06/04/2013 4:44 PM
Photo credit Gary Peterson Photography
SPOKANE, WA (June 4, 2013) - The Spokane Shock (8-3, 2-1) will square off with the American Conference’s first-placed Jacksonville Sharks (8-3, 3-0) this Saturday at 7 p.m. (PST) at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
This is the first meeting between the two teams who are not only polar opposites on a map, but also in playing styles too. Spokane loves to air-it-out, boasting the league’s second ranked scoring offense (67.0 points/g) while the Sharks prefer to methodically grind games out, winning with a (somewhat) balanced rushing attack and a stout defense.
Last season Spokane was victorious in the only matchup between the two teams winning 56-48 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Shock extended their winning streak to three games and took over sole possession of second place in the National Conference-West Division standings after thrashing the San Jose SaberCats 75-45 in a crucial division tilt last Saturday.
The bad blood between the bitter rivals was on full display as the gamed included some extracurricular activity and plenty of chatter between the opposing teams, but it was Spokane who ended up with the last laugh.
The Shock used a suffocating defensive attack to stifle San Jose limiting the SaberCats to 16 first-half points while recording two sacks and forcing six turnovers including a 43-yard interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Terrance Sanders. The defense also made life difficult for San Jose by knocking starting quarterback Russ Michna out of the game with an apparent upper body injury in the first half of the contest.
Spokane’s offense was efficient when needed as wide receiver Adron Tennell set a franchise single-game record with three rushing touchdowns while quarterback Erik Meyer completed 9-of-18 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns.
While Spokane’s defense flexed their muscles against San Jose, Jacksonville’s has been producing all season as they lead the league in scoring defense allowing only 44.9 points per game.
The Sharks used that recipe for success in a 70-48 win over the Pittsburgh Power last Saturday night, a win that improved their record to 8-3 and solidified their first place standing in the American Conference- South Division.
Jacksonville forced four turnovers including two interceptions from defensive back Terrance Smith, and forced fumbles from both Tracy Belton and linebacker Jamaal Fudge. Fudge currently leads the AFL with three forced fumbles while Belton is fourth in the league.
Quarterback Bernard Morris led the Shark’s offense completing 18-of-34 passes for 249 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Jeron Harvey led the Shark’s receiving corps. with eight catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns while Josh Philpart caught four balls for 76 yards and one score. Fullback Rendrick Taylor also carried the ball eight times for 18 yards and his two touchdowns.
And as they displayed against Pittsburgh, while the Sharks can air-it-out in with the best of them in the pass happy AFL, they prefer to battle it out the old fashioned way, in the trenches.
They currently lead the AFL in rushing offense and rushing attempts while also leading the league in sacks with 30 on the season.
Spokane will have to contain defensive end Jerry Turner who is currently third in the league with eight sacks and also Aaron Robbins who is right behind him with 7.5.
Jacksonville also beefed up their pass rush for this week’s game by adding veteran defensive lineman Derrick Summers to their roster on a one-year contract. Summers spent the 2011 season and 2012 season with the Sharks before leaving to sign with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He played in eight games with Toronto collecting 12 tackles and two sacks before being released. He then signed with Hamilton in late October where he collected one sack in two games. In 2011, Summers was an All-Arena Second team selection after piling up 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles in 18 games with Jacksonville.
Saturday is a big game for Spokane who must win out in order to keep pace with the Arizona Rattlers (10-1) and preserve the hopes of hosting a first round playoff game. If Spokane beats Jacksonville on Saturday and also the Rattlers on June 16, they would climb within one game of Arizona with five games remaining for the No. one seed and home field advantage for the 2013 playoffs.
This week’s game will be broadcasted on SWX TV, streaming online at shock.arenafootball.com/allaccess, and also available for listening at 700AM ESPN radio. Tickets can be purchased by contacting TicketsWest at 800-325-SEAT, visiting TicketsWest.com online, or by visiting the Box Office located at Spokane Arena.
SPOKANE SHOCK MISSION
The Spokane Shock strive to deliver to our fans a high quality entertainment experience while serving and representing the Inland Northwest on and off the field as a proud member of the Arena Football League.
ABOUT THE SPOKANE SHOCK
The Spokane Shock is a professional arena football team of the Arena Football League from Spokane, Washington, USA. They play their home games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Shock played their first four seasons in the former af2, winning division titles in all four seasons and ArenaCups in 2006 and 2009 before joining the AFL and winning ArenaBowl XXIII in their first season. Tickets and Sponsorships are available for the 2013 Season. For more information visit our website at spokaneshock.com or call 509-242-7462. You can also follow the Shock on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.