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Thursday, May 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shock go for 11th straight vs. Stockton

Spokane opens the af2 playoffs against Stockton on Saturday night. The Shock are 10-0 all-time vs. Stockton, including 3-0 this season with two relatively easy wins and an 88-27 blowout.

Read my unedited game preview below.

Meanwhile, here's an update on Boise losing quarterback Taylor Tharp, who was hurt against Spokane last week, for the remainder of the season. Spokane and Boise would collide next Saturday if both teams win Saturday.

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Spokane has never lost to Stockton and the Shock dominated the Lightning three times this season.

In the last meeting in mid June, Spokane set franchise records with 88 points and a 61-point margin of victory. The Shock intercepted Lightning quarterback Chad Cavender six times.

Spokane leads the all-time series 10-0, but the Shock insist they’re focused only on tonight’s matchup in the Arena in the first round of the arenafootball2 playoffs.

“You have to prepare for everybody,” offensive lineman Ryan Belcher said. “We’re not going to overlook this team. We’ve seen them numerous times already. We’re going to go out and do what we do.”

Top-ranked and top-seeded Spokane (15-1) has controlled the line of scrimmage against eighth-seeded Stockton (6-10). The Shock have a 10-1 edge in sacks while winning by a combined 99 points in the three games. Spokane is plus-10 (12-2) in turnover margin.

“That’s probably the key to the game – protecting Cavender – for them,” Shock coach Adam Shackleford said.

Spokane’s Raul Vijil has collected 16 touchdowns and Nick Davila has 21 passing TDs versus Stockton.

The Lightning have played better of late, winning two of their last three. Cavender, who stepped in when Andy Collins suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Shock in April, has a talented cast of receivers in Troy McBroom, Brandon Horace, Tonae Martin and Etu Molden. McBroom has 24 touchdowns and 1,463 receiving yards.

Rookie Mervin Brookins Jr. has given Stockton’s defense a huge boost. He had five interceptions, equaling an af2 single-game record, and returned two for touchdowns against Central Valley. He leads the team with seven interceptions, despite playing in just the last six games. Linebacker Jason Hunt has been solid with six sacks, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

“They’re a team that can beat anybody, but they’ve gone out and lost to Tri-Cities two times. You don’t know which team will show up,” Shackleford said. “They’re going to think nobody is giving them a chance and they’re going to try to play the spoiler.”

Stockton entered af2 in 2006, the same season as Spokane. The Lightning are making their first playoff appearance.

“They’re going to come in hungry,” defensive back Stanley Franks said. “We love playing in front of our crowd, but opposing teams do, too. We have to be ready to go.”

Notes

Aaron Williams, who missed the second half of the season while recovering from knee surgery, has been activated. He’ll be the fourth defensive back behind starters Franks, Sergio Gilliam and Virgil Gray. … Markee White will be the No. 4 receiver behind starters Vijil, Andy Olson and Charles Dillon. … Defensive end Jeff Van Orsow, who is trying to come back from a torn tendon in his finger, remains on injured reserve. … Newcomers Rob Green, Casey Bulyca and Montrell Jones won’t play tonight. … Plenty of tickets remain, including many in the 100 (lower) level.

 




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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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