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Shock crushed by SaberCats, 55-28

Spokane came into the playoffs on a roll, winners of five straight and playing its best football of the season.

None of that mattered to San Jose, which worked over the visitors from start to finish in a 55-28 playoff victory Saturday at the SAP Center. Spokane's 28 points equaled its single-game low in five AFL seasons (the Shock lost to Jacksonville 34-28 earlier this season).

Erik Meyer was intercepted three times in the first half. Spokane didn't crack the scoreboard until midway through the third quarter. By then, San Jose was on top 31-0 and coasting to the finish line.

Read the S-R game recap below.


Arizona wins West outright

The battle for the No. 1 seed in the National Conference was settled on the field as Arizona routed Iowa 84-45 in Des Moines on Saturday.

The Rattlers (15-3) secured the West Division title outright and the top seed. Spokane (14-4) will be the third seed and entertain No. 2 Chicago on Thursday at the Arena in the first round of the playoffs. No. 4 San Jose visits Arizona in the other half of the bracket.

The Arena Football League on its Website last week declared Arizona as the Division champion and top seed last week, but backtracked when Spokane questioned tiebreaking procedures that would have come into play only if Arizona had lost Saturday.

 Arizona's win allows the league to avoid making a ruling that would have left one franchise — Spokane or Arizona — infuriated. The Rattlers have home-field advantage throughout the National Conference playoffs, but Spokane could still host the conference title game if it defeats Chicago and San Jose upsets Arizona. 

Another AFL mess

It was thought that tonight's Spokane-Pittsburgh game had no bearing on the AFL playoff picture.

However, Shock majority owner Brady Nelson told me 30 minutes before kickoff he's been informed by the league office that the No. 1 seed in the National Conference is not settled, even though it has been reported that Arizona clinched the West Division and top seed on the AFL Website.

More below. 

Spokane, Arizona renew rivalry

Spokane and Arizona hook up for a key AFL game Friday night in the Arena.

Here's my game preview that will run in tomorrow's S-R.

Shock still facing uphill playoff climb

Spokane is playing some of its best football of the season and would be a dangerous team if it makes the playoffs. That's a big 'IF'. More on Spokane's playoff chase, the return of Jeremy Geathers and details on the new 5-year CBA here.

There's a longer version below with a few more quotes and an update on DB Terrance Sanders that were cut from the article that ran in today's S-R.

Underdog Shock like chances

Back with my game preview for Friday's AFL playoff tilt between Spokane and Arizona. Checked in with Rob Keefe, who said he's going to wait as long as possible to determine his 21-player roster. Many of those decisions will depend on the health of DB Alex Teems (pictured above), who suffered a hip pointer last Friday at Jacksonville.

Here's my preview and here's a preview from the Arizona Republic.

Shock playoff scenarios

Spokane's win over Utah was big in the playoff picture, but one of the first questions right after the game was whether Spokane (8-8) can clinch a playoff berth with a win over San Jose (7-9) on Saturday, regardless of what Tulsa (7-9) and Utah (7-9) do the rest of the way?

After consulting with Evan from the AFL office, here's the answer: No. Another Shock win obviously would be huge, but it wouldn't necessarily seal the deal. This may get a little convoluted but read on for the explanation.

Crowded AFL playoff race

Tulsa blitzed Utah 81-51 Saturday night to create a four-way tie for the fourth and last National Conference playoff berth. Tulsa, Utah, Spokane and San Jose are 5-7. Kansas City is 4-9.

More on Utah's third straight loss here and here. The game was another indication of how reliant AFL teams are on quarterback play. Utah's Tommy Grady, after a hot start, has struggled recently and the Blaze don't have Erik Meyer to call on. Meyer became Spokane's signal caller after the Shock acquired him in a trade two weeks ago. Meyer had a solid debut (seven touchdowns, one interception) in Spokane's 75-54 win over Philadelphia on Friday night. Grady, who apparently was battling the flu, had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Former Spokane offensive coordinator Matt Sauk served as Utah's interim head coach. Ron James didn't make the trip for medical reasons. Sauk is Utah's O.C. Utah has dropped its last two games by a combined 65 points.

Meanwhile, Tulsa's Justin Allgood, acquired from Philadelphia where he lost the starting job to Ryan Vena, was sharp in his return to his former squad. He had six touchdown passes as Tulsa scored an AFL season-high 81 points. Vena had a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns against Spokane.

Meanwhile, Arizona continues to roll with a couple of ex-Shockies (Davila, Gray, McCullough).

Spokane plays Utah July 9 in the outdoor game at Albi and visits San Jose on July 16.

Former Chief gets lucky

Before I start this Spokane Chiefs post, I want to pass this along … former Chiefs goalie Dustin Tokarski, (pictured above) playing for Tampa Bay's AHL team in Norfolk, Va., was taken out of a game Saturday after getting cut in the neck with a skate. It required 30 stitches and Tokarski and a teammate posted the pix on Twitter. (While on the Bolt Prospects page, check down the right side to see where Tyler Johnson is among the Lightning prospects before he plays a professional game.)

The Chiefs play Tri-City in a rare 2-3-2 series. The usual scheduling is because both buildings are full next weekend. The Chiefs lost this Friday to Elton John. The teams stretched the 3 out in Tri just for pacing (and I think they want me to drive a lot) because next weekend there is an Amway Convention in the Arena and a two-day youth wrestling tournament in the Toyota Center.

So, since the first game isn't until Saturday, our stories won't begin until later in the week, giving me an opportunity to catch up on my other duties.



Saturday, April 9th

at Spokane



Sunday, April 10th

at Spokane



Tuesday, April 12th

at Tri-City



Thursday, April 14th

at Tri-City



Sunday, April 17th

at Tri-City



Tuesday, April 19th

at Spokane



Wednesday, April 20th

at Spokane


Chiefs up 2-0 after shutout

The Spokane Chiefs defeat Chilliwack 5-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Thursday at the Arena. Eric Walsh's story for the Chilliwack Progress is below.

Kramer gives Chiefs 1-0 lead

Darren Kramer scored two goals, including the game winner 10 minutes into overtime, as the Spokane Chiefs won their opening game of the Western Hockey League playoffs, 3-2 over the Chilliwack Bruins. The Chiefs stay in Chilliwack for Game 2 in the best-of-7 series tonight before returning to the Arena for the next three games, starting Wednesday. Below is the Chilliwack Prospect story.

Eags tied at haltime, thanks to Taiwan Jones

Defense is little more than a rumor at Roos Field on Saturday as Eastern Washington and Southeast Missouri State play to a 17-17 first-half tie in their second-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff battle.

The two team have 447 yards, with Eastern’s Taiwan Jones having already rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

SEMO tailback Henry Harris has 109 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries, but Redhawks’ biggest play of the first half was Joshua Jackson’s 10-yard interception return off a poorly thrown pass by EWU’s Bo Levi Mitchell deep in Eagles’ end.

Southeast Missouri, which came in averaging just four penalties a game, has been flagged seven times for 81 yards, while Eastern has yet to be penalized.



Two of FCS’s finest on display at Roos Field on Saturday

Eastern Washington’s Taiwan Jones and Southeast Missouri State’s Henry Harris are among the top Football Championship Subdivision running back in the country, and will match numbers again each other on Saturday afternoon at Roos Field, when the Eagles and Redhawks kick it off at 1:05 in the second-round FCS playoff showdown.

Check back later for an early look at the game advance that will appear in Saturday morning’s S-R. In addition, you can click here to read the feature story on SEMO’s junior quarterback Matta Scheible that appeared in Friday morning’ s S-R.



EWU playoff tickets on sale

Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to No. 1-ranked Eastern Washington’s second-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff game against SE Missouri State at Roos Field can find details here.

Top-ranked Eagles land at large playoff berth, No. 5 seed

Sunday got off to a great start for Eastern Washington’s football team, which not only earned at-large bid and No. 5 seed in the Football Championship Sudivision playoffs, but vaulted to the No. 1 spot in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 rankings.

The Eagles (9-2), who claimed a share of the Big Sky Conference championship with a 34-7 win over Idaho State on Sunday and was awarded a first-round bye and second-round home game against Southeast Missouri State (9-2) on Dec. 4.

BSC co-champion Montana State, which earned the league’s automatic playoff berth by virtue of a 30-7 win over Eastern early in the year, was seeded No. 4.  Montana (7-4), which lost at home to MSU on Saturday, did not receive an at-large berth and saw its streak of consecutive playoff appearances end at 17.

You can read about Eastern’s first-ever No. 1 ranking here, and check out the FCS playoff bracket here.  You can also see the playoff story — complete with ticket information — that was posted by EWU’s sports information office here.

And, as promised, we’ve got the playoff story that will appear in Monday morning’s S-R right here.


Richland throttles Prep

Other than one magical run, Bishop Sankey couldn’t get untracked and Richland ended Gonzaga Prep’s football season with a 21-7 win Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium. The story is here

Shock will entertain Milwaukee

Spokane will face Milwaukee in the National Conference championship game Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Spokane Arena. The game will be televised live on NFL Network.

Milwaukee defeated visiting Chicago 64-54 in a first-round playoff game Saturday. Top-seeded Spokane (14-3) split two games against No. 2 Milwaukee (12-5), losing the season opener 74-62 before winning the rematch 62-48 in June.

Tickets can be purchased through TicketsWest (1-800-325-SEAT or www.ticketswest.com).

Tampa Bay will entertain Orlando for the American Conference championship. The third-seeded Storm thumped No. 2 Tulsa 68-38 on Saturday. No. 4 Orlando upset No. 1 Jacksonville 73-69 on Friday.

Shock, playoff roundup

Another wild game at the Arena as Spokane outlasted Arizona 57-49 on Friday. The Shock defense had four stops and it probably should have been five. Television replays appeared to show William Mulder made an acrobatic interception in the first half, but an official ruled that the ball hit the ground. Arizona went on to score a touchdown on that possession.

I posted my game story last night (see previous post). Check out Chris Anderson’s photos of the game. Here’s John Blanchette’s writeup for the Arizona Republic and an extensive blog post by Richard Obert. More on Chicago-Milwaukee here and here. The winner travels to Spokane on Thursday

American Conference No. 1 seed Jacksonville lost to No. 4-seed Orlando at home. Find recaps on the game here and here.

On the AFL website, here are recaps of Spokane-Arizona and Jacksonville-Orlando.

Spokane holds off Rattlers, 57-49

Spokane made it a little tougher than it needed to be — after a trick play went south with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter — but the Shock defense came up with the last of their four stops, preserving a 57-49 playoff win over Arizona on Friday.

Read on for my unedited game story.

Rattlers express confidence

Arizona dropped both games to Spokane in the regular season, but the Rattlers, particularly WR Rod Windsor, are confident going into tonight’s playoff matchup. More here.

Shock-Rattlers set for 8 p.m. Friday

Spokane will entertain Arizona at 8 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the National Conference playoffs. The game time was finalized late Friday night after the NFL Network confirmed it will televise the Jacksonville-Orlando playoff game at 5. More here.

Arizona stumbled into the postseason with a 20-point home loss to Iowa (7-9). Spokane is 2-0 against Arizona, both close wins.

Here’s a Shock-Sharks recap from the S-R and a game story from the Florida Times-Union,

Shock playoff foe: Arizona or Chicago

The weekend’s results eliminated Milwaukee as one of Spokane’s potential first-round playoff opponents. The Iron, win or lose in their final regular season game, have clinched the Midwest Division title (they own tiebreaker over Chicago if it comes down to that) and will host a first-round game.

That means Spokane will face Chicago or Arizona. It’ll be the Rush if Arizona defeats Iowa on Friday. It’ll be the Rattlers if Arizona loses to Iowa. In the latter scenario, Arizona and Chicago both finish 10-6 but the Rush swept Arizona 2-0 during the season.

Orlando clinched the fourth and final spot in the American Conference by trouncing Oklahoma City. Pairings aren’t finalized there because Jacksonville and Tampa Bay remain tied at 11-4 (Sharks own tiebreaker). Spokane visits Jacksonville on Friday.

McMackin vs. McMackin a no go

Back with a Shock notebook. The first item is on Shock OL Rob McMackin, whose brother, Shawn, plays for the Chicago Rush, Spokane’s opponent on Friday in the Arena. Unfortunately, Shawn, an offensive lineman who moved to fullback a few weeks ago, hurt his knee last week and is sidelined for the rest of the season.

Read on for more on the McMackins, the playoff picture and the arrival of the 2009 ArenaCup championship rings.

Shock notes

I watched a short Shock practice today and put together a notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R. You can access the unedited version below.

I was out of town for three days and I see we didn’t have a post-Cleveland update. Find recaps here and here

‘Real’ playoffs begin for Eagles

The coaches and players at Eastern Washington University like to say the playoffs began — for them, at least — back in mid-October when they lost to Montana and saw their record drop to 4-3.

Read on.

Eagles on high after playoff announcement

As promised, we’re back with some additional comments from EWU head coach Beau Baldwin and a couple of his players on the Eagles earning an at-large berth in the 2009 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

I had hoped to post earlier, but Baldwin was understandably a bit late returning phone calls while scrambling to secure video of Saturday’s first-round opponent Stephen F. Austin, and said he planned to get back to watching video of the Lumberjacks as soon as our conversation was over.

I’ve attached an unedited version of the post-playoff announcement story that will appear in Monday morning’s S-R, and I’ve included this link to notes supplied by EWU’s sports information office.

Read on, and be sure to check back on Monday for additional thoughts and comments on the Eagles’ upcoming playoff adventure.

Eagles land at-large berth in FCS playoffs

Eastern Washington University, after winning its final four regular-season games, was awarded on of the eight at-large berths in the 16-team Football Championship Subdivision playoffs on Sunday.

The Eagles (8-3) will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas, on Saturday to face Stephen F. Austin (9-2), which earned an automatic berth after capturing a share of the Southland Conference championship. Game time has yet to be decided.

Easten, which tied for second with Weber State in the Big Sky Conference standings, last made it to the FCS playoffs in 2007 when they advanced to the second round before losing on the road to eventual national champion Appalachian State.

Unbeaten Big Sky champion Montana (11-0) was awarded the top seed in this year’s playoffs and will entertain South Dakota State in a first-round game in Missoula. Weber State (7-4) also received an at-large playoff berth and will open on the road against William & Mary.

I will post an updated story — hopefully with reaction from EWU head coach Beau Baldwin and some of his players — later today.  The Eagles were still enroute from Saturday’s regular-season finale against Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz., when the playoff brackets were announced.


Playoff pairings

Find a rundown of the first-round playoff matchups here and a recap of Stockton’s win over Peoria on Saturday here. Spokane entertains Stockton on Saturday.


Shock playoff tickets on sale

Back from a week of furlough, so we’re playing catch up bigtime. Spokane’s rout of Central Valley clinched the West Division title and hosting rights through the National Conference title game.

Spokane’s first-round playoff assignment will be Stockton (5-10) on Aug. 1. Ticket information here

Shock clinch at least one home playoff game

Spokane’s win over Oklahoma City on Friday clinched at least one home playoff game. Find more, including ticket information, here.