Shock Face Cleveland In Hopes Of Higher Playoff Seed - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Shock Face Cleveland In Hopes Of Higher Playoff Seed

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The Spokane Shock have a chance to earn as high as the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The Spokane Shock have a chance to earn as high as the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

by Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Shock (6-10, 2-4) will go on the road in Week 19 of the 2015 Arena Football League regular season to take on the Cleveland Gladiators (7-9, 3-2) at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 4 p.m. PT.

Game coverage will be available online via WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. PT on the Shock-VPI Radio Network on AM 700 ESPN Spokane.

MATCH-UP HISTORY

This will be the sixth match-up all time between the two teams as Cleveland leads the series 3-2.

The most recent meeting took place during the 2014 AFL regular season on April 19 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena as Cleveland converted on a hail-mary pass off the rebound nets to steal the 52-50 win from the Shock. The Gladiators would go on to finish the 2014 regular season with an AFL all-time record of 17-1 and would then go on to seal division and conference championship accolades in route to an ArenaBowl appearance against the Arizona Rattlers where they fell by a final score of 32-72.

GAME PREVIEW

The Shock will enter Week 19 against the Gladiators on a two-game win streak after defeating the Portland Thunder in Spokane last weekend by a final score of 42-40 and the Arizona Rattlers in Week 17 by a final of 52-45. The back-to-back wins marks the first time this season that Spokane has recorded consecutive wins.

The win over the Thunder last weekend and the loss suffered by the LA KISS has secured Spokane a spot in the 2015 playoffs with two regular season games remaining along with Arizona and San Jose. Portland (4-12), Las Vegs (5-10-1), and Los Angeles (4-12) will continue to battle it out for the final spot in the National Conference playoff race.

Cleveland will return to Quicken Loans Arena this Saturday after coming off a much needed Week 18 bye week as they suffered a four-game skid which started on June 19 against Tampa Bay. After suffering a four-point loss to the Storm, the Gladiators were blown out in Jacksonville by the Sharks 41-74. They then went on to drop the next two games against Philadelphia (56-72) and Orlando (58-65).

In the American Conference, Philadelphia has locked up the number-one seed and home field advantage while Orlando has secured a playoff berth. Cleveland is currently one game ahead of Tampa Bay (6-10) and two games behind Jacksonville (9-7).

Through 16 games in 2015 the Gladiators are averaging 53.8 points per game (ranked sixth) while they have given up 54.3 points per game (ranked tenth) to their opponents. The Shock are averaging 47.1 points per game offensively (ranked eighth) while giving up a league-high 54.9 points per game to their opponents.

The Cleveland offense is led by third-year quarterback Shane Austin (second season with Cleveland) who is ranked fourth in the AFL in total offense at 274.8 yards per game. He has completed 380-of-614 pass attempts (61.9 percent) for 4,240 yards, 92 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. He has also added 48 rush attempts for 157 yards and ten touchdowns.

Arvell Nelson is expected to get the nod for the Shock under center again this week after starting the last two games and recording wins against Arizona and Portland. So far this season, Nelson has completed 61-of-102 pass attempts (59.8 percent) for 644 yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions. He has also added 26 rush attempts for 68 yards and six touchdowns.

The Gladiators’ quarterback Austin has distributed the wealth among his top-three receivers this season. Dominique Goodman leads the team with 130 receptions for 1,231 yards and 27 touchdowns in 14 games this season. Collin Taylor has added 127 receptions for 1,381 yards and 36 touchdowns while the receiver and special teams’ dual-threat of Amarri Jackson has recorded 86 receptions for 1,116 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s also added 67 kick returns for 1,351 yards (20.2 yards per return) for three touchdowns on the season.

The Shock receiving effort is led by rookie Anthony Amos through 15 games who has hauled in 101 receptions for 1,109 yards and 17 touchdowns. Nick Truesdell has added 73 receptions for 879 yards and 22 touchdowns in 14 games. Rashaad Carter recently returned to the line-up after missing six games mid-season with a thumb injury. He has recorded 60 receptions for 753 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

Protecting the football has not been a strong point for either team this season. Cleveland is tied for eighth this season in turnover margin (-10) while Spokane is ranked seventh in the AFL (-6).

Defensive back Joe Phinisee leads the Gladiators secondary with four interception on the season. Devon Dace, who started the 2015 season with the Shock, has started the last two games for Cleveland and has added one interception.

The Shock defensive secondary has been led by rookie defensive back Mike McMillan over the last five games who has recorded five interceptions. Two of his five games were multi-interception games (at Portland June 21, versus Arizona July 17).

The two teams are in the middle of the pack in sacks this season. Cleveland has recorded 24 through 16 games, led by Willie McGinnis with 7.5. Mike Alston has added 5.5 sacks on the season and Anthony Degrate four. Spokane has recorded 23 sacks so far this season, led by James Ruffin who is ranked sixth in the AFL with nine. Derrick Summers has added seven sacks this season while Terrance Taylor has recorded 3.5.

Cleveland has done a great job of protecting their young signal caller this season and have allowed only ten sacks through 16 games this season (ranked third). Spokane, on the other hand, has allowed 31 sacks (tied-tenth).

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