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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shock didn’t get a kick out of loss

The Spokane Shock returned to practice Tuesday, trying to put a 54-48 loss to Iowa in the rear-view mirror.

However, the coaching staff is seeking clarification on the rules regarding onside kicks. Spokane recovered three onside kicks, but all three were wiped out by penalties. One was because the ball didn't travel the necessary 10 yards. The other two had coaches scratching their heads.

Read more in my unedited notebook below.

Also, read more about the Shock's newest roster addition, Caesar Rayford, here.

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

The Spokane Shock coaching staff isn’t making excuses for the team’s loss to Iowa on Saturday, but they would like a few explanations.

Three days later, head coach Adam Shackleford and special teams coach Rob Keefe are seeking rules clarifications from the league office regarding onside kicks, which are fairly common in arenafootball2 and pretty much the only option for teams trailing in the last minute when special timing rules go into effect.

By Shackleford’s count, the Shock recovered three onside kicks in the 54-48 loss to Iowa.  One was nullified because Spokane touched the ball before it went the required 10 yards. Two were erased because Spokane was called for kick-catch interference.

“I sent some stuff into the league,” Shackleford said. “They called it the same way when two different things happened and one or the other has to go our way.”

New rules for onside kicks went into place prior to the season, but Keefe said there are some gray areas.

“I talked to a league official Monday and they said when a player is jumping to receive the kick, he cannot be touched before the ball gets there. We understand that,” Keefe said. “However, it’s also stated in that rule that our players are allowed to go for the ball, so if the receiving team jumps in the air and has the ball in his hands technically if we hit him we are going for the ball, as I understand it. The refs in Iowa said by touching him before he landed that we interfered with him.”

“It takes away a big element of arena football. I understand about protecting players, that’s what they’re doing, but at the same time you’re hindering a team from coming back. The only time I’ve seen it enforced that way was at Iowa.”

Just in case, Keefe said the Shock are practicing new onside kicks as they prepare for Saturday’s home game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

If the rules continue to be enforced as they were in Iowa, Shackleford said, “It ruins the excitement of the last minute. The team ahead at the end is going to stay ahead.”

Shackleford stressed that the officials didn’t cost Spokane the game.

“The officials didn’t fumble, didn’t drop snaps, didn’t get scored on,” he said. “We got beat.”

Crowd control

Concerned about the possibility of a loud crowd at Iowa, Spokane went no-huddle early on and Shackleford called plays via hand signals. That didn’t last long.

“Their crowd is not even close to ours,” he said. “Not a factor at all.”

Spokane returned to its routine of Shackleford telling quarterback Nick Davila the play near the dasherboards and Davila relaying it to the offense.

The 8,000-plus in attendance was the second largest crowd for a Shock road game.


Defensive back Aaron Williams, returning from knee surgery, practiced Tuesday and is eligible to come off injured-reserve. A decision will be made later this week. … Receivers Raul Vijil and Andy Olson, defensive back Damon Jenkins (knee) and defensive end Ben McCombs (ankle, knee) were limited or didn’t practice Tuesday. Shackleford said Vijil and Olson carry a heavy workload and needed rest. … Former Washington Husky Caesar Rayford, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound defensive end, has been added to the roster.


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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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