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Unbeaten Shock face Stockton

The Spokane Shock (9-0) tangle with Stockton for the third time this season. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday in Stockton. Spokane won the first two meetings and are 9-0 all-time against the Lightning.

Read on for an unedited game advance.

UPDATE (9:01 p.m.): Stockton quarterback Andy Collins, who hurt his knee in the April 25th game against Spokane, was not activated off injured-reserve and won’t play Friday night.

 


By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Spokane hasn’t seen Stockton in roughly seven weeks, but two Shock players probably left a lasting impression on the Lightning.

The Shock’s first and fourth wins this season came against Stockton. Shock quarterback Nick Davila had 13 touchdown passes – 11 to Raul Vijil – in the two victories. Spokane beat Stockton 59-42 in the season-opener and 70-51 in late April.

The arenafootball2 teams collide tonight at Stockton Arena with the No. 1-ranked Shock (9-0) coming off a bye week and the Lightning (4-6) winners of three of their last four. Technically, this will be the second time Spokane has faced Stockton after a bye because the Shock was idle on Week 1.

Spokane is 6-2 after bye weeks, the two losses coming at home to Bakersfield in 2006 and 2007.

“It was a great time to have a week off,” defensive back Sergio Gilliam said. “Now we have to come back and do what we always do – take it a day at a time and a game at a time and come away with a win.”

Head coach Adam Shackleford is pleased with the team’s 9-0 start, but not wholly satisfied.

“Before the Central Valley game (on May 23) I was concerned, but we got down 9-0 and there was no panic and there was another spot in the Florida game where we could have given up and chalked it up to a long road trip,” Shackleford said. “We’re hoping teams will come out and punch us in the mouth. With our remaining schedule we know they’re going to do that.

Stockton isn’t going to lay down for us. They’re a playoff team at this point if they continue to win.”

Shackleford pointed toward ball security as an area in need of improvement.

“We’re plus-16 in turnovers, leading the league, but we have eight fumbles in nine games. We put the ball on the ground twice against Tri-Cities and lost both,” he said. “That absolutely cannot happen. Our quarterback is taking care of the ball.

“Our defense is leading the league in points allowed (37.9) and fourth-down conversions (4 of 24). Those things mean we’re getting the ball back, we’re covering people and getting great pass rush.”

Spokane’s pass rush triggered a turnaround in the last meeting with Stockton. Quarterback Andy Collins injured his knee on a tackle by Justin Warren in the first quarter and he’s been on injured-reserve. Spokane scored 35 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 70-51 win.

Backup Chad Cavender has played well, particularly the last couple games, but there is a chance Collins could be activated for tonight’s game.

Stockton added former Central Valley receiver Tonae Martin (81 catches, 29 touchdowns in 2008) to its roster this week.

Spokane will be without starting linebacker Lee Foliaki, who is in Texas dealing with a family emergency. Warren will move from defensive end to linebacker to replace Foliaki, his former Texas A&M teammate. Jeff Van Orsow slides down the line to fill Warren’s spot and Frank Morton will handle nose guard.

 


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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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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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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