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Empire beats Tri-Cities Fever on the road, 52-39

KENNEWICK – Spokane built a big early lead and maintained it most of the game en route to a 52-39 Indoor Football League victory over the Tri-Cities Fever on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

The Empire jumped in front 20-0 in the first quarter on Charles Dowdell’s touchdown passes to Trevor Kennedy, JJ Hayes and Carl Sims.

Tri-Cities pulled within 33-23 as Spokane went scoreless in the third quarter. The Empire responded with fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Dowdell, Kennedy and Hayes to rebuild their lead to 20 points.

Spokane (6-1) has won four straight, three by double digits. Tri-Cities, which fell 60-51 to Spokane in the season opener, dropped to 3-5. The teams meet again Friday in Spokane.

The Empire extended their lead atop the Intense Conference standings over Nebraska (5-4), which lost to United Conference-leading Sioux Falls 62-44.

Hayes finished with two touchdown receptions and a rushing TD before exiting late in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury. Kennedy had 65 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns, two on the ground. He has scored 22 touchdowns this season.

Dowdell, who was intercepted twice in the first quarter, only completed eight passes but four went for touchdowns.

Spokane finished with just 209 total yards. The Fever accumulated 243 yards but converted just 1 of 7 third-down attempts.

Empire defensive back Robert Brown had an interception, one of three Tri-Cities turnovers in the first quarter. Twin brother Rob Brown had a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Fever.

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