If history has a say in Thursday's AFL playoff game at the Spokane Arena, the Shock will be just fine.
The Shock are 11-2 in the playoffs, combined between the AFL and the af2. They have not lost a home postseason matchup since they joined the AFL in 2010.
It's a bit lucky that Spokane gets to host, considering the No. 3 seed usually travels to face teh No. 2 team in the conference. But due to arena conflicts in Chicago, the Rush will have to deal with the difficulties that come with both travel and playing at the Spokane Arena.
For more preview information, here is the offical release by the Shock:
SPOKANE, WA (July 30, 2013) - The Spokane Shock (14-4, 4-2) will host the Central Division Champion Chicago Rush (10-8, 2-2) this Thursday, August 1st for first round AFL playoff action with a 7:00 PM PST kickoff at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Spokane visited Chicago in Week 2 of the 2013 Net10 Wireless Arena Football League regular season, coming away with a 76-61 win over the Rush at Allstate Arena. The early season matchup showed early promise for the playoff bound franchises as Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 26 of 34 attempts for 314 yards and 7 touchdowns while adding another score on the ground. Adron Tennell led the Shock receiving effort with 10 receptions for 118 yards and 3 scores as Meyer completed touchdown passes to four different receivers in the contest. Rush quarterback Carson Coffman completed 25 of 39 attempts for 294 yards and 7 touchdowns while veteran wide receiver Reggie Gray hauled in 9 receptions for 93 yards and 4 touchdowns on the night. While the two offenses battled it was the Shock defense and special teams that would make the difference as Paul Stephens recovered a bar-ball for a Shock score and Terrance Sanders would return a kickoff for a touchdown, allowing Spokane to maintain a two score lead and hold on for the early season victory.
After falling to the Shock in Week 2, the Chicago Rush would go on to post a 10-6 record over the remainder of the season. Entering Week 18 of the AFL regular season with a tied Division record with the San Antonio Talons at 2-2, the Rush would go on to clinch their playoff berth with a Shock win against the Talons in Spokane, WA.
While the Shock would end the 2013 regular season with a five game win streak featuring an average margin of victory of 28 points, the Rush would complete their final five games at 3-2 which featured losses against the Philadelphia Soul and San Jose Sabercats. Despite the loss in their final regular season game, it was a Week 18 matchup in Arizona that would show Chicago's ability to create an upset as the Rush would go on to hand the Rattlers their first home loss of the season by a final score of 63-42.
The first round playoff matchup between the two franchises will feature two of the most dominant receivers in the AFL. Chicago's Reggie Gray finished the regular season with 140 receptions for 1,978 yards (second in the AFL) and 46 touchdowns (second in the AFL) while Spokane's Adron Tennell would go on to lead the league in receptions (156, franchise single-season record) for 1,792 yards (franchise single-season record) and 49 touchdowns (first in the AFL, franchise single-season record).
While the two teams would field two of the league's top receivers in 2013, it was the quarterback position entering the season that was the largest question mark on each team's roster.
Rush quarterback Carson Coffman would start 16 games this season, making his debut as the go ahead starter on an AFL roster for the first time in his career. Coffman would go on to complete 60.6% of his passes for 2,583 yards, 73 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
While Coffman was able to help his team to a Central Division title, it was Spokane's Erik Meyer that would take the league by storm in 2013. After suffering a season ending injury in the first game of the 2012 season, Meyer would return to the Shock in 2013 and assume the starting duties and lead Spokane to the second best record in the AFL. In 18 games for the Shock, Meyer would complete a league best 68.2% of his passes for 4,667 yards (second in AFL, franchise single-season record), 112 touchdowns (first in AFL, franchise single-season record) with only 11 interceptions.
As the Shock offense would go on to field the league's second best scoring offense (66.6 points/game), it was the special teams and defense in 2013 that would create opportunities for Spokane to post a 14-4 record.
Kick return specialist Terrance Sanders would set a new AFL single-season record for kick return yards in a season (2,265) while returning a franchise single-season record of six returns for touchdowns.
In his second season with the Shock, defensive back Paul Stephens would also set a new AFL single-game record with five interceptions against the San Jose Sabercats in Week 5 of the regular season and also set a new franchise regular-season record with 12 total picks.
Beyond individual records the Shock would also go on to set an AFL single-season record for the most wins by double digits, posting 14 wins on the year by 10 or more points. Spokane's high powered offense would also go on to score 1,198 points during the regular season with an average of 66.6 points per game, each being the third most in league history.
The Shock are 11-2 all-time in playoffs (AFL and af2 combined) and have not lost a home playoff game at Spokane Arena since the franchise's debut in the AFL in 2010.
Thursday's game is scheduled for a 7:00 PM PST kickoff at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and will be live on SWX-TV, streaming online at shock.arenafootball.com/allaccess, and available on 700AM ESPN radio. Tickets are still available via TicketsWest or by calling the Shock office at (509)-242-7462.