The Spokane Shock (7-7) secured a dominant 70-30 home victory over the San Antonio Talons (1-13) on Friday night in front of 8,489 fans at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Making his first start since May 4, Shock quarterback and reigning AFL MVP Erik Meyer accounted for six touchdowns – three passing, three rushing – in the win. Meyer completed 16-23 passes for 171 yards and rushed the ball three times for 20 yards in the contest.
Spokane receivers Mike Washington and Rashaad Carter both hauled in six receptions each for 74 yards and 61 yards, respectively; Carter added two touchdown catches to his performance.
Linebacker Terence Moore continued his dominant season by contributing 4.0 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, and two touchdowns. Defensive back Paul Stephens led the game with 7.0 tackles and also added an interception. As a team the Shock intercepted Talons starting quarterback Shane Boyd four times.
The Shock started out hot on defense and offense, forcing a Talons turnover on downs in the first drive of the game and following with a touchdown pass from Meyer to Rashaad Carter to put the Shock up 7-0. Spokane’s defense stepped up again on the Talons second drive when defensive back Jimmy Williams came away with his first career interception on a deflected pass. Meyer capitalized again, this time running in an 11-yard touchdown to put the Shock up by two scores at 14-0. Spokane’s smothering defense again took the reins on the following drive when Terence Moore snagged a pick-six to drive the Shock’s lead to 21-0. Down three scores, the Talons again gave the ball away when fullback Mykel Benson fumbled on the first play of the series, eventually recovered by Shock defensive end James Ruffin. Quickly after, Meyer got into the end zone on a quarterback sneak to tie the franchise single-season rushing touchdown record and putting Spokane up 28-0, closing out a dominant first quarter.
The Talons finally broke through for a score to open the second quarter when Shane Boyd connected with his offensive lineman Moqut Ruffins for a 7-yard score, cutting the Shock lead to 28-7. The two teams exchanged turnovers on down before the Shock struck gold again with fullback Rory Nixon’s 3-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-7. San Antonio answered with a rushing touchdown on their own from Benson, who found the end zone on an 8-yard run to get the Talons within three scores again at 35-14. The Shock would have the last word in the first half, though, as Meyer connected with Carter for a 19-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left on the clock. Spokane went into the locker room at halftime leading by a score of 42-14.
The Shock received the kickoff to begin the second half and quickly extended their lead when offensive lineman Mark Jackson hauled in an impressive one-handed catch on a screen pass from Meyer and ran 12 yards for the score, giving Spokane a 49-14 lead. Another screen would yield points for the Talons when on the following drive Benson took a pass 37 yards for the score, bringing the score to 49-21. Meyer made Shock history to wrap up the third quarter, getting into the end zone on an 8-yard rush to break the franchise single-season rushing touchdown record; his 16 rushing touchdowns this year broke his own record of 15 scored in 2013.
Boyd and Robert Quiroga connected for a 24-yard touchdown in the final quarter to cut the Shock lead to 56-28. Meyer was replaced by Brian Zbydniewski on the following Shock drive, who led the team to another score when he hit Nicheren Flowers for a 13-yard touchdown to make the lead 63-28. With the Talons threatening on the following drive, Shock defensive back JT Fitzgerald hauled in an interception on a pass off the net before being brought down for a safety, giving the Talons their final points. San Antonio couldn’t capitalize on the good luck, though. Moore scooped a Talons fumble off the ground and ran it in for his second defensive touchdown of the night to produce the final score of 70-30 in favor of Spokane.
The Shock head back to Los Angeles for their second game of the year at the KISS on Saturday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m. PDT.