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Every game vital for Spokane Shock in playoff drive

If head coach Andy Olson’s prediction is correct, Spokane has its hands full if it wants to reach the Arena Football League playoffs.

“I think at 11-7 it’s very unlikely you’d make the playoffs,” Olson said. “It’s just one of those years. I think 12-6 is the number we’re shooting for.”

Spokane, which is 6-5 entering tonight’s home date with Kansas City, would have to go 6-1 to get to 12 wins against a remaining schedule that includes No. 1 Arizona (9-3), No. 3 Philadelphia (9-3), No. 4 San Jose (8-4) and No. 6 Utah (7-5). Spokane’s playoff drive hit a speed bump with last week’s loss to Chicago (7-4), which owns a tiebreaker edge.

“Coming off a loss and the situation we’re in where we need to win every time, we’re not overlooking anybody,” quarterback Kyle Rowley said.

The Shock, who made the playoffs last year with a 9-9 mark, face a Command team that has won two of its last three games. That’s the good news for Kansas City (2-9), which dropped its first eight. All nine of Kansas City’s losses are by double figures.

The Command have struggled to score, ranking last in the AFL at 37.9 points per game. Quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who lost out to Andrico Hines for the starting job in Spokane in 2007 and was traded to Louisville, completed just 58.4 percent of his passes and tossed 11 interceptions before suffering an injury. Brian Jones, out of arena football since 2008, has taken over as the starter.

Kansas City’s defense ranks fourth in points allowed (50.9 per game).

“I do my best to not preach record, to not talk about being 2-8 or 17-0,” Olson said. “It doesn’t matter. We need to treat everybody the same.”


Spokane put offensive lineman Chris Pino (knee) on injured reserve and defensive lineman Louis Holmes was placed on other league exempt. The Shock signed former Washington State defensive lineman Brandon Rankin, honorable mention All-Pac-12 last season, and ex-Idaho Vandal offensive lineman Sam Tupua.