There's not enough space to go through all the highlights and lowlights from Spokane's crazy 56-55 overtime victory against Orlando on Saturday.
Somehow, someway the Shock came out on top, digging out the victory in overtime with a stop on Orlando's two-point conversion attempt and countering with Mike Washington's fourth touchdown catch of the game and Taylor Rowan's PAT.
My unedited game story is below.
By Jim Meehan
Spokane had to work overtime to snag its first Arena Football League victory of the season.
Tied at half, at the end of three quarters and at the end of regulation, the Shock dug out a wild 56-55 victory over the Orlando Predators in front of 8,906 Saturday at the Arena.
Orlando (3-2) had the first possession in overtime and scored on a backup quarterback Bernard Morris’ 28-yard touchdown pass to Kendal Thompkins on third-and-28. The Predators went for the two-point conversion from Spokane’s 1 after a Shock penalty but Morris was stuffed on a quarterback keeper.
The Predators’ onside kick was recovered by Derrick Summers at Orlando’s 9. After two incomplete passes, quarterback Carson Coffman floated a 9-yard strike to Mike Washington – their fourth touchdown connection of the game – and Taylor Rowan’s point-after pushed Spokane (1-3) into the win column.
“That was honestly one of the sloppiest football games I’ve ever been part of since I’ve been a head coach. But at end of the day, despite some of the plays we left out there and we left a lot out there, we made the ones at the end that mattered,” coach Andy Olson said. “The two-point conversion hold essentially won the game.”
Spokane and Orlando spent three quarters putting up touchdowns and the fourth quarter blowing scoring opportunities. It was knotted at 49 after Orlando scored on a former Shock receiver Brandon Thompkins’ touchdown catch late in the third quarter.
Both teams had numerous chances in a scoreless fourth quarter. The Shock’s last three possessions resulted in fumbled exchange between Coffman and fullback Bryson Kelly, a trick play that backfired with an interception thrown by receiver Rashaad Carter and Rowan’s missed 28-yard field goal with 41 seconds left.
Orlando failed to capitalize each time. Thompkins bobbled a low throw from quarterback Randy Hippeard into the arms of defensive back Andre Jones. Former Shock linebacker Terence Moore fumbled on a running play inside Spokane’s 3-yard line. Finally, with less than 10 seconds remaining, fullback Michael Simons fumbled and Spokane’s Sergio Gilliam recovered at the Shock 1-yard line.
“We’re so much better than what we showed out there again,” Olson said. “It was really frustrating but we persevered and got through it. Now the guys can get this losing streak out of their minds and they can focus on becoming a better team.
“It’ll be nice to walk in Monday and not be in a bad mood.”
Coffman, in his first game back from a knee injury he suffered in the season opener, passed for 289 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.
Orlando committed six turnovers, including five fumbles, one on a peculiar call early in the third quarter. Hippeard threw what appeared to be an incomplete pass but it was ruled a fumble. The ball ended up in Terrance Taylor’s hands and he rumbled toward the goal line with some help from teammates.
Officials initially ruled a touchdown, and then changed it to a touchback with an explanation that Taylor lost the ball before reaching the end zone. After a lengthy review, it was ruled a touchdown and Spokane led 42-35.
Taylor, with two sacks and a touchdown, and defensive end James Ruffin, who forced three fumbles and recovered two, tormented Orlando’s offensive line.
“Earlier in the week Coach Olson got on me a little bit,” Ruffin said. “I just had to put it together and help my team the best I could.”