SPOKANE – The Spokane Shock (5-3) fell 52-41 to the Pittsburgh Power (5-3) in front of 8,724 fans at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.
Spokane, starting a rookie quarterback in Donovan Porterie with three days of practice under his belt, hung close with Pittsburgh most of the game until the Power pulled away midway through the final quarter.
Porterie finished the night 17-37 for 185 yards and five touchdowns. His performance was complimented by the Spokane defense that created two turnovers and one touchdown and forced the Pittsburgh offense into 13 third downs and five fourth downs.
Mike Washington led the Spokane receiver corps with 5 receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown while Adron Tennell added 5 receptions of his own for 61 yards and two scores. Rashaad Carter and Brandon Thompkins both checked in with one touchdown catch a piece.
Spokane’s defense flashed its talent early in the game, stuffing the Pittsburgh offense on their first drive and coming up with a turnover on downs. The following play Porterie found Mike Washington for a touchdown on his first career pass in the AFL, putting the Shock up 7-0. The lead would not stand long, though, with Tommy Grady finding Tyrone Goard for a short touchdown strike to even the score up at 7-7.
After Porterie fumbled the ball on the final play of the first quarter, the Power offense capitalized and scored on their first play in the second quarter with a pass from Grady to former Shock receiver Hank Edwards to take their first lead of the game 14-7. On the ensuing drive Porterie would find Tennell on a deep route for a touchdown, with Tennell making the catch despite having a defender draped over his back; the score would knot the game up again, this time at 14-14. For the second time in the game the Shock defense would come up with a turnover on downs, this time after forcing Pittsburgh into a 4th and 30 situation. However, the Shock would follow with a turnover on downs of their own with an incompletion in the end zone. The final score of the first half would be an acrobatic touchdown catch by Pittsburgh’s Goard, who secured the ball going over the wall into his own bench. Pittsburgh would go into the locker room at halftime with a 21-14 lead.
A Power touchdown opened up the third quarter with Grady connecting with Kauleinamoku from 32 yards out, extending the Pittsburgh lead to 31-14. The answer from Spokane came fast, with Porterie finding Brandon Thompkins on the next drive for an 8-yard touchdown strike, cutting the Power lead to 31-21. With three minutes left in the third quarter Grady would find Kauleinamoku once more, this time from 23 yards out for a touchdown that extending the Power lead to 38-21.
After a strong drive that brought the third quarter to a close, Porterie struck for a touchdown to Rashaad Carter from 9 yards out on the first play of the final quarter, cutting the Power lead back down to 10 at 38-28. On the following drive Shock defensive end James Ruffin would sniff out a Pittsburgh screen attempt, intercept the pass and return it 21 yards for a touchdown, putting Spokane within a touchdown at 38-34. Grady would connect with Rodney Wright and Goard and Porterie would find Washington to close out the game with Pittsburgh on top 52-41.