Shock Look To Bounce Back In Vegas - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Shock Look To Bounce Back In Vegas

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The Spokane Shock will look to earn a road win over the Outlaws after their home drudging vs. San Jose. The Spokane Shock will look to earn a road win over the Outlaws after their home drudging vs. San Jose.

by Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Shock (2-5, 0-2) will go on the road in Week 9 of the 2015 AFL regular season to take on the first-year franchise Las Vegas Outlaws (3-4, 3-1) on Saturday, May 23, at 2:00 p.m. PT at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

This Saturday's game will feature the first of three match-ups between Spokane and the first-year franchise Las Vegas Outlaws slated for the 2015 AFL regular season.

Spokane enters Week 9 with their worst overall record through the first eight weeks of play in franchise history, which also includes a match-up last week against San Jose that featured the worst defeat and least amount of points scored at home in Shock franchise history by a final score of 83-28. The Shock paid an even greater price in last weekend's game, as stand out receiver Mike Washington suffered an Achilles tendon injury that is likely to exclude him from the remainder of the season. An injury that was also sustained by defensive back Sam Pope earlier that week in practice.

In their three games prior to last week's loss to the Sabercats, Spokane was a field goal shy against New Orleans in achieving a three-game winning streak. In Week 7, the Shock faced off against the AFL's worst team in the LA Kiss as they came away with a 68-46 win thanks to the exceptional play by rookie quarterback Warren Smith who would go on to earn J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week honors in his AFL debut after completing 23-of-29 pass attempts for 313 yards to go along with seven total scores.

The Shock's Week 6 loss to New Orleans came on a game-winning field goal by VooDoo kicker Garrett Lindholm to lift his team to a 66-63 win after the Shock were able to tie the game with only ten seconds remaining on the clock. In another nail biter in Week 5, Spokane was able to clinch an overtime win against a hot Orlando team by a final of 56-55 after the Predators elected to go for two after scoring on their opening possession in the extra period and were stuffed on the goal line by the Shock defense.

Spokane has looked to adjustments on their active roster to help improve the squad's consistency while reeling from recent injuries to key play-makers in Washington and Pope. Second-year receivers Rashaad Carter and Nick Truesdell, along with rookie receiver Anthony Amos, will have to step up to fill the void and support rookie quarterback Warren Smith who is expected to get his third start of the season this weekend.

Defensively, the Shock will rely on the veteran presence of their defensive front led by James Ruffin with 5.5 sacks on the season (ranked fifth in AFL) along with Derrick Summers (two sacks) and Terrance Taylor (three sacks). Spokane is currently ranked fourth in the AFL in total sacks (13), one behind two teams tied for second overall in Las Vegas and Jacksonville with all continuing to chase the league leading Sabercats with 24 sacks through eight games.

Setting last week's loss to San Jose aside with the goal of righting the ship, the Shock will prepare to face first-year Outlaws Head Coach Aaron Garcia and a familiar opponent at quarterback for Las Vegas in AFL veteran JJ Raterink.

After a Week 1 loss to the currently undefeated San Jose, the Outlaws came up with a big Week 2 upset over their West Division rival and defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers thanks to two missed field goal returns for touchdowns by rookie wide receiver Gerald Young and an interception that was returned for a touchdown by defensive back Dwight McClean.

Since that Week 2 win over the Rattlers, the Outlaws have recorded only two additional wins against the LA Kiss (Week 3, Week 6) while suffering losses to Jacksonville (Week 5, 28-60), San Jose (Week 7, 28-61), and Arizona (Week 8, 41-60).

Through the first seven games of the season, Outlaws quarterback JJ Raterink has completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, 29 touchdowns and only four interceptions while also adding 20 rush attempts for 50 yards and five scores. Raterink is in his sixth season in the AFL after playing for the Iowa Barnstormers and LA Kiss in 2014. In the Shock's match-up in 2014 against Raterink while he was with the KISS in a Week 8 blowout win for Spokane by a final of 70-21, the Shock held Raterink to 9-of-30 passing for 101 yards, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs.

Over the course of Raterink's career, he has racked up a current total of 19,238 passing yards which ranks him at 17th in AFL history while achieving a touchdown to interception ratio of nearly 5:1. He is currently one of five active AFL quarterbacks within the top 30 all-time as Arizona quarterback Nick Davila is currently ranked 10th (26,307) and Jacksonville's Tommy Grady is ranked 11th (24,696). First on that list is first-year Outlaws Head Coach Aaron Garcia with 62,159 passing yards.

Raterink's favorite target so far this season has been AFL veteran Jomo Wilson who has hauled in 41 receptions for 411 yards and 13 touchdowns. Wilson, in his sixth season, has recorded 533 receptions for 6,765 yards and 161 touchdowns during his career. Las Vegas also acquired receiver Tysson Poots during the free agency process this offseason, but the veteran receiver formerly of the Arizona Rattlers has only recorded one start on the year which came in the first game of the season. He was most recently placed on the Outlaws inactive reserve list on May 1 and has yet to be activated.

The rookie receiver duo of Clinton Solomon (seven games, seven starts, 30 receptions, 337 yards, four touchdowns) and Gerald Young (five games, three starts, 11 receptions, 131 yards, one touchdown) have added a spark to Head Coach Aaron Garcia's offense. However, the health of Young and absence of Poots has left Las Vegas inconsistent at the position as the half-way point of the regular season draws near.

Aside from their offense, the Outlaws defense has struggled to create turnovers while allowing their opponents to score on 84 percent of their attempts in the red zone this season. Las Vegas is currently ranked tenth in the AFL in scoring (45.6 points per game) while keeping their opponents to a relatively small margin and an average of 51.0 points per game (ranked sixth).

While the Outlaws defensive secondary has struggled to create opportunities the defensive front has been led by AFL veterans in Mike Lewis and Terrance Carter, both of whom have registered four sacks on the year. Joe Mortenson from the mac-linebacker position has also recorded three sacks on the season.

This week's match-up will be available on the Shock-VPI Radio Network on AM 700 ESPN Spokane as well as online at www.700espn.com. The game will also be available for viewing on www.WatchESPN.com or on the WAtchESPN app.

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