The Spokane Shock return to the Arena tonight to face the Utah Blaze. The game will be live on SWX (Comcast channel 115) at 7:00 p.m. and the replay will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Here is the official preview and game notes from the Shock.
SPOKANE, WA (June 18, 2013) - The Spokane Shock will return home to square off with the last-placed Utah Blaze on Friday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Spokane (9-4, 3-2) is looking to bounce back from a tough 42-59 loss last Saturday against division foe Arizona Rattlers (12-1, 4-1). Spokane was undone by a rough stretch early in the fourth quarter in which the Shock, down 35-45, missed a field goal helping set-up a short Arizona touchdown, and then turned the ball over on downs, which led to another short Rattler's touchdown to give Arizona a 59-35 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 29-of-43 attempts for 256 yards and five touchdowns and one interception in the loss. Wide receiver Adron Tennell hauled in new franchise single-season record 15 receptions for 110 yards and four touchdowns while Brandon Thompkins caught nine balls for 111 yards.
The Shock will look to get back on track against the Blaze and try to separate themselves from the San Jose SaberCats who climbed to within a half-game of the Shock for second in the National Conference-West Division with five games remaining in the regular season.
Although the Blaze sit in last place in the West Division standings with a 5-7 record, Utah has proven to be a tough matchup for Spokane winning the last three games against the Shock dating back to last season.
Former starter and current Blaze backup quarterback Tommy Grady torched Spokane for 366 yards and 9 TDs in a 58-55 victory back in June 2012 and enjoyed similar success earlier this season completing 26-of-39 attempts for 329 yards and seven touchdowns in a thrilling 52-48 victory at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The game came down to the final play as the Blaze were able to stave off four consecutive Shock attempts from inside the 10 yard line to preserve the victory. Utah's Mario Urrutia led the Blaze offensive attack with 11 receptions for 122 yards and three touchdowns while Caesar Rayford forced one of his league leading four fumbles against Meyer. Meyer struggled on the night completing 26-of-39 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns while Kamar Jorden led the Shock receiving effort with 10 receptions for 112 yards.
The Blaze are also coming into Fridays matchup with some momentum after pulling off a 62-55 upset win against the American Conference-leading Jacksonville Sharks (8-5) last Saturday night in Utah.
Quarterback Jason Boltus threw for 240 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 31 yards and a rushing score in the first start of his Arena Football League career. Boltus appeared in one game last season with the Spokane Shock, going 4-6 for 30 yards. Against the Sharks he hooked up with wide receiver Braylon Bell six times for 120 yards and three touchdowns while Urrutia reeled in eight catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Utah's defense came up big in the win manufacturing four stops on the night including interceptions from linebacker Tony Tatum and defensive back David Hyland, who collected his franchise record sixth interception in 2013.
Led by Hyland, the Blaze boast the league's third ranked pass defense only giving up 239.2 yards per game and also are third in the AFL in total defense allowing only 259 total yards per game.
Although Grady is currently fifth in the league in passing yards throwing for 268.3 yards per game, Boltus's strong performance has once again thrust his name into the starting conversation for Saturday's game. Whoever is under center for the Blaze will lead an offense that is currently third in the league with 277.5 passing yards per game and fourth in the league in total offense racking up 294.1 yards per game. The Blaze love to control the tempo of the game and currently lead the AFL in time of possession holding on to the football for a little more than 33 minutes per contest.
This week's game will be broadcast live on SWX-TV, available for listening pleasure on 700 AM ESPN and online at shock.arenafootball.com/allaccess. Tickets are still available and can be purchased via TicketsWest using the promo code ‘SHOCKHUNGER,' which will help fight hunger in the Inland Northwest community by sending net proceeds to Second Harvest Inland Northwest and Post Falls Food Bank. Fans are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the Spokane Arena, and for donations made, fans will receive a special food related coupon courtesy of our premiere partners.