They’re both 2-0, stocked with returning players and trying to build on early season momentum. One will earn its best win of the young Arena Football League season.
The Spokane Shock conclude a three-game road trip against the Iowa Barnstormers tonight at 5 at Wells Fargo Arena. The Shock’s wins are over Cleveland and Chicago, teams with a combined 0-4 record. Iowa has a pair of road wins over Chicago and New Orleans.
“They have a lot of guys back, like us, so their continuity is good right now,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “They communicate well, they’re a physical team and very consistent.”
Quarterback J.J. Raterink, a seven-year arena veteran who was in Spokane’s training camp in its inaugural season of 2006, tossed 93 touchdowns and only nine interceptions as Iowa finished 7-11 last season. He’s backed up by ex-Idaho Vandal Brian Reader.
“If you give J.J. time, he’ll tear you apart,” Olson said.
The same could be said of the Shock’s Erik Meyer, who leads the AFL in several statistical categories. Tonight’s game figures to have additional meaning for Meyer, whose 2012 season came to end in the first game when he was knocked out by Iowa linebacker John Mohring, who was flagged for a late hit, ejected and later suspended.
“He knows who it was but it’s not something that we’ve talked about,” Olson said. “Everyone remembers that. It happened and it’s over with and we’ve moved on. We’ll play our game and not worry about what they do.”
Mohring is Iowa’s third-leading tackler. Raterink has 11 touchdown passes.