OKLAHOMA CITY - Another back-and-forth contest on the road. Another wild fourth quarter, particularly in the closing minutes. And another Shock win.
Spokane hiked its road record to 3-0 with a 68-63 Arena Football League victory over Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center on Sunday afternoon. The sixth-ranked Shock improved to 4-2 while the Yard Dawgz dropped to 2-4.
Spokane, which needed a last-second defensive stand to hold off Arizona 63-56 last week in Phoenix, had several chances to put the Yard Dawgz away after going in front 59-56 on an 8-yard screen pass to Brandon Hall with 4:12 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball took a high bounce after hitting the net and was recovered by Spokane’s Alex Teems, but the Shock offense failed to convert after starting at the Oklahoma City 2-yard line.
However, Yard Dawgz quarterback Tommy Grady fumbled a snap and Shock defensive end Ben McCombs recovered for a touchdown, bumping Spokane’s lead to 65-56 with 1:13 left.
The game appeared to be over when Teems intercepted a Grady pass, but Spokane was only able to add a field goal. Oklahoma City closed within 68-63 on a Grady touchdown pass with 22.6 seconds left, but the ensuing onside kick didn’t travel the required 10 yards. The Shock again failed to score, this time after starting at Oklahoma City’s 7. Kyle Rowley’s pass was intercepted in the end zone with 8.8 seconds left.
On the last play, Grady launched a long pass from Oklahoma City’s 3 that fell incomplete in the end zone. It was the third straight Shock game that wasn’t decided until the final play.
“We feel like we have to finish off teams better than that,” Rowley said in a post-game interview on the Shock radio broadcast. “The defense played huge and we came out with a win.”
Rowley had seven touchdown passes and one interception. Huey Whittaker, Markee White and Shaun Kauleinamoku, playing in his first game with the Shock, each had two touchdown receptions.
Spokane hadn’t attempted a field goal in its first five games, but Taylor Rowan connected on two field goals, the first giving the Shock a 31-28 lead at halftime. Rowley was intercepted twice in the first half, but Oklahoma City, the most penalized team in the AFL, was flagged for illegal defense on both plays.
The lead changed hands as both teams scored on their first four second-half possessions. Oklahoma City took its last lead, 56-52, on Al Hunt’s 1-yard run with 7:16 left.
“We’re pretty tired of making it interesting,” Shock linebacker Kevin McCullough said. “We want to have a game where it’s pretty solidified before the end of the game.”
Spokane returns home to face Utah on Saturday.