Power Surge Past Shock, 52-41 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Power Surge Past Shock, 52-41

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Brandon Freeman intercepted two passes and the Power cut Spokane short at the Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night. Brandon Freeman intercepted two passes and the Power cut Spokane short at the Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Things started hot but cooled down quickly for the Spokane Shock as they fell to the Pittsburgh Power, 52-41, on Friday, May 9, in front of 8,724 fans at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Shock (5-3) jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the defense forced the Power (5-3) to turn the ball over on downs on their first possession. Replacement quarterback Donovan Porterie hit Mike Washington for a seven yard touchdown pass on the first Arena Football League play of his career and Spokane's first offensive play of the game. 

Pittsburgh would respond after a 4:26 drive that resulted in a Tommy Grady to Tyrone Goard 2-yard TD pass. The Power would score again after Porterie fumbled the ball inside the Shock 10 yardline when Grady found Hank Edwards for the 6-yard score early on in the second quarter. 

Spokane didn't wait long to tie the game up, Porterie hit Adron Tennell down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown bomb to make it 14-all with 12:39 left in the second quarter. The score proved to be the last time the Shock kept it close. 

Pittsburgh took the lead for a second time with 48 seconds left in the first half on a Grady to Goard 3-yard TD pass. After Poerterie threw an interception to Brandon Freeman, the Power drove down for Julian Rauch to kick a 23-yard field goal as the halftime buzzer blew. Giving Pittsburgh a 24-14 lead going into the break. 

The Power came out of the half with the lights turned on as Freeman intercepted his second pass of the game and a few plays later Grady found Shaun Kauleinamoku for a 28-yard streak and score down the left sideline that just evade Bryant Nnabuife's hands in defense. Pittsburgh began to pull  away, 31-14 early in the third quarter. 

Porterie and company were down but not out of the game, the former New Mexico QB found Adron Tennell for a nine yard TD pass to bring the Shock within 10 with 6:47 left in the third. 

The gap was extended again just a few minutes later when Grady and Kauleinamoku hooked up for another long TD pass, this time on a 23-yard post-corner pattern, in the back-right of the endzone. Rauch's PAT made the score 38-21. 

Rashaad Carter hit the field a week after being named the AFL's J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week and made an immediate impact. Two passes to Carter resulted in a first down and he would go on to score only a few plays later on an 11-yard slant and reach for the score over the middle. A botched point after attempt would make the score 38-28, Pittsburgh leading, with 14:54 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Shock would strike again almost immediately when James Ruffin intercepted Grady's pass and returned it 21 yards for the pick six, bringing the score to 38-34 with Spokane closing the gap and plenty of time left in the fourth to complete a comeback.

Just as the Shock looked to have forced a fourth and one on the Power's next drive, an offside call gave the Power another chance. Grady made the most of it, finding Goard by the boards on the left side and he took it the rest of the way for a 19-yard TD. Pushing the Power lead back to two scores, 45-34 with 9:59 left in the game. 

The Power would add another score in the form of a Grady to Rodney Wright short TD pass with 5:19 left in the final quarter, making the lead 52-34. 

Porterie lofted a ball up to Mike Washington who made an acrobatic 42-yard catch and then a 5-yard TD reception over the middle on the ensuing play to cut the lead to 11 again, 52-41, but it proved to be too little too late for the Shock to stage a comeback.
 
In his first appearance, Porterie threw for 185 yards, 5 TDs but his 3 interceptions proved to be costly for Spokane in the end. Porterie did spread his touchdowns out between four different receivers on the night, with Washington being the only Shock receiver to have two TD receptions. 

"I think we could have won this game, a few calls didn't go our way, but that's how it goes," Spokane defensive back Terrance Sanders said after the game.

The Shock defense came up with crowd alerting hits early and often during the game but couldn't keep the Power from capitalizing on good field position. 

"Sometimes you're going to be put in that situation," DB Bryant Nnabuife said. "You've just gotta play with heart and you've gotta make it happen. It's never a perfect world, so sometimes you've just gotta make it happen."

After a record setting performance vs. the L.A. KISS last weekend, the Shock defense came back to the Spokane Arena looking to replicate.

"We came into the game saying we wanted to hold them to under 28 [points]," Spokane's Paul Stephens said after the loss. "That was our goal and it didn't get accomplished. So we put it on our back and we'll play better."

The Shock will hit the road to face the undefeated Arizona Rattlers next Saturday, May 17.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: QB Tommy Grady (Pittsburgh)

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Brandon Freeman (Pittsburgh)

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Shaun Kauleinamoku (Pittsburgh)

Cutters Catch of the Game: WR Tyrone Goard’s touchdown catch over the boards into his own bench

AFL Highlight of the Game: DE James Ruffin’s 21-yard pick six in the fourth quarter






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