There’s a primary objective for the Spokane Shock laced with incentives for three of the Indoor Football League team’s oldest and most decorated figures.
One: Win an IFL title, securing the organization’s fourth championship.
Two: Help quarterback Charles McCullum, receiver Troy Evans Jr. and defensive back Mike Green break all-time records at their respective positions.
The second-ranked Shock (3-1), who will host the Northern Arizona Wranglers (0-4) on Saturday, may check all of those boxes at their current rate.
After dispatching defending IFL champion and annual power Sioux Falls Storm 50-32 on the road last week, the Shock bring a three-game winning streak back to the Spokane Arena, which will allow fans for the first time since the organization’s rebirth.
The Shock’s roster is a mixed bag of former Power 5 college athletes who are still adjusting to the game and veterans who made their way from smaller schools to make names for themselves in their niche brand of professional football.
McCullum, Evans and Green are the latter and have been steady presences in an 18-year-old league with high-volume player turnover.
“We want to go out there and put on our best, and also for the community,” Evans said. “It gives something for the kids to watch and be inspired by in small towns.”
The 35-year-old McCullum, the reigning IFL Offensive Player of the Week, is 457 yards shy of the all-time career passing mark (11,942)
McCullum started as a freshman at Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) Florida A&M before transferring to Stillman (Alabama) College, where he was a three-year starter and left among the top passers in the NCAA Division I school’s history.
As a junior at the small Tuscaloosa school, McCullum passed for 2,103 yards, 18 touchdowns and also rushed for 330 yards, dual-threat ability he retains nearly 15 years removed from college.
“He can still run it and still in really good, athletic physical shape,” Spokane Shock coach Billy Back said.
McCullum and Back had previously teamed up with the Nashville Venom, Wichita Falls Nighthawks and Carolina Cobras .
“Nobody sets out in college to be an indoor or arena player, but if you want to be there and are focused, you can have a great career,” Back said of McCullum. “He’s done it the right way.”
Evans played in the Mid-American Conference at Marshall University and gained some Canadian Football League interest before going the indoor route, where he’s just 368 yards shy of breaking the IFL’s all-time all-purpose yards record (6,976). Evans, 31, is in his seventh IFL season and also played with Back, McCullum and Green in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The 5-foot-9 speedster will pursue a career in caregiving and coaching when his career ends, but he still believes he is in his prime and his numbers have reflected that claim.
“I always had love for the outdoor game, just scratching and clawing (to have a career),” Evans said. “I love the indoor game. It’s fast-paced and (the veterans) have a camaraderie).” Green, who turns 30 in July, has played six years of indoor football, including three in the IFL.
The Shock’s co-leader in tackles with Cedric Poole (33 ) has 23 interceptions in his IFL career, the league’s ninth-best career mark.
“I’d have more this year, but I dropped them,” joked Green, a former standout at NCAA Division II Lenoir-Ryhne in Hickory, North Carolina.
Back said Green plans to retire from indoor football after this season and counts on his defensive leadership.
The Shock’s defense is yielding 29.5 points a game, the best in the league.
“A lot of people come into the arena game thinking they can do what they did (in college football), but it’s so different,” Green said. “Having those veteran guys is big.”
The Frisco Fighters (4-0) are the league’s top-ranked team and edged the Shock 36-33 in the final seconds in May, a season-opening contest at the Arena without fans.
Green has seen vast improvement since.
“Our attention to detail is better,” Green said. “We got comfortable early, knowing we had vets and what we did in previous years.
“We had to buckle down and focus on right now.”
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