The gap between the two best teams in the Arena Football League and the next tier is growing wider every week.
Spokane took apart the Jacksonville Sharks 76-41 on Saturday night at the Arena. The teams entered the game 8-3, tied for the second-best record in the league. Last week, Spokane routed San Jose, then 7-2, by 30 points.
The victory sets up a showdown between the second-ranked Shock (9-3) and top-ranked Arizona (11-1), whose only loss was a 66-49 setback in Spokane, on Saturday in Phoenix. The Rattlers crushed San Antonio 70-21. All nine of Spokane’s wins have been by double figures.
Spokane dominated in every phase while rolling to its fourth straight win. The defense had five stops in the first half, including three turnovers. Terrance Sanders intercepted a Bernard Morris pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. The veteran defensive back also broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone and deflected a pass that led to Ruschard Dodd-Masters’ interception.
The Shock scored three touchdowns on their first eight offensive plays. Sanders’ TD return made it 28-7 at the end of the first quarter. Spokane led 42-14 when the defense registered another stop.
The Shock scored on Adron Tennell’s 2-yard touchdown reception with 3.5 seconds left to take a 49-14 lead at half.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks in the second half. Morris left the game after suffering a leg injury when he was tackled by Terence Moore midway through the third quarter. Morris was 16 of 25 with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sanders intercepted backup quarterback R.J. Archer and appeared to have another touchdown return but it was erased by an illegal block.
An Erik Meyer-to-Brandon Thompkins touchdown connection extended Spokane’s lead to 63-27 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.