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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shock on the road again

The Spokane Shock are in Oklahoma City to face the Yard Dawgz on Sunday at 12:05. The Shock made a couple of roster adjustments for this game (more on that below). Also, Spokane is 30-4 all-time in road games, including a 63-56 win last week against Arizona in Phoenix.

Read on for my unedited preview.

By Jim Meehan

jimm@spokesman.com; (208) 765-7131

It’s not Monday Night Football or the Arena Football League’s Friday game of the week on NFL Network. It’s Sunday afternoon football and it’ll be the only AFL game of the day.

“The good thing about being on a Sunday is the whole league gets to watch,” Spokane Shock head coach Rob Keefe said of today’s road date with Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center. “We’re the kind of team if we have to play in somebody’s backyard, that’s what we’ll do.”

The sixth-ranked Shock (3-2) and No. 14 Yard Dawgz (2-3) are playing today because the arena was booked on Friday and Saturday. AFL games can be viewed on line at niftytv.com/AFL.

It’ll be a clash of styles between two teams that moved up from arenafootball2.

“They spread the ball out to their receivers. They’re very shifty, I think their tallest receiver is 6-foot,” Keefe said. “We’re going to have to tackle because it’s pretty much getting the ball to the playmakers as opposed to throwing the ball too far downfield.

“They’ll give up all kinds of stuff in front of them and hope we make a mistake. We’re the exact opposite. We want to get downfield and score as quickly as possible. On defense, we want to pressure you and get turnovers or four-and-outs.”

Oklahoma City used two late touchdowns, one on a return of a missed field goal and the other on a fumble return, to turn back Bossier-Shreveport 88-79 last week. Spokane is coming off a 63-56 road win over Arizona that vaulted the Shock into first place alone in the West Division. The lineup that tripped up the Rattlers has undergone a few revisions.

Offensive lineman Ed Ta’amu has been activated from injured-reserve and he’ll see his first playing time of the season. Chris Pino will move from the line to fullback, where he replaces Clay Harrell, who has been placed on I-R. Pino saw time at fullback when Harrell was ejected from an earlier game.

Wide receiver Eddie Thompson (shoulder) joins Harrell on I-R. Huey Whittaker, Markee White and Quorey Payne will start at receiver with Shaun Kauleinamoku available for his first action of the season. Raul Vijil didn’t make the trip after coming out of the Arizona game “a little banged up,” Keefe said. Payne hasn’t played since the season opener when he had four catches for 42 yards and returned a kick 58 yards for a touchdown.

“There’s a point probably 9-10 games in where we have to make a decision on who is the group that’s going to take us forward,” Keefe said.

The Yard Dawgz revamped their offensive line recently and put up a season-high 88 points last week. With sufficient protection, the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Grady had 430 yards passing and 10 touchdowns.

“We recruited Tommy,” Keefe said. “He only played 7-8 games in af2 and five in the AFL, so he’s still learning. He’s got a cannon for an arm. We want to confuse him a little bit.”



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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