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Defense keys Shock win

Back-to-back turnovers provide major boost

Arena football is typically offense, offense and more offense.

Spokane’s showdown with Bossier-Shreveport on Saturday followed that path until a brief detour early in the fourth quarter. The defense forced two key turnovers and suddenly the Shock owned a semi-comfortable lead in what had been a back-and-forth contest.

Spokane went on to hold off the BattleWings for a 78-70 Arena Football League victory viewed by 10,378 at the Arena. After dropping its season opener to Milwaukee, Spokane is now 2-1 and leads the three-team West Division. Arizona is 1-1 and Utah is 0-2.

Fourth-ranked Bossier-Shreveport dropped to 2-1.

The Shock led 51-47 when Bossier-Shreveport quarterback Raymond Philyaw, who had 10 touchdown passes, made a rare mistake. He fumbled and Spokane’s Kevin McCullough recovered at the BattleWings’ 13-yard line. It was the Shock’s first defensive stop since midway through the first quarter.

Kyle Rowley tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Markee White and Spokane had a two-possession lead, 58-47.

On Bossier-Shreveport’s ensuing series, Philyaw was pressured out of the pocket and linebacker Aaron Robbins interrupted his throwing motion. The ball floated to defensive back Rod Mosley, who returned the interception 14 yards for a touchdown and a 65-47 lead.

Philyaw responded with three touchdown passes in the final 7 minutes, but the BattleWings’ last chance was extinguished when White fielded an onside kick with 30 seconds left.

Rowley had eight touchdown passes and ran for another score. White and Huey Whittaker both had three TD catches and Raul Vijil had two.

Spokane led 37-32 after an entertaining first half. Both teams scored on 5 of 6 possessions, but there were two differences. One, Shock defensive end Ben McCombs sacked Philyaw in the end zone for a safety. Two, Spokane’s Taylor Rowan was 5 of 5 on PATs while Bossier-Shreveport’s Art Carmody missed two kicks and a botched hold foiled another attempt.

The Shock have a bye next week before entertaining Cleveland (1-2) on May 1.