Posts tagged: San Jose
Final game story below from Spokane's 75-45 win over San Jose on Saturday.
By Jim Meehan
firstname.lastname@example.org; (208) 765-7131
It doesn’t seem to matter who San Jose has at quarterback when it faces the Spokane Shock.
The last three meetings between the West Division rivals have produced one-sided outcomes in Spokane’s favor.
The third-ranked Shock dominated from start to finish, forcing three turnovers and scoring on every possession before running out the closing seconds of a 75-45 victory over No. 2 San Jose in front of an announced crowd of 9,138 Saturday at the Arena.
Spokane (8-3), winners of three straight, defeated the SaberCats (7-3) for the third consecutive time by an average margin of 26.3 points. Those three wins have come against certain Hall of Fame quarterbacks Mark Grieb (90-63 last season) and Aaron Garcia (69-47 six weeks ago), and Russ Michna, who was signed after Garcia tossed five interceptions against Spokane in April.
Michna didn’t make it through the first half, leaving with a possible concussion. He exited after going 12 of 21 with no touchdowns and Spokane in front 41-16.
Spokane did just about everything right in the first half. The Shock scored on its five possessions, twice on Brandon Thompkins touchdown catches, twice on Adron Tennell runs and once on quarterback Erik Meyer’s 1-yard run on fourth down.
Spokane scored 41 points in the first half against a SaberCats’ defense that hadn’t allowed more than 38 in their last five games.
The Shock defense made a stop on San Jose’s second series when Terrance Sanders broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Jason Willis.
Sanders helped break the game open when he wrestled the ball away from Willis and raced 42 yards for a touchdown. Jeffrey Solomon, pressed into defensive back duty when Patrick Stoudamire was shaken up, picked off a pass from backup quarterback Mitch Mustain late in the first half.
San Jose’s first series of the third quarter ended with a Mustain incomplete pass on fourth down. The Shock capitalized on Meyer’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Solomon, boosting Spokane’s lead to 48-16.
Meyer finished with four touchdown passes and backup quarterback Arvell Nelson tossed two TDs. Thompkins had five catches for 86 yards and four touchdowns.
Spokane's 69-47 rout of San Jose six weeks ago changed the course of the SaberCats' season. San Jose traded future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Garcia to Orlando and signed former Chicago QB Russ Michna.
The SaberCats haven't lost since, winning five in a row. Spokane immediately dropped three straight but has rebounded with a pair of victories. .
The third-ranked Shock are 7-3, No. 2 San Jose is 7-2 and No. 1 Arizona is 9-1. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Paul Stephens set an AFL single-game record with five interceptions — an apparent sixth was overturned by the officals after San Jose tossed a challenge flag — as visiting Spokane cruised past San Jose 69-47 Friday night at HP Pavilion.
Erik Meyer had eight touchdown passes, three each to Adron Tennell and Kamar Jorden as Spokane improved to 5-0.
Game recap below.
Spokane, facing its fourth road game in five weeks, will try to maintain its hold on the West Division lead tonight against San Jose at HP Pavilion.
The Shock (4-0) beat Arizona (3-1) last Friday to take over the top spot alone. San Jose is 2-1 after last week's bye. My game preview here.
Spokane was blown out by visiting San Jose 69-35 on Friday and the worst loss in franchise history is expected to prompt changes. Team and AFL sources said following the game that Spokane is in the process of bringing back former Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley. The move could become official by as early as Monday.
The Shock scored just one touchdown in the second half. Quarterback Adam Froman had a rough night with two interceptions, one fumble and just one touchdown pass. He did run for two scores. San Jose piled up 369 yards as veteran quarterback Mark Grieb fired seven TD passes.
The last time the Shock and SaberCats hooked up, Kyle Rowley threw a last-play Hail Mary touchdown pass to Randy Hymes — it was such a crazy scene that Rowley thought Adron Tennell caught the ball — to give Spokane a victory and a berth in the 2011 playoffs. Considering San Jose has played a couple of a one-point games thus far in 2012 and Spokane has lost in overtime and won by three points, it figures to be another close game in an AFL season that's been filled with them so far.
That was one of the themes in my preview in today's S-R. Some of that information is in need of updating because the AFL's whacky schedule — in the first month there have been games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday — called for three Thursday night games. So there are still three winless teams (Orlando, Kansas City and New Orleans) and still two unbeatens (Chicago and Philadelphia), but the number of 1-1 teams dropped from 10 to 6 after last night's results. West Division rival Arizona improved to 2-1 with an easy road win over Kansas City.
There's a preview in the San Jose newspaper that points out DL Jermaine Smith and ex-Shock DB Mervin Brookins will miss the game with injuries.
In-game updates from tonight's 5 p.m. contest at twitter.com/SRjimm.
Welcome to Spokane, Randy Hymes.
The wide receiver, who signed with Spokane last week and was playing in his first game, made an incredible catch on Kyle Rowley's 34-yard Hail Mary pass on the game's final play, handing Spokane a 63-61 win over San Jose.
With the game and possibly Spokane's playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Hymes grabbed the ball in the back of the end zone for the last of his four TD catches. That came after teammate Adron Tennell appeared to have a shot at the ball first.
You can read more on the crazy finish, with comments from Hymes, Tennell, Rowley and head coach Rob Keefe in my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R.
Another key game tonight for the Shock, who entertain San Jose in just about an hour. Spokane just finished some pre-game warmups with QBs throwing to receivers (Emery Sammons, Adron Tennell, Brandon Thompkins and Randy Hymes, who is making his Shock debut). LB Antwan Marsh (hip pointer) is suited up so it looks like he'll go.
No sign of the linemen yet. San Jose just took the field. In a score of interest to the Shock (and to Utah and to San Jose), Tulsa is tied with Orlando at 21 midway through the second quarter. A Tulsa loss coupled with a Shock win clinches a playoff berth for Spokane.
For in-game updates head to Twitter.com/srjimm.
Check back here about 90 minutes after the final buzzer for my game story.
The Shock return to the Arena for a showdown against San Jose on Saturday. The SaberCats ripped Spokane 76-48 in the season opener.
Spokane has won four of five games to move one game in front of San Jose, Utah and Tulsa in the race for the last National Conference playoff berth. Find my Shock-SaberCats game preview here.
Elsewhere, Cleveland defeated Pittsburgh, coached by ex-Shock head coach Chris Siegfried, on Friday night to clinch a division title and playoff berth in the American Conference.
Spokane's 2011 season got off to a rough start.
San Jose crushed the Shock 76-48 in the AFL opener for both teams Friday at HP Pavilion in San Jose. My recap can be found below. Game stats at http://www.arenafootball.com/stats (click on Spokane-San Jose in the scoreboard).