LIVE ON SWX: Shock Host Meyer, San Jose On Saturday - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

LIVE ON SWX: Shock Host Meyer, San Jose On Saturday

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Terrance Taylor and the Shock defensive line will have a chance to sack their former QB on Saturday. Terrance Taylor and the Shock defensive line will have a chance to sack their former QB on Saturday.

by Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Shock (2-4, 0-1) will return to Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena for Week 8 Arena Football League action to host a Pacific Division rival in the San Jose Sabercats (7-0, 2-0) for the first of three match-ups during the 2015 AFL regular season. Kickoff is set for Saturday, May 16 at 4:00 p.m. PT, doors will open one hour prior to kick.

This Saturday is “Hall of Fame Night” presented by US Linen & Uniform and AM 700 ESPN as the first 5,000 fans receive Shock jersey rally towels courtesy of US Linen & Uniform. Prior to the 4:00 p.m. PT kickoff, the Shock will honor the “9th Man” of Spokane Arena with a special banner raising ceremony and at half-time will retire the jersey of former Shock receiver Raul Vijil. Game coverage will be available via SWX-TV and the Watch SWX app, via radio on the Shock-VPI Radio Network on AM 700 ESPN Spokane and for viewing on WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app.

GAME PREVIEW

The Week 8 match-up between Spokane and San Jose will feature an undefeated Sabercats squad against a Shock team on the upswing after suffering a number of key injuries at quarterback to start the season.

San Jose has been red-hot through the first eight weeks of 2015 and are currently ranked second in scoring offense at 56.9 points per game while also holding their opponents to a league-best 35.9 points per game. Spokane recorded their highest point total of the season last week, scoring 68 against a defeated Los Angeles team, but have struggled against opposing offenses as they are ranked tenth in the AFL in scoring defense while giving up an average of 54.7 points per game.

The efficient passing offense of San Jose is led by former Shock quarterback Erik Meyer. Despite missing last week due to an injury sustained in the previous week's game against Arizona on a late hit from defensive lineman Antajj Hawthorne that has landed Hawthorne a four-game suspension, Meyer has completed 61.3 percent of his pass attempts for 1,406 yards and 33 touchdowns with only two interceptions.

Last week in relief of Meyer, backup quarterback Nathan Stanley led San Jose to a 61-28 win over the Las Vegas as he completed 25-of-42 pass attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Stanley proved in 2014 that he is perfectly capable of being a starter in the AFL after playing in relief of quarterback Russ Michna and helping San Jose to a Pacific Division title and National Conference Championship appearance. No matter who gets the start in Spokane during Week 8 for the Sabercats, the Shock will have their hands full in limiting the San Jose offense to points.

The Shock looked to quarterback Warren Smith in their Week 7 match-up against the LA Kiss and were not disappointed in the rookie's debut performance. Smith earned offensive player of the game honors after completing 23-of-29 pass attempts for 313 yards and seven total touchdowns on the night.

One of the most exciting match-ups on the night will come between two players that are not likely to share the field at the same time in Shock receiver Mike Washington and Sabercats receiver Reggie Gray. Washington has put together an impressive season thus far and in despite of the fact that he has caught passes from five different quarterbacks through the first seven games of 2015. Washington has recorded 51 receptions for 727 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Gray has amassed 50 receptions for 530 yards and 13 scores on the year.

Spokane will face a very different style of secondary this week against San Jose, one whom has recorded a league-high 12 interceptions on the season and is led by veteran defensive backs Ken Fontenette, David Hyland, Eric Crocker, and Clevan Thomas.

Spokane's defense will look to put pressure on the San Jose quarterback and will need to against a Sabercat team that is ranked first in the AFL in turnover margin through seven games (+12). While Spokane didn't turn the ball over last week and scored on all of their offensive possessions, they will need to continue to improve and stay consistent as they currently sit at fifth in the AFL in turnover margin (-1).

The Shock defensive front is currently ranked third in the AFL in total sacks (13), but will be faced with a similar threat by the San Jose defense who has amassed a league-high 21 sacks this season.

MATCHUP HISTORY

The Shock will host San Jose in Week 8 with the all-time series tied at 5-5 which includes nine regular season match-ups over the past five AFL seasons and one playoff game in 2014.

The 2011 AFL season opener featured a Spokane franchise coming off a 2010 ArenaBowl Championship win in their inaugural season, while San Jose would return to action after a two-year leave of absence. The Sabercats were led by quarterback Mark Grieb's 21-of-25 pass completions for 222 yards and six touchdowns, while adding three defensive interceptions on the night against Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley. After posting a 41-14 lead two minutes remaining in the first half, the Sabercats would cruise to a 76-48 home victory. After San Jose started the season 5-2, they would go on win only two more games on the year, losing the next 9-of-11. The Shock would return the favor in Spokane on July 16, in what would be a shootout up until the final minute of the game, when the Shock defense would get a safety against San Jose to take a two-point lead with 58 seconds remaining. In his veteran nature, San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb led the Sabercats down the field and scored with four seconds left on the clock to put the Shock at near impossible odds as they trailed 57-61. On Spokane's next possession, Kyle Rowley would find receiver Randy Hymes for a 34-yard touchdown as time expired in what would be referred to as “The Catch,” as the Shock would go on to win 63-61 and earn a playoff berth before falling to Arizona.

San Jose would visit Spokane in Week 4 of the 2012 AFL regular season hold the Shock to their least points scored at home in franchise history and a 35-69 loss. Mark Grieb threw for 315 yards and seven touchdowns while Shock quarterback Adam Froman, in place of Erik Meyer who suffered a season ending injury in the team's Week 1 game against Iowa, passed for only one score while throwing two interceptions and failed to convert on three fourth-down attempts. Later that same season in San Jose on June 23, the Shock would go on to post a franchise single-game record 90 total points (also the most given up at home by San Jose) led by Kyle Rowley's 12 passing touchdowns. While Grieb tried to keep pace, the Shock defense would rack up three sacks, five fumble recoveries, and two interceptions to propel Spokane to a 90-63 win.

The 2013 season would see the Shock and Sabercats pitted against each other twice during the regular season, each resulting in Shock wins due in part to the team's offensive explosion on the arm of AFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Erik Meyer and Wide Receiver of the Year Adron Tennell. During the first match-up of the season in Week 5 (April 19) at the SAP Center, Shock defensive back Paul Stephens would intercept San Jose quarterback Aaron Garcia five times during the game and set an AFL single-game record as Spokane would go on to a 69-47 win. Later that same season in Week 11, the Shock would jump out to a 34-9 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter and hold San Jose to only 1-of-4 fourth down conversions on their way to a 75-45 victory at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Last season, the Shock and Sabercats would meet three times during regular season play and once more in the first round of the playoffs. The Shock would get the best of the Sabercats in Week 4 as Spokane would take command of the lead early and never look back. Receiver Mike Washington recorded nine receptions for 171 yards and three touchdowns on the night while the Shock defense intercepted Sabercats quarterback Russ Michna three times, sacked him six times, and recovered a fumble on their way to a 73-62 road victory. Despite dropping three in-a-row early in the season and falling to 2-3, San Jose would catch their stride and go on to finish out the season by winning their next 11-of-13 with two of those wins coming against Spokane. On May 23 in Spokane, the Sabercats would hold the Shock to a franchise-low 34 points at home in a 34-52 win as the Spokane would struggle through quarterback injuries mid-season. In their final regular season meeting on June 14 in San Jose the Sabercats would again come away with the win, this time by a final of 37-47. The two franchises would meet once more in 2014 with that final meeting coming in the first round of the AFL playoffs in San Jose. The Sabercats would not only beat the Shock handily, but would hold the Spokane franchise to the least amount of points scored on the road (first time was June 7, 2014 in Jacksonville). The Sabercats win by a final of 55-28, but would fall in the Conference Championship game to the ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers.

SABERCATS SEASON REVIEW

The Sabercats enter Week 8 of the 2015 AFL regular season as one-of-two undefeated teams remaining as they possess an overall record of 7-0 and 2-0 in Pacific Division play.

San Jose visited the first-year franchise Las Vegas Outlaws in Week 1 and gave little doubt to onlookers as to the quality of their roster that was amassed in the off-season as they shot out to a 35-7 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter. The newly formed “all-star roster” of San Jose featured a six passing touchdown performance by quarterback Erik Meyer to four different receivers on the night. The Sabercats defense would intercept Outlaws quarterback JJ Raterink once, but also hold Las Vegas to 1-of-5 fourth down conversion attempts in the 59-41 win.

The LA Kiss visited San Jose in Week 2 and differing talent levels became obvious right away as Los Angeles gave up 20 unanswered points to the Sabercats in the first quarter. Kiss quarterback Adrian McPherson would be pulled and replaced by former Shock quarter Brian Zbydniewski, but a talented Sabercats roster wouldn't allow that to change the outcome of the contest as they would cruise to a 54-28 home victory.

An ugly Week 3 match-up between the Sabercats and Tampa Bay Storm would result in a 36-27 San Jose win. The Sabercats would convert on 2-of-5 fourth down attempts and lose one fumble during the game, however, the Storm seemingly matched San Jose with a turnover every time an opportunity presented itself to allow Tampa Bay to get back in the game. The Storm failed to convert on all four of their fourth down attempts on the night while also giving up one interception and three fumbles.

Over the next four weeks (Week 4-7), San Jose would get back on track offensively and go on to defeat their opponents by an average of 23.5 points per game (62.25-38.75).

During the Week 4 match-up in Jacksonville in which many thought would be an early season preview of this year's ArenaBowl, San Jose quarterback Erik Meyer threw for eight touchdowns and the Sabercats converted on all four of their fourth down attempts. While San Jose flourished, Jacksonville struggled for consistency as quarterback Tommy Grady would be intercepted twice on the night, allowing the Sabercats to clinch a 68-48 win.

Week 5 would present San Jose's first Pacific Division match-up of the season against the Portland Thunder, but would present no real challenge as the Sabercats would go on to a 64-45 win. After achieving the largest deficit of the game early in the third quarter at 51-29, San Jose would give Portland limited opportunities to get back in the contest. Despite three San Jose offensive turnovers (one interception, two fumbles lost), the Sabercats defense would intercept Thunder quarterback Kyle Rowley twice on the night. They would also add two sacks, hold Portland to 1-of-5 third down attempts, and not allow the Thunder to convert on either of their two fourth-down attempts.

In a rematch of last year's Conference Championship game, the Sabercats visited an Arizona team without starting quarterback Nick Davila in Week 6 (foot injury). Forced to play rookie quarterback BJ Coleman, the Rattlers were intercepted three times on the night while only converting on only 2-of-9 third down attempts and 1-of-5 of their fourth down attempts. San Jose would cruise to a 56-43 win, but in the win would see quarterback Erik Meyer exit the game after taking a late hit from Arizona defensive lineman Antajj Hawthorne that would eventually land the Rattlers defender a four-game suspension.

Last week in their second match-up against Las Vegas, the Sabercats looked to backup quarterback Nathan Stanley who proved in 2014 that is he fully capable of being a starter in the AFL while in relief of former quarterback Russ Michna. San Jose would take only one play to score on their opening drive of the game, coming on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Gray. After the Outlaws matched with a score on their own, San Jose would again find the end zone in one play on their second drive of the game (28-yard touchdown pass to Gray). From there, things would begin to unravel for the Outlaws who would be stymied by the Sabercats defense the rest of the game as San Jose would go on to the 61-28 victory.

SHOCK SEASON REVIEW

Through Week 7 of the 2015, the Shock find themselves with an overall record of 2-4 and a Pacific Division record of 0-1 as they prepare for their first of three scheduled contests against San Jose during regular season play.

Starting off 2015 against the defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers was no small task to take on for any team. Shock quarterback Carson Coffman would keep the game within ten points despite the Rattlers scoring on a bar-ball recovery, but on the final series of the first-half Coffman would be taken to the ground and suffer a knee injury that would keep him from finishing the game and the next two contests. He would be relieved in the second half by backup quarterback Jarrett Brown as Arizona would go onto win the Week 1 meeting by a final score of 43-60.

In Week 2 against Philadelphia, the Shock would split the game between quarterback Jarrett Brown and Matt Bassuener. The two would combine for 10 of 25 pass attempts for 138 yards, three passing touchdowns, and two interceptions. After Philadelphia jumped out to a 14-0 lead to begin the contest, the unstable play at quarterback by Spokane would provide the Soul with an easy 43-54 victory.

The Shock visited Portland for their first Pacific Division matchup of 2015 in Week 3. Spokane acquired veteran quarterback Danny Southwick the week of the game and despite only practicing two-days with the team, started out red-hot as he completed his first eight pass attempts for 156 yards and four touchdowns. After a strong first-half, Spokane would open the third quarter with two costly errors. Thunder jack-linebacker Bryce Peila would first score on a 46-yard interception for a touchdown on a tipped pass and then follow it up on the Shock's next series with a three-yard fumble return for a score. The 14-point swing would propel Portland to a 47-43 win after Shock quarterback Danny Southwick was intercepted on Spokane's final drive of the game.

Returning from a Week 4 bye, Spokane hosted the Orlando Predators in what would be their first win of the 2015 season in a 56-55 overtime thriller. After going up 35-21 with just over three minutes left in the first-half, Orlando would go on to record 14 unanswered points thanks to an onside kick recovery and tie the game at 35-35 to end the second quarter. The two teams would trade scores in the third quarter, before a turnover plagued and scoreless fourth quarter would leave the two teams tied at the end of regulation. Orlando would start with the ball in overtime after Spokane chose to be on defensive first, and the Predators would drive the length of the field and score on their opening possession. Electing to go for two to take the eight point lead, the Shock defense would dig in and hold Orlando on the goal line. After a failed onside kick attempt, Spokane quarterback Carson Coffman would find Mike Washington to tie the game and the Shock would follow up the touchdown with a game-winning point after attempt by kicker Taylor Rowan.

In their Week 6 matchup against New Orleans, Spokane started off the game efficiently on offense as they scored on their first two possessions in only two plays each. Despite VooDoo starting quarterback Adam Kennedy having to leave the game in the first-half due to injury, backup quarterback Brian Reader would take over and complete 15-of-26 pass attempts on the night for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Trading scores through the fourth quarter, Spokane would seemingly awaken from their lackluster play and lead a four-play drive with under a minute remaining to tie the game at 63-63 after scoring on a touchdown pass from Coffman to Rashaad Carter and then converting the two-point conversion on a pass to Mike Washington. Kicking off with ten seconds remaining, Shock kicker Taylor Rowan would miss the net wide left and set the VooDoo up on their own 20-yard line which would lead to a 41-yard field goal by kicker Garrett Lindholm as time expired to seal the New Orleans win at 66-63.

Last week, the Shock hosted a defeated LA Kiss team for the first time in Spokane in franchise history. The Spokane offense would be led by rookie quarterback Warren Smith in his first AFL start as he would go on to complete 23-of-29 pass attempts for 313 yards and seven total touchdowns, earning offensive player of the game honors. Shock receiver Mike Washington would earn playmaker of the game honors after recording 13 receptions for 129 yards and four scores on the night, while the Shock would score twice on special teams (Gilliam 52-yard kick return, Truesdell 9-yard net recovery) and once on defense (King 0-yard fumble recovery) in the 68-46 victory.

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