No. 1-ranked Spokane, healing up after a run of injuries the last two weeks, returns to the Arena on Saturday night to take on Iowa, which started off 3-0 before dropping its last two games.
Read on below for an unedited game preview that will run in Saturday’s S-R. (That’s head coach Adam Shackleford and assistant coach Rob Keefe pictured above.)
The Spokane Shock return home tonight and the starting lineup will look almost the same as the last time they played at the Arena on April 11.
The receiving unit welcomes back Andy Olson and Charles Dillon. Olson missed two games after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his knee and Dillon missed roughly six quarters with a rib injury. Defensive back Sergio Gilliam is expected to play despite suffering a shoulder injury last Saturday.
Offensive lineman Ryan Belcher (mono) is expected to miss his second straight game when the top-ranked Shock (4-0) entertains No. 11 Iowa (3-2) tonight at 7.
“I think we’ve had so many injuries it’s tough to get complacent because we’ve had so many new guys in,” head coach Adam Shackleford said.
The Barnstormers opened the season with three straight wins and climbed to No. 4 in the rankings, but they’ve dropped their last two games.
“Coach (John) Gregory was on my radio show (earlier this week) and he felt they should have won, which means they’re going to come in with a chip on their shoulder,” Shackleford said.
The loss to
Gregory has been confined to a wheelchair and he coached from behind the dasherboards last week.
“I think I might have been more effective on the field,” Gregory told the Des Moines Register, “but we didn’t lose because of that.”
The Barnstormers lost primarily because they’ve committed 10 of their 15 turnovers in the last two games. In the first three games,
“They’ve been streaky on offense,” Shackleford said. “Sometimes you think they’re unstoppable, other times they make mistakes.”
One matchup to watch: