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Spokane Empire

Shock turn in complete effort

Trip to Tampa proves worthwhile

TAMPA, Fla. – Spokane had one of its best efforts of the season on both sides of the football.

Quarterback Erik Meyer accounted for eight touchdowns and the defense came up with four sacks and key stops late to lift Spokane to a 53-41 Arena Football League victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Spokane (4-2), bouncing back from last week’s last-play loss to Cleveland, dominated the second half, outscoring the Storm (3-4) 27-14.

Spokane, which trailed most of the first half, went on top 47-41 with 10:29 remaining on Meyer’s 27-yard scoring pass to Brandon Thompkins, who finished with nine catches for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

Tampa Bay didn’t score on its final three possessions.

The Shock dialed up their pass rush – Derrick Summers finished with three sacks – to force a turnover on downs. Meyer eluded the pass rush and hit Thompkins for a 7-yard score to bump Spokane’s lead to 53-41 with 4:18 remaining.

Spokane made another defensive stand with Summers sacking quarterback Randy Hippeard and the Shock forcing three straight incomplete passes. The Shock didn’t take advantage as Taylor Rowan missed a 25-yard field-goal attempt, ending Spokane’s run of eight touchdowns on eight possessions.

Tampa Bay, after consecutive sacks by Summers and James Ruffin, ran out of time on its final possession.

Spokane pulled within 27-26 on Thompkins’ 6-yard touchdown reception with 30 seconds left in the second quarter. Tampa Bay moved the ball downfield but rookie defensive back Bryant Nnabuife intercepted an underthrown Hippeard pass on the last play of the half.

Meyer finished 21 of 31 for 244 yards and six touchdowns. He also had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Adron Tennell had eight catches, two for TDs, and Mike Washington, returning from a two-game absence after a hamstring injury, had four receptions.

Spokane, which leads the Pacific Division, visits Los Angeles next Sunday.

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