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Sports >  Spokane Shock

Mistakes prove costly for Shock

Spokane QB Coffman injured in loss

Mike Tulumello Special to The Spokesman-Review

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Beating the three-time defending Arena Football League champs pretty much requires the football equivalent of a perfect game.

The Spokane Shock were often good Saturday night but far from perfect in a 60-43 defeat by the Arizona Rattlers. Two key early mistakes and a big defensive stop by the Rattlers on the final play of the first half sealed the Shock’s fate.

“Talent wise…physically, I thought we were better,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “Mentally, they were definitely better. That’s what it came down to.”

The unveiling of the Rattlers’ third straight championship banner moments before the opening kickoff didn’t seem to intimidate the Shock at all. Instead, the Shock went chin-to-chin early on with the team that’s trying to become the first in Arena history to win four straight titles.

Facing fourth-and-5 on their first possession, Shock quarterback Carson Coffman threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Mike Washington for the game’s first score.

Trailing 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, the Shock were stung badly by the Rattlers when Rashaad Carter tried to catch a kickoff that caromed off the goal post but couldn’t hang on. The Rattlers’ Markee White recovered and ran the ball in for a TD for a 21-13 lead.

“A bar ball kills you in this game,” Olson said. “You can’t afford the champs to be lucky when you play them. You got to be the ones that are lucky.

“To have the luck go their way on that one…We’ve got to catch that ball. It went right through a player’s hands. You’ve got to catch that ball. Those things cannot happen when you’re trying to beat a team like this.”

Then Carter coughed the ball up again.

Coffman had appeared to throw a successful lob pass to Carter, but as the receiver was heading into the boards, the Rattlers’ Jeremy Kellem stole the ball right out of his hands. The Rattlers scored moments later to take a 34-20 lead.

Then, with the Shock trailing 37-27 in the closing seconds of the half, they went for a touchdown instead of field goal because the Rattlers were due to get the second-half kickoff. That’s when the Rattlers Tyre Glasper sacked Coffman; at this point, the defending champs all but had the game in hand, even with the Shock holding the powerful Rattlers’ offense to just 23 points in the second half.

Coffman suffered an MCL injury on the sack; he will be evaluated after he returns to Spokane.

A sack for a safety by Derrick Summers helped the Shock close the gap to 50-43, but an interception thrown by backup QB Jarrett Brown ensured they would get no closer.

“We were in that game physically until the end,” said Shock lineman Patrick Afif.

Coffman was 11 for 21 for 156 yards and three TDs. Brown was 8 for 12 for 84 yards, but lost a fumble in addition to the interception.

“It’s always tough when your backup quarterback has to come in,” Olson said.

Washington had 10 catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

The Shock held Nick Davila, the league’s reigning MVP, within reason (21 for 36, 246 yards, 4 TDs). But it wasn’t enough.

“First games go like this,” Washington said. “There are no preseasons. In the first game, sometimes things go awry.”

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