too. Very consistent quarterbacks with low interception rates. Very high plus-minus in turnovers.
“Two very well coached teams, if I don’t mind saying so myself.”
“It kind of brings me back to 2003 (when Ingold was head coach) at
“You could just feel the excitement in the air, and that’s the thing about this game. I was kind of hoping they won (last week against
The Pioneers will be without defensive lineman Justin Parrish and fullback-linebacker Jason Acquaye. They were suspended for at least two games following their arrest early Thursday morning for their roles in a bar brawl. Parrish and teammate Royce Morgan each have 11 sacks, second only to the Shock’s Ben McCombs (13).
Adam Lipski, cut in training camp, is expected to start at linebacker. Ingold has four available defensive linemen.
“We do have good depth,” Ingold said, “but Justin is probably one of the top five defensive players in the league.”
The Pioneers’ defense features Morgan (four forced fumbles), Micheaux Robinson (af2-leading 12 interceptions) and Larry Kendrick (five interceptions, three fumble recoveries).
Veteran quarterback Ryan Vena’s stats are nearly identical to
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Irvin Campbell (89 catches, 1,140 yards, 15 touchdowns) and J.J. Outlaw (81-1,013, 31) pace what Shackleford said “could be the best collection of receivers we’ve seen.”