Close only counts in horseshoes, and arenafootball2 games involving Spokane and Central Valley.
Spokane is 7-0 against the Coyotes, who make their annual visit to the Arena tonight, with four of those wins by a field goal or less. Three of those close calls have come on Spokane’s home turf.
“They’re just a good team that is always well-coached,” Shock coach Adam Shackleford said. “It’s come down to the end and we’ve earned those wins, but certainly the ball has bounced our way at times. We think it’ll be the same kind of game, but we also think we’re prepared and ready to play.”
No. 1-ranked Spokane (7-0) is one win from reaching the halfway point of the regular season undefeated. Central Valley (3-4) lost ex-Shock quarterback Jason Murrietta to a shoulder injury last week, but the Coyotes could climb back into the playoff picture with an upset victory.
Ryan O’Hara replaced Murrietta and finished 8 of 16 for 72 yards and three touchdowns in the Coyotes’ 68-51 loss to Arkansas. O’Hara was sacked four times.
“We recruited him a little bit last year, but he ended up signing with another team,” Shackleford said. “He’s been there the whole time and taken plenty of reps in practice. We’ve certainly seen backup quarterbacks have success against us before. We’re not going to take anything for granted.”
The Shock knocked off Florida last week, despite committing four turnovers.
“We feel like every week we improve on something, but then we take a step back in another area,” said defensive back Aaron Williams, who will return after missing one game with a knee injury. “We haven’t really put it all together yet.”
Spokane is familiar with Central Valley’s primary receivers. Lamonte Jones and Phil Goodman, both former Tri-Cities players, and ex-Austin Wrangler John Roberson, combined for 17 catches a week ago. Goodman and linebacker Wes Borba left last week’s game with injuries, but Shackleford expects both to play tonight. … The Shock added to their roster defensive back Lionell Singleton, wide receiver Jeron Harvey and offensive lineman Carnell Stewart. Spokane also traded defensive lineman Martel Brown to Green Bay and wide receiver Johnny Walker to Tri-Cities. … Central Valley ranks 13th in scoring offense (52 ppg) and 20th in scoring defense (57.7). Spokane is sixth in scoring offense (59.6), fifth in scoring defense (42.7), eighth in total offense (296) and 20th in total defense (293.6).
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