SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Shock defeated the Stockton Lightning 62-21 Saturday night and will advance to the second round of the playoffs. In other playoff action, the Boise Burn defeated the Arkansas Twisters 77-36 and earned the right to play against the Shock in Spokane on August 8th. Tickets for the game will go on sale this Monday (August 3rd) at noon through TicketsWest.
The Stockton Lightning drew first blood scoring on its first possession thanks to a 26-yard pass from QB Chad Cavendar to WR Troy McBroom. Cavendar continued to pour on the offense with two more touchdowns, after connecting with WR Etu Molden and leading receiver Brandon Horace, taking a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.
That lead was short lived after Spokane scored four-straight touchdowns and held a 35-21 lead after the first half of play.
The first touchdown in that series was a 40-yard bomb to WR Charles Dillon that seemed to electrify the crowd and wake up the Shock's offense. On the ensuing kick-off, Spokane's K Brian Jackson hit the bottom of the field goal post and the kick landed right in Sergio Gilliam's hands. The Shock drive started on the five-yard line and scored three plays later thanks to a one yard rushing touchdown by QB Nick Davila.
"Stockton is a good football team, they came out and played strong," Head Coach Adam Shackleford said. "This is the playoffs and they are not going to lay down for us, but a big special teams play got us back into the game."
Spokane's WR Raul Vijil added another one-yard touchdown run and the first half ended with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Davila to WR Markee White.
In the second half, things went from bad to worse for the Lightning. The first four drives of the second half ended with interceptions by Spokane's DB Stanley Franks (1) and by Defensive Player of the Game, DB Sergio Gilliam (3). On Gilliam's third interception, he returned it 52-yards for a touchdown. Gilliam's three interceptions broke Spokane's playoff record for most interceptions in a single game.
Shackleford's defense put continuous pressure on Cavendar in the second half and not only forced three interceptions, they also accounted for two sacks, courtesy of DL Caesar Rayford and DL Frank Morton.
"The defense has been the backbone of our team all year - they really played well," Shackleford explained. "Our pass rush wasn't as effective early as it was in the third and fourth quarter. "
Cavendar ended his night with 245 passing yards and three touchdowns. Davila completed 240 passing yards with five touchdowns. WR Andy Olson led Spokane's receivers with six receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Saturday's victory over Stockton was the fourth time Spokane defeated them this season. Next week, the Shock will look for a fourth straight victory over Boise, but Shackleford knows that will not be an easy task.
"Beating a team four times is tough to do," Shackleford said. "It was tough to do tonight and it's going to be even tougher against Boise next week."