These Wings look familiar
Bossier-Shreveport brings known commodity
They are wearing different jerseys in a different league, but the names are familiar to Spokane Shock players and coaches.
Quarterback Raymond Philyaw, an AFL veteran that Shock head coach Rob Keefe played against three times during his Arena Football League stint with Philadelphia. Receiver PJ Berry, whose 28-yard reception set up a winning field goal on the final play of South Georgia’s 57-55 arenafootball2 upset of unbeaten and top-ranked Spokane in June 2008. Roshawn Marshall was wearing a Shock uniform that night and came up with an interception.
Philyaw, Berry and Marshall are key players for the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings, who put their 2-0 record and No. 4 ranking – or No. 5 depending on what poll you trust – on the line against Spokane (1-1) tonight at 7 at the Arena.
All in all, just another week in the new AFL.
“Everybody’s good,” Keefe said. “I almost want to shake the community to get them out of the af2 mentality and the ‘I hope we win by 50.’ It’s not like that anymore. We’ll have the same conversation next week on Cleveland and then the week after that.”
With AFL Cleveland in 2008, Philyaw had 83 touchdown passes, but his season ended with a loss to Keefe and the Soul in the National Conference championship game.
Berry leads the AFL in all-purpose yards and is tied with Spokane’s Huey Whittaker for most receptions (24). Marshall has made an AFL-leading 20 tackles.
For Keefe and his staff, this game differs from Weeks 1 and 2. Both teams have game tape of the other. That wasn’t the case versus Milwaukee or Utah.
“I told the players now we can be coaches; before we were motivators,” Keefe said. “The players are going to be able to see what they do on film and what we have to do to stop them.”
There’s another big difference. Spokane has a bye next week, which could lead to distractions as many players have been making travel arrangements to return home after the game.
“We talked at the beginning of the week and I told them it was going to be the last time we talk about the bye week,” Keefe said. “A normal bye week bites you in the butt when it’s Week 7, because by then you’re like a robot and you need a break. This is early enough that I don’t think they’re tired of football after less than a month. It just happens to be a week when we’re not playing.”
Spokane hasn’t made a player transaction since March 27. That’s rare in arena football, where teams seemingly adjust their rosters on a daily and/or weekly basis. “We have some players coming off IR (injured reserve) soon so we’ll obviously have to make some changes, but I think we have a good team and I’m not one of those guys that panics,” Keefe said. … Rod Mosley has earned his second straight start at middle defensive back. Eddie Thompson will suit up for the second straight week. Inactives are expected to be Harrison Nikolao, Travis Williams and Quorey Payne. … As of Friday at noon, roughly 300 tickets in the lower section were available and 1,300 overall.