Spokane, San Jose, a retirement ceremony for former Shock great Raul Vijil and a couple of Shock-turned-SaberCats in the building.
Yeah, this could be interesting.
Spokane takes on the unbeaten SaberCats tonight at the Arena to see how it measures up against the best team in the Arena Football League. San Jose (7-0) is second in scoring offense, first in scoring defense and leads the league in turnover margin.
Spokane (2-4) is coming off its most complete effort of the season in a 68-46 rout of Los Angeles. The Shock might need an even better performance to knock off the SaberCats. Spokane hung with unbeaten Philadelphia and two-loss Arizona.
“We competed with Philly with our third-string quarterback,” coach Andy Olson said. “San Jose just seems like it is on another level. They’ve been stomping pretty much everyone they’ve played.”
Six of San Jose’s wins are by at least 18 points. Former Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer started San Jose’s first six games before suffering an injury against Arizona. Nathan Stanley finished out the 56-34 victory over of the Rattlers and directed last week’s 61-28 drubbing of Las Vegas, earning AFL offensive player of the week honors.
Meyer, third in the league with a 121.8 passer rating, is listed as the starter in San Jose’s game notes and the Shock’s two-deep. San Jose’s Adron Tennell, a former Shock standout, is third in receptions (21) and second in touchdowns (10).
“Stanley has actually been a little better statistically,” Olson said. “Both are fantastic quarterbacks with a great offensive line and nothing but weapons.”
Spokane has had a tough start but remains tied with Portland for the fourth-best record in the National Conference. The top four teams advance to the playoffs.
“We don’t have to do anything except play our game, play it right and not make the mental mistakes,” Shock offensive lineman Patrick Afif said. “If we play our game like we played last week and the defense is coming with it like they can, we’re in there.”
Spokane will retire Raul Vijil’s jersey during a halftime ceremony. Vijil, one of the most popular players in the franchise’s 10-year history, is the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
“He’s been part of this organization since pretty much the beginning,” Olson said. “Great guy on the field and off the field.”
Vijil and Meyer were teammates at Eastern Washington from 2002-05 and with the Shock in 2010-11.
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