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Spokane Shock
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Empire at Billings before chance to heal some wounds

Spokane Empire quarterback Samuel Dowdell had four interceptions in his last game, but coach Adam Shackleford says Dowdell always bounces back. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Empire quarterback Samuel Dowdell had four interceptions in his last game, but coach Adam Shackleford says Dowdell always bounces back. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Jim Meehan

A much-needed break is on the horizon but first the Spokane Empire must deal with the Billings Wolves.

And Spokane might have to deal with them again July 17.

The fourth meeting between the Empire and Wolves comes in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Spokane is 2-1 against the Wolves with the lone loss occurring March 12 in Billings.

“We’re not going to change a lot of the things we do,” coach Adam Shackleford said. “There’s not a lot of secrets between the two teams.”

Spokane (12-3) will host the Intense Conference championship game July 17 against the first-round winner of Billings (7-8) and Nebraska (5-10). Spokane, battling a long injury list, will have 22 days between Saturday’s contest and the title game.

“We want to make sure we come out and really execute and try to dominate because that gives you confidence going into that next game,” linebacker Nick Haag said.

If top-seeded Spokane loses and United Conference No. 2 Cedar Rapids wins, both teams would finish 12-4, prompting the question: Who would host the United Bowl if both teams win their conference championships? Shackleford confirmed with the Indoor Football League office that Spokane would host with seeding determining the tiebreaker.

Billings routed Tri-Cities 67-23 last week behind quarterback Cory Murphy’s nine touchdowns (six rushing, three passing). Murphy generated five touchdowns but tossed three interceptions in a 51-41 loss to Spokane earlier this month.

Spokane’s Charles Dowdell was intercepted four times in a 59-35 home loss to No. 1 overall seed Sioux Falls last week. Dowdell leads the IFL with 63 touchdown passes but his 18 interceptions are tied with Cedar Rapids’ Dylan Favre for the most in the league.

“He’s always come back and played really well,” Shackleford said. “I expect he will again.”

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