A three-game losing streak has damaged the Spokane Empire’s once glossy record and their position in the Indoor Football League playoff chase.
And it’s prompted major changes to their roster.
Charles Dowdell, a fixture at quarterback since Spokane joined the IFL in 2016, was released after a disappointing 45-36 loss to then two-win Colorado last week.
Dowdell, who guided Spokane to the IFL title game last season, was intercepted twice by the Crush. Of his 16 interceptions this season – only Cedar Rapids’ Brion Carnes has thrown more – six came in the end zone. Dowdell was fourth in touchdown passes but ranked seventh with a 101.4 passer rating.
Rookie Aaron Wilmer, who relieved Dowdell in the fourth quarter, will start in the rematch against Colorado on Friday at the Arena. Freshly signed Marcus McDade, who played at Fresno State and Sacramento State, will be the No. 2 quarterback.
“We need to give Charles a lot of credit for the year and a half he had with us and for what he did for us,” coach Adam Shackleford said. “As a coach, when you see a player struggle and the same mistakes and you have a guy behind that’s not only ready but probably deserves a shot …
“Charles was one of my favorites. It was a tough business decision.”
The Empire (7-5) trail Arizona by one game in the Intense Conference. They share second place with Nebraska but the Danger won the head-to-head meeting and hold the tiebreaker. Nebraska and Arizona collide Sunday in Phoenix.
Spokane also signed running back Andrew Pierce, who joined the squad in the playoffs last season. Shackleford said he’ll utilize Pierce and Trevor Kennedy at running back and receiver.
Offensive lineman Deveric Gallington, who played fullback for the Spokane Shock in the Arena Football League, has joined the Empire and will start at center. Darren Pinnock moves to guard, his natural position.
“Sioux Falls flat-out beat us, Arizona ran it down our throat and Colorado, we didn’t take them as seriously as we should have because they took it to us,” Shackleford said. “We’ve got to win some games or we’re going to be on the outside (of the playoffs) looking in.”