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Shock won’t take Sabercats for granted

Spokane Shock. (Shock photo)
Spokane Shock. (Shock photo)

The theory of results versus common opponents suggests Spokane is a prohibitive favorite against San Jose tonight. The top-ranked Shock beat Arizona by 17 points, Arizona thumped San Jose by 26 so Spokane should …

Just stop right there, warns head coach Andy Olson. “It’s hard to keep everybody from, ‘Well, we should beat them by 40.’ That’s not how it works in this arena game. If you’ve been around, you know anyone can beat anyone.

“San Jose is a very good team; they didn’t show it against Arizona. They had a bye week to fix some things. They’ll be ready to go.”

West Division-leading Spokane (4-0) visits the fifth-ranked SaberCats (2-1) at HP Pavilion, the Shock’s fourth road game of the season.

“We knew the Arizona game (last Friday) was a big game and beating them is a big win, but we have to get that out of our heads,” receiver Kamar Jorden said. “As long as we stay focused we’ll be fine.”

San Jose is guided by 42-year-old quarterback Aaron Garcia, who led Jacksonville to the 2011 AFL title. Garcia, who was replaced at Washington State by freshman Drew Bledsoe in 1990 and finished his career at Sacramento State, is off to a rough start with eight interceptions.

Still, the certain AFL Hall of Famer has nearly 56,000 career passing yards to go with 1,214 touchdown passes.

“I can’t imagine, not taking the hits he’s taken,” said the 30-year-old Olson when asked if he could imagine playing at 42. “But he loves the game and he’s been so successful at it.”

Defensive back Clevan Thomas, who turned 34 two weeks ago and was part of the 2012 AFL Hall of Fame class, has returned after a four-year layoff. He has four interceptions, three against ex-Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley in a 65-62 win over Orlando.

“They press (coverage) a lot and force you to make perfect throws and he’s taken advantage of that,” Olson said. “He’s smart and he’s still fast enough to keep up with everybody.”