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SaberCats crush hapless Shock

The San Jose SaberCats are good enough that they don’t need extra help.

Spokane provided plenty anyway, and paid for it in a humbling 83-28 Arena Football League loss Saturday viewed by 7,519 at the Arena.

The Shock endured the most lopsided defeat – by 21 points – in their 10-year history and lost wide receiver Mike Washington, arguably the team’s best player, to an Achilles tendon injury.

“The entire game, from start to finish, couldn’t have been played worse,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “I think we played about as bad a game as Spokane has ever seen.”

Asked if it was the most embarrassing game of his career, veteran defensive lineman Derrick Summers said, “Hell yeah, that’s pretty bad.”

Nathan Stanley completed 14 passes, eight for touchdowns as San Jose improved to 8-0. The SaberCats scored on every possession before running out the final seconds – all with ex-Shock quarterback Erik Meyer watching from the bench. Meyer was injured two weeks ago and the SaberCats opted to rest the former league MVP for at least another week.

Spokane (2-5) was overmatched from the outset and made matters worse with numerous mental and physical lapses.

Examples of the Shock’s charity were displayed on each team’s first series. Spokane opened up with a four-and-out. Quarterback Warren Smith was sacked on the first play and he missed an open Washington two downs later. On fourth-and-6, Smith overthrew Rashaad Carter on a deep pass.

Stanley’s second pass attempt was dropped in the end zone by Shock defensive back Christian Wise. One play later, Darius Reynolds took a pass in the flat and raced away from defenders for a touchdown.

Spokane’s second series lasted one play. Smith’s errant throw was intercepted off the sidewall by Ken Fontenette. Spokane had no defenders in the area on a screen pass to 315-pound Rich Ranglin, who scored easily from 17 yards out.

“When you start your first two possessions turning the ball over on downs and an interception and give an undefeated team 14 free points with the ball to start the second half, you put yourself in a hole,” said Smith, who was intercepted four times, all by Fontenette. “We have to learn from it.”

Each team had a bar-ball kickoff. San Jose recovered both and scored on the ensuing possessions.

San Jose went on top 28-14 when Reynolds turned a simple sideline pass into 37-yard touchdown. He only had to break one tackle before reaching the end zone.

Carter was drilled immediately on a short pass, sending the ball 9 yards downfield to Fontenette, who cruised 16 yards for a touchdown and a 42-14 lead. It was 49-14 at half after Stanley’s 2-yard scoring run.

San Jose ran 15 offensive plays in the first half, six resulting in touchdowns.

“There was no heart,” Summers said. “That’s (on the) individual. Grown man, you should figure it out yourself. You look in the mirror.”

Spokane made its first defensive stop late in the third quarter, and even that went wrong. The SaberCats missed a field-goal attempt but retained possession when kicker Nich Pertuit recovered the ball off the net. They eventually scored on one of ex-Shock receiver Adron Tennell’s three touchdown catches.

Washington had 74 yards receiving and two touchdowns before his injury midway through the third quarter.

“I don’t think you can replace Mike, he’s the best receiver in the league,” Smith said. “But we have guys that need to step up.”

The same might be said for the entire roster.

“I’m flat-out embarrassed,” Olson said. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this but it’s the truth. Everybody knows me to be blunt, I’m embarrassed. That won’t happen again and if it does I deserve to be canned.”

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