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No. 1 Shock keep rolling

Spokane’s 11th win of the season was another one-sided affair. The Shock led 42-0 at half and coasted to a 69-22 win over Tri-Cities on Saturday.

Read my unedited game story below.

 


By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Spokane didn’t need any help beating Tri-Cities, but the Fever provided some anyway.

The rout was already on after the Shock scored on their first three possessions. Then the Fever couldn’t handle a couple of kickoffs, both leading to Shock touchdowns and top-ranked Spokane breezed to a 69-22 arenafootball2 victory in front of 10,553 Saturday at the Arena.

With the Shock leading 42-0 at half, the only question was whether they could become the fourth team in af2’s 10-year history to post a shutout. Tri-Cities scored on its first possession of the third quarter to avoid the shutout.

Spokane beat Tri-Cities (1-11) for the third time this season (by a combined 118 points) and the seventh consecutive time overall. Spokane’s 11-0 start matches the 2008 team, which lost to South Georgia in the 12th game.

Nick Davila was 15 of 18 for 125 yards and five touchdowns in the first half. Three of those scores went to Markee White, who started in place of the injured Charles Dillon (ankle). White also pounced on a loose ball in the end zone that bounced off the leg of Fever kick returner Emery Beckles.

“My eyes got real big when I saw it come off the wall. I was like, ‘dive at it,’ ’’ White said. “It’s tough sitting back and watching guys like Dillon and Raul (Vijil), but I’m patient. When my number is called, I go out and do what I can do.”

Beckles didn’t have much chance on another kickoff that went wrong for the Fever. Brian Jackson’s kick hit the crossbar and the ball bounded out past Tri-Cities’ 20-yard line where Spokane’s Damon Jenkins recovered.

“That’s an exciting part of arena football when it goes your way,” head coach Adam Shackleford said. “We’ve had those bounce against us a couple times. It was nice to get a couple.”

Tri-Cities managed just four first downs in the first half and failed to score on four possessions. The Fever didn’t cross into Shock territory – remember it’s a 50-yard field – until their third series, but that one ended with a missed field goal attempt.

Quarterback Tomotsuna Inoue was just 9 of 23 for 80 yards. Sacks by Justin Warren and Ben McCombs helped stall Fever drives. Recent addition Colin Drafts took over at quarterback in the second half and led the Fever to three touchdowns in the third quarter.

“We were playing pretty well in the first half,” Warren said. “We’re peaking toward the end of the season. We just have to keep it rolling.”

Spokane knows tougher games are on the horizon with all but one of five remaining opponents at .500 or better. Spokane entertains Oklahoma City (6-6), which lost 93-41 to Corpus Christi, on Friday.

“We know the critics say we haven’t really played anybody yet,” Warren said. “We’ve been running through our division. We’re just trying to keep it up no matter who we play. Boise (10-2) is right behind us. We have to keep it going.”

Backup quarterback Casey Hansen replaced Davila for the second half and tossed four touchdown passes, three to Vijil in the fourth quarter.

“I thought about putting Nick in for a series in the second half, but if Casey ever has to start a half or a game, it was the right time to get him that experience,” Shackleford said.

Vijil, White and Andy Olson each had eight receptions as Spokane finished with 308 total yards. Drafts passed for 134 yards in the second half, but he was intercepted once by Kevin McCullough, his seventh of the season.

 


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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) 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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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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