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Shock throttle Yard Dawgz in second half

Spokane players and coaches have said for weeks they wanted a good test on the field. They got one Friday.

For a half.

Spokane broke away from a halftime tie with a dominating second half, outscoring the Yard Dawgz 33-0 to claim a 61-28 victory at the Arena. Head coach Adam Shackleford wasn't around for long after the game. He raced to the hospital to be with his wife, Migdalia, who went into labor during the game. 

Read on for my unedited game story.

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Spokane Shock head coach Adam Shackleford kept his post-game comments to his team brief.

“He said, ‘Good game, see you Monday, I’m about to have a baby,’ ” defensive lineman Frank Morton Jr. said.

With that, Shackleford made the short trip to the hospital to be with his wife, Migdalia, who attended Spokane’s impressive 61-28 arenafootball2 win over Oklahoma City on Friday and left at halftime when she went into labor.

Shortly after Shackleford’s wife left the Arena, Shackleford’s team took control against the Yard Dawgz, who battled to a 28-28 tie at half in front of an announced crowd of 10,026.

“In the third quarter, he said, ‘Hurry this game up, I’m going to be a dad again,’ ” defensive coordinator Alex Sirianni said.

The top-ranked Shock (12-0) pitched a second-half shutout against the 11th-ranked Yard Dawgz (7-6), who became the first time since Central Valley more than a month ago to hold a lead against Spokane.

Both teams scored on their four first-half possessions. Spokane pulled even at 28 on Markee White’s 16-yard touchdown reception with 7.9 seconds remaining.

Spokane took its first lead, 35-28, on quarterback Nick Davila’s 1-yard run early in the third quarter.

The Shock defense, which yielded four rushing touchdowns in the first half to af2’s top running team, put relentless pressure on Yard Dawgz quarterback Robert Kent in the second half. Morton Jr. hit Kent just as he released a pass and linebacker Kevin McCullough made a diving interception at the Oklahoma City 19-yard line. Spokane capitalized with a touchdown.

 The defense delivered another turnover, forcing Kent out of the pocket where he tried to float a pass to Craig Fulton Jr. Shock defensive back Sergio Gilliam picked off the pass and raced 22 yards for a touchdown.

“Coach (Shackleford) asked us to get two stops and we’d win the game,” McCullough said. “All season long our defensive line has been tearing up other teams’ offensive lines. I have to give them credit for a lot of my interceptions.”

Spokane then stopped the Yard Dawgz on downs and a Davila-to-Raul Vijil connection boosted the Shock lead to 54-28.

“This game is about up front,” Oklahoma City coach Sparky McEwen said. “They put an extreme amount of pressure on my quarterback. It’s tough to make the best decisions when you have people in your face.”

Oklahoma City managed only 65 total yards in the second half and Kent was intercepted three times.

“Shock football in the second half,” said Gilliam, who had two interceptions. “That’s all it takes.”

The 6-foot-7 White, filling in for injured receiver Charles Dillon, had two touchdown catches and also out-jumped a defender on a successful 2-point conversion pass in the second quarter. Vijil had two touchdown receptions and Harrison Nikolao chipped in a six-yard scoring run.

Davila finished 20 of 25 for 172 yards. Spokane’s offensive line didn’t allow a sack for the third consecutive game.

Spokane visits Iowa next Saturday.

 




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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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