Spokane opens the af2 playoffs against Stockton on Saturday night. The Shock are 10-0 all-time vs. Stockton, including 3-0 this season with two relatively easy wins and an 88-27 blowout.
Read my unedited game preview below.
Meanwhile, here's an update on Boise losing quarterback Taylor Tharp, who was hurt against Spokane last week, for the remainder of the season. Spokane and Boise would collide next Saturday if both teams win Saturday.
In the last meeting in mid June,
“You have to prepare for everybody,” offensive lineman Ryan Belcher said. “We’re not going to overlook this team. We’ve seen them numerous times already. We’re going to go out and do what we do.”
Top-ranked and top-seeded
“That’s probably the key to the game – protecting Cavender – for them,” Shock coach Adam Shackleford said.
The Lightning have played better of late, winning two of their last three. Cavender, who stepped in when Andy Collins suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Shock in April, has a talented cast of receivers in Troy McBroom, Brandon Horace, Tonae Martin and Etu Molden. McBroom has 24 touchdowns and 1,463 receiving yards.
Rookie Mervin Brookins Jr. has given
“They’re a team that can beat anybody, but they’ve gone out and lost to Tri-Cities two times. You don’t know which team will show up,” Shackleford said. “They’re going to think nobody is giving them a chance and they’re going to try to play the spoiler.”
“They’re going to come in hungry,” defensive back Stanley Franks said. “We love playing in front of our crowd, but opposing teams do, too. We have to be ready to go.”
Aaron Williams, who missed the second half of the season while recovering from knee surgery, has been activated. He’ll be the fourth defensive back behind starters Franks, Sergio Gilliam and Virgil Gray. … Markee White will be the No. 4 receiver behind starters Vijil, Andy Olson and Charles Dillon. … Defensive end Jeff Van Orsow, who is trying to come back from a torn tendon in his finger, remains on injured reserve. … Newcomers Rob Green, Casey Bulyca and Montrell Jones won’t play tonight. … Plenty of tickets remain, including many in the 100 (lower) level.