The Spokane Empire will have a starting quarterback when the offense lines up against red-hot Iowa.
But the Indoor Football League team isn’t quite ready to announce whether it will be Aaron Wilmer or Marcus McDade.
Head coach Adam Shackleford opened the starting job to competition after Wilmer struggled in last week’s 33-16 loss to visiting Arizona.
The Empire (8-6) held two practices before flying out for Friday’s date with the Barnstormers (12-2), who have rattled off 10 straight wins to join six-time defending champion Sioux Falls on top of the United Conference standings.
“We’ll have meetings Thursday when we get (to Des Moines),” head coach Adam Shackleford said. “They both did good things and they both did things I didn’t particularly like. Honestly, it’ll probably be a Friday morning decision.”
The Empire edged Colorado in Wilmer’s first start following the release of ex-starter Charles Dowdell, but the IFL rookie was intercepted twice as Arizona limited Spokane to a franchise-low 16 points.
Wilmer has been with Spokane all season while McDade signed May 25th. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound McDade played collegiately at Fresno State and Sacramento State.
“Obviously Aaron wasn’t happy with the way he played,” Shackleford said. “We’ve had good practices. Practice performance and planning haven’t been our issue. It’s been production.”
The Empire finished with 137 total yards and converted 1 of 10 third downs and 1 of 7 fourth downs, negating a strong performance by the defense.
Linebacker Andrew Jackson (shoulder stinger) is expected to play but linebacker Pasquale Vacchio (broken ankle) and Sam Charles (leg/foot) will probably miss the remainder of the season.
Iowa, which ranks second in turnover margin (plus 12), has held seven opponents to 30 points or less, including 14 against Nebraska and 12 versus Green Bay.
Quarterback Travis Partridge has rushed for 565 yards and passed for 2,081. He’s No. 2 in the IFL with 62 touchdowns (40 passing, 22 rushing).