Spokane made it a little tougher than it needed to be -- after a trick play went south with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter -- but the Shock defense came up with the last of their four stops, preserving a 57-49 playoff win over Arizona on Friday.
Read on for my unedited game story.
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The Spokane Shock appeared to be in control midway through the fourth quarter, but that just wouldn’t be their style against the Arizona Rattlers.
The teams played two hotly contested Arena Football League regular-season games and their first-round playoff contest Friday turned into a nailbiter after a Shock trick play backfired with just over 4 minutes remaining.
But the Shock defense came up big, forcing four straight incomplete passes by Nick Davila as
No. 7 Arizona finishes 10-7.
After a sluggish start, quarterback Kyle Rowley tossed seven touchdown passes and the defense came up with four stops to help
This one wasn’t a blowout, but it probably shouldn’t have had as much drama as the first two meetings, won by
“I’m very content that we won the game. I will not be happy until we win the championship,” Shock coach Rob Keefe said. “I thought we had some mental lapses on defense and some poor execution on offense. With that said, I really am proud we won. This is a very good team,
Spokane led 57-42 midway the fourth quarter, but Arizona pulled within 57-49 on Rod Windsor’s touchdown catch, his fourth of the second half and fifth overall.
“I had a feeling they were going to go to him, he’s their go-to receiver,” Mulder said. “Like coach Keefe always says, big players make big plays at key times. Fortunately that’s what I was able to do.”
Said Keefe: “That was four very unique coverages that we saved until the last minute. We wanted to confuse Nick tonight and I think we did.”
Both teams were out of sorts offensively, but managed to overcome fourth-down situations to score on their opening possessions. Then they traded defensive stops before the offenses slowly warmed up.
After a couple of onside kicks and quick touchdowns,
“I’m very proud of our defensive line, it starts with them getting pressure, getting sacks and making (Davila) uncomfortable,” Williams said. “In the indoor game, it can be a little hectic out there if you don’t have a good line.”
Orton finished with 11 catches for 54 yards and White added 10 receptions for 66 yards. Orton, White and Huey Whittaker each had two touchdown receptions.
Davila was 25 of 43 for 315 yards and six touchdowns.