DES MOINES, Iowa – Spokane ran its Arena Football League winning streak to three and picked up a little revenge along the way.
The Shock defeated Iowa 68-62 at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, avenging a 69-63 home loss to the Barnstormers in the season opener. Spokane improved to 6-4 with its fifth victory in its last six games. Iowa dropped to 4-7.
“We played well in the right moments,” Shock coach Andy Olson said in a postgame radio interview. “We struggled at certain times, but we were able to move the ball in the fourth quarter and score when we needed to.”
Spokane got off to a quick start as its defense stopped Iowa’s first possession on downs. The Shock took a 3-0 lead on Kenny Spencer’s field goal, but the lead went back and forth until Spokane defensive back Paul Stephens intercepted a J.J. Raterink pass.
The Shock capitalized with Kyle Rowley tossing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Adron Tennell, giving Spokane a 31-20 lead at halftime.
Spokane threatened to pull away in the second half, but Jason Simpson picked off a Rowley pass – the Shock’s lone turnover – in the fourth quarter as Iowa closed within 55-48.
Rowley responded by tossing touchdown passes in the final minute to Tennell and Brandon Thompkins, the latter boosting Spokane’s lead to 68-55 with 25.7 seconds left. Iowa scored on the final play of the game.
Stephens had a big game with his first interception of the season and he also scooped up a kickoff that bounced off the goal-post bar and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.
“I saw a 300-pound man in my face and it scared me so I had to get going,” Stephens said. “Everybody stayed on their blocks and ran with me.”
Rowley had six touchdown passes, three each to Tennell and Thompkins. Raterink, who played despite suffering a separated right (throwing) shoulder last week, had seven touchdown passes, six to Jesse Schmidt. The two hooked up five times in Iowa’s win over Spokane in March.
“We weren’t as good as last week (in a 65-47 win over Philadelphia), but in the end we made the plays that mattered,” Olson said.