Empire fall to Storm 62-32, will play Rattlers Friday - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Empire fall to Storm 62-32, will play Rattlers Friday

Next up: Empire take on the Rattlers Friday Next up: Empire take on the Rattlers Friday
By Spokane Empire
SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Empire (7-3, 6-1) fell to the Sioux Falls Storm (9-1, 6-1) by a score of 62-32 in Week 12 of the 2017 IFL regular season at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
 The first half of play showcased why these two teams are ranked at the top of their respective conferences.  Spokane jumped out to a quick seven-point lead as Empire kicker Brendon Garcia’s first half kickoff took a weird bounce away from the Storm return man and was recovered by Empire defensive back Qua Cox.  Cox recovery set up a short field as Empire quarterback Charles Dowdell ran the ball six yards in for the touchdown over a minute into the first quarter.
The Storm, whom were short receivers in this game as their back up quarterback Drew Powell was penciled in as their 3rd receiver for the game, put together a drive capped off by Storm quarterback Lorenzo Brown nine yard run into the endzone. Storm receivers Jared Elmore and Eric Shufford were signed just days before the game and had not taken a snap during this IFL regular season campaign. The duo together combined for three touchdowns on the night.
In the second quarter, the Storm took their first lead of the night when Storm QB’s Powell and Brown connected for 11 yards. The Empire failed to score until the 1:00 warning of the half when QB Dowdell found Empire receiver Sam Charles for 12 yards and his first touchdown on the night.
Just before the half the Storm had an opportunity to strike again before halftime to increase their lead to 14 but Empire defensive back Tyree Robinson would pick off Storm QB Brown in the endzone to prevent a score. The Empire would run out the clock and go to the locker room down only by one touchdown.
Spokane would receive the second half kickoff but failed to convert on 4th down turning the ball over in Spokane territory. Sioux Falls would continue to get excellent field position throughout the second half as all of the Storm’s drives in the half began in Empire territory. With his first touch in the IFL, WR Shufford would rush the ball in five yards to extend their lead.
Spokane kept it close through the halfway point in the third quarter when Empire WR Charles would make a leaping catch into the stands for 26-yard grab from QB Dowdell. Charles would finish the game with all three receiving touchdowns for the Empire and 63 receiving yards.
Empire defense had a difficult time containing the 2016 IFL second leading rusher Storm QB Brown as he rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns. However, Empire defensive back Robert Brown would make the second Empire interception on the night in the endzone and run it back for his second pick six of the season.
Sioux Falls would seal the game with back to back interceptions on two Spokane possessions, one from QB Dowdell and the other from back up Empire quarterback Aaron Wilmer that would eventually increase the Storm lead to 30 points with just six minutes left in the game. Defensively, for Sioux Falls linebacker Tyler Knight would lead the way with one interception, one and half sacks, one and half tackles for losses and seven solo tackles. Empire QB Dowdell was sacked three times on the night contributing to a stall on offense in the second quarter.
Empire quarterbacks Dowdell threw 8-of-19 for 84 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while Wilmer completed 3-of-5 passes for 30 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Empire defense was led by linebacker Andrew Jackson who had the only sack on the night, two tackles for losses, and eight solo tackles.
 
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NEXT HOME GAME
The Empire will be back in action this Friday, May 12 to face off against the Arizona Rattlers for their first of two meetings at the Spokane Arena.
Friday’s game will be broadcast live on the IFL’s YouTube Channel and also available on 700 ESPN and 105.3 FM radio in Spokane with Larry Weir on the call. To purchase tickets go to Ticketswest.com or call 800-325-SEAT or contact the Empire ticket office at 509-242-7460. 
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