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An unlikely hero for the Shock

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Imagine Russell Wilson going down with an injury in St. Louis. And imagine Tarvaris Jackson also being out, injured during the week. So the Hawks turn to Percy Harvin to play quarterback. Think they would win? Read on.

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• Well, maybe. The Hawks defense is that good. But it was intended as a rhetorical question leading into a discussion of what happened to the Spokane Shock last night in Los Angeles. See, there is no way a professional sports team should have to turn to a position player to fill what is, arguably, the most important spot on its team. It's analogous to a major league team using a centerfielder on the mound in the ninth inning of a game it leads by a couple runs. No one would ever do it. But it happened last night and points out, again, Arena football is something less than major league. A real major football league would have a roster exemption – and the financial wherewithal – for a third quarterback who doesn't usually suit up. A guy who can be called upon if the backup quarterback is hurt prior to a game – or even in both the starter and backup goes down during the game. That's what the NFL does. No one activates three QBs during a game. The third guy is on the roster, practices and stands ready on Sunday to play only if the top two guys are hurt. I guess that would be the position Rashaad Carter was in Sunday, as the receiver from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee (ya, me neither) stepped in and led Spokane to a 70-21 victory. OK, led might be too expansive a word, but Carter, a high school quarterback, did his job. Eric Meyer (pictured) had led – right usage here – the Shock to a 28-0 lead by throwing two touchdown passes and running for two more before he exited, victim of what looks to be a broken collarbone. So on came Carter, who has caught 17 passes for Spokane this season and has also chipped in with five tackles. A jack-of-all-trades? Well, an emergency quarterback, that's for sure. Carter actually used his arm early on, throwing for two touchdowns before halftime. Then he used his legs, running for four more in the second half. He only threw seven times the entire game (a good drive by usual AFL standards), but connected on four of them. And the Shock defense did its best Seahawk imitation, turning the Kiss over five times and setting a team record for fewest points allowed while its been in the AFL. Get this. Carter's stats were better than J.J. Raternik (9 of 30 with two touchdowns and three interceptions) and Tyler Hansen (3 of 7), the Kiss' two "true" quarterbacks. So maybe the Shock are on to something. Maybe they don't need to sign anyone this week. OK, that's a bit much. Even if Carter were to be their guy (he probably isn't), a backup would be necessary. Unless they have a defensive lineman who played quarterback in middle school. He just might do.

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• WSU: What was golden about the Cougars' spring practices? ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog says it was the emergence of Luke Falk in the backup quarterback competition. ... USC didn't let the Cougars sweep the weekend baseball series, winning Sunday 7-1. ... Some breaking Pac-12 news this morning. Oregon State has fired basketball coach Craig Robinson. It seems an odd time to let a coach go, after the spring open period.

• Chiefs: Two games into in the WHL championship series and host Portland is perfect after winning Sunday 3-1. Now it's on to Edmonton for game three.

• Shock: Though Jim Meehan avoided the trip to Anaheim, he still has a blog post on the Shock's win over the Kiss as well as doing the write-up for the paper.

• Seahawks: So who should the Hawks draft this week? Remember, they have to wait until the final pick of the first round – that's a good thing folks; that means they won the Super Bowl – before getting a say. So the pickings may be slim, excitement-wise, by that time. But there could be some excellent players still available. ... When it comes to drafting players, the Hawks look for one thing. ... What position needs the most help? Most people think it's the offensive line. Which means Seattle will probably focus on the defensive front. That's seems to be the way it works. ... There is a versatile tight end from just up the road available, but he comes with some baggage. ... How does the salary cap affect roster decisions?

• Mariners: The M's scored a bunch of runs against the Astros again Sunday. And again the taxed bullpen had to hold off a late rally, after Brandon Maurer (pictured) had pitched OK. To its credit, it did and the M's came away with an 8-7 victory and a win in the series. ... After the game the M's sent Abraham Almonte to Tacoma. They are expected to recall James Jones. ... Don't expect Fernando Rodney to have many two-inning saves this season. ... Robinson Cano has been solid so far. But more than solid is expected from a guy making nearly as much money as Warren Buffett.

• Sounders: The first-place Seattle Sounders. Sounds right. Especially when a guy like Chad Marshall gets involved in the scoring parade.

• Bloomsday: It’s an annual occurrence around here. (And by "here," I mean this column.) On the first Saturday in May, we report on the Kentucky Derby. The next day Spokane holds Bloomsday. The only similarity is both include some running. And big floppy hats. The crowds are similar, though the 44,000 or so who show up here participate in an athletic event. The 160,000 in attendance Saturday in Louisville might not have been able to see the event, let alone participate in it, thanks to all the mint juleps and what-not. Anyhow, we had coverage of Bloomsday's elite races in the sports section, courtesy of Tom Clouse and Chris Derrick. Tom had the men's race, Chris covered the women's and they combined on the wheelchair coverage.

•••

• Is it Monday again? OK, we're ready. We will have you covered all week. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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