SPOKANE -- The Spokane Shock defeated the Chicago Rush tonight 63-49 in front of a sold-out crowd on Spokane Tribe Field in its home debut on the NFL Network.
With the win, Spokane (13-2) has secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the ArenaBowl Championship. Playoff tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 27th for the first round game that will be held on Friday, August 6th. Tickets can be purchased by contacting TicketsWest.
Spokane got things going Friday night, scoring on its first drive of the game with a 12-yard touchdown reception by offensive lineman Ed Ta’amu from quarterback Kyle Rowley. Chicago quickly fired right back with a two-play drive that was capped off with a 35-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Syvelle Newton, the Offensive Player of the Game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mervin Brookins returned it 56 yards for the touchdown. The offensive fireworks continued from both squads for the remainder of the first half. Chicago quarterback JJ Raterink ended the first half with four passing touchdowns while Spokane’s Rowley ended the first half with five. Both quarterbacks completed 75% of their passes in the first half.
While the offense grabbed the headlines in the first half, it was Spokane’s defense that came up with two critical stops in the second half.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Shock defense came up with a big goal line stand, turning Chicago away on three consecutive rushing attempts inside the five yard line. Then, on fourth down, Raterink’s pass for Newton sailed out of the endzone for the first defensive stop of the game.
Spokane’s offense took over and capped off a four-play, 49-yard drive with a circus touchdown reception by wide receiver Greg Orton. Orton’s touchdown gave Spokane a 14-point lead with just under a minute left in the game.
But, Chicago’s offense would not go away quietly. On the ensuing drive, Raterink put Chicago’s offense in scoring position once again taking them to the four-yard line. The Shock’s stingy defense turned away the Rush on their first three attempts to hit pay dirt. But on fourth and goal, linebacker Antwan Marsh came up with the interception that sealed the win for Spokane.