Shock rout Blaze for first AFL win
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The Spokane Shock picked up its first Arena Football League victory in franchise history with a 68-34 win over the Utah Blaze at The E Center on Friday.
Spokane quarterback Kyle Rowley threw for six touchdowns on 21-of-29 passing for 224 yards, before turning the offense over to former Eastern Washington quarterback Erik Meyer, who was 8 for 11 for 77 yards and a touchdown.
"We felt better than Week 1; we ironed out some of the wrinkles," Rowley said.
Spokane's defense set the tone early in the game by ending Utah's first drive with an interception by Shock defensive back William Mulder, who was making his first start of the season. Mulder's interception set up Spokane's first touchdown of the game that came on a 2-yard run by wide receiver Eddie Thompson, who was also making his first start of the season.
Spokane's defense continued to dominate, limiting Utah's offense to 53 yards in the first half.
But Utah continued to stay within striking distance in the first half thanks to kick returner Brandon Hampton. Hampton collected 110 yards and two touchdowns on kick returns in the first half alone. He ended the night with 169 all-purpose yards.
Utah's rookie quarterback Michael Affleck, making his first start in the AFL, was under constant pressure from the Shock's defensive line and completed only four of his 12 pass attempts. AFL veteran Brett Elliott relieved Affleck, but also struggled against Spokane's pressure, fumbling the snap on his first play of the game.
DL Jerry Turner, DL Ben McCombs, DL Richard Clebert and LB Aaron Robbins each collected a sack.
Spokane (1-1) led 35-14 at halftime and outgained the Blaze 309-149 in total offense.
Raul Vijil had seven catches for 81 yards and three touchdowns, Markee White had eight catches for 118 yards and Huey Whittaker 12 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns apiece for Spokane. Utah is 0-1.
Spokane hosts Bossier-Shreveport next Saturday at 7 p.m. on Spokane Tribe Field.
Spokane 14 21 20 13 - 68
Utah 7 7 6 14 - 34
Spo - Eddie Thompson 3 run (Taylor Rowan kick)
Spo - Huey Whittaker 17 pass from Kyle Rowley (Rowan kick)
Uta - Brandon Hampton 54 kickoff return (Kenny Byrd kick)
Spo - Raul Vijil 11 pass from Rowley (kick blocked)
Uta - Brandon Hampton 56 kickoff return (Byrd kick)
Spo - Markee White 14 pass from Rowley (White pass from Rowley)
Spo - Rowley 1 run (Rowan kick)
Spo - Vijil 27 pass from Rowley (Rowan kick)
Spo - Vijil 21 pass from Rowley (Rowan kick)
Uta - Aaron Boone 3 pass from Brett Elliott (kick failed)
Spo - White 31 pass from Rowley (kick blocked)
Uta - Boone 9 pass from Elliott (kick failed)
Spo - Vijil 56 kickoff return (Rowan kick)
Uta - Wendall Williams 8 run (Boone pass from Elliott)
Spo - Whittaker 1 pass from Erik Meyer (kick blocked)
RUSHING - Spo, Rowley 2-7, Thompson 1-3. Uta, Affleck 1-5, Elliott 1-(-5), Williams 1-8.
PASSING - Spo, Rowley 21-29-224-6, Meyer 8-11-77-1. Uta, Affleck 4-12-42-0-1, Elliott 10-17-122-2.
RECEIVING - Spo, Thompson 1-5, White 8-118, Vijil 7-81, Whittaker 12-95, Harrell 1-2. Uta, Boone 8-90, Francies 2-20, Williams 4-54.