Consider it a litmus test for Spokane’s reborn Indoor Football League franchise.
When the Shock (2-1) face the second-ranked and traditional IFL power Sioux Falls Storm (3-1) on the road Saturday, they expect to know a lot more about themselves by the time they leave the South Dakota city.
The defending IFL champs are again “the best team in this league,” according to Shock coach Billy Back.
“They have the best coach in all of indoor football in Kurtiss Riggs,” Back said.
“They have a great system with their jet sweep, keeps you off balance. Great fan base that always packs the house.”
Before the fifth-ranked Shock can play their first game in front of fans on June 19 at the Spokane Arena, they look to win their third straight road game against a team that features former University of Nebraska standout and short-time NFL quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.
The top-ranked Frisco Fighters (3-0) edged Spokane 36-33 in their season opener, but Back believes the Storm may have more weapons.
The Storm are averaging 54 points a game in their three-game winning streak, which presents a formidable test for the IFL’s second-ranked Shock defense (30 ppg), which added former University of Missouri and short-time NFL defensive tackle Josh Augusta to its active roster this week.
Armstrong and Lorenzo Brown rotated at quarterback last week in a 64-28 road win over the Bismarck Bucks.
Riggs said his Storm are playing a Shock team loaded with experience.
“(The Shock) have a lot of veterans, a seasoned quarterback and defense,” Riggs said on his weekly radio show. “They’re very emotional. When they make a big play, they’ll let you know about it. We have to make sure we do our jobs and not worry about any of that stuff.”
Spokane’s offense, which is averaging 36 points a game, has been inconsistent and plagued by penalties it can’t afford to make against Sioux Falls, Back said.
The Shock continue to tinker with their offense as they try to find the right fit. They added former University of New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan to their group of active receivers this week.
“We have to get it going this week,” Back said of his offense. “It’s time to put it together.”
Shock quarterback Charles McCullum, a two-time IFL MVP, has completed 36 of 72 passes for 358 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Storm are a 20-year-old franchise with 11 titles. The Shock franchise, in its 14th year after a three-year hiatus, has three titles.
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