Spokane lost to Milwaukee 74-62 in the Arena Football League debut for both teams Friday night. Read on for my unedited game story.
And click here for John Blanchette's column on opening night.
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There were a number of firsts for the Spokane Shock on Friday night – first Arena Football League game, first contest of the 2010 season, first meeting with Milwaukee and one unwanted first.
For the first time in the franchise’s five-year history,
The Shock nearly dug out of a 55-35 hole early in the fourth quarter. Quorey Payne’s 57-yard kick return for a touchdown pulled
Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley connected with Huey Whittaker for a touchdown and Taylor Rowan’s point-after kick narrowed
The Iron responded with a 45-yard scoring drive that consumed nearly 7 minutes. Chris Greisen fired a 6-yard pass to AFL veteran receiver Damian Harrell on fourth-and-2 at the Shock 13. Tyre Young capped the possession with a 2-yard TD run.
Marcus Everett intercepted Rowley’s pass on
“We moved the ball fairly well, we sputtered at times, but the real thing was we put the ball on the turf and I threw a pick in the fourth quarter,” said Rowley, who was 25 of 39 for 259 yards. “Those are the things that definitely hurt you, when you give the ball to the other team.”
There were five lead changes in the first half, but the Shock was stung by a Raul Vijil fumble on their first possession and a lateral that went awry on the last play of the half.
“We made too many mental mistakes early,” McCullough said. “The way we were fighting back and clawing at the end to have a chance to win says a lot about our team, as poorly as we played. Defensively, we maybe have some soul-searching to do, but I was happy with the way we battled at the end.”
Greisen finished 29 of 35 for 317 yards and nine touchdown passes. Rowley had seven TD passes, four to Whittaker and two to Markee White, but he was intercepted three times.
“We probably only hit (Greisen) five times,” Keefe said. “It’s not that our guys are bad or their line is exceptional. It’s because the quarterback knows how to get rid of the ball. Because of that, our defensive backs have to adjust how quickly they to break (on the ball). It was a big eye-opener for some of our DBs.”