07/16/2006 10:08 AM
- Courtesy Bob Highfill
Record Staff Writer
STOCKTON - The Spokane Shock had too much to play for to be ambushed in Stockton.
The Shock, an expansion franchise with the best record in arenafootball2, clinched the National West Division and a first-round bye in the ArenaCup playoffs with a 63-44 victory over the Lightning in front of 7,572 fans on Saturday at Stockton Arena.
The game was marred by an ugly altercation by several players with less than one minute remaining in the game. The fracas started when Lightning receiver Kenyatte Morgan and Shock defensive back Isaiah Trufant got tangled in the end zone following an incomplete pass in the end zone. Punches were thrown and the coaches separated the players, as the final 56 seconds ran off the clock. After order was restored and the game was officially over, many players knelt in a circle at midfield.
Spokane, which also secured home-field advantage for the postseason, scored 21 unanswered in the second quarter and pulled away with a touchdown to open the third quarter. The Shock (12-2) won its fourth consecutive game and improved to 6-1 on the road, while Stockton (5-9) lost for the third time in its last four games and fell to 2-5 at home in its inaugural season. The Lightning remained mathematically alive for the playoffs, thanks to Central Valley's victory over Bakersfield (7-7) on Saturday. The Lighting can make the playoffs, if it wins the remaining two games and Bakersfield loses its final two games.
Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley efficiently ran the offense in only his third start this season. The former Brown University player completed 20 of 25 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Stockton's Josh Blankenship went 24 for 45 for 344 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, but Stockton entered the final stanza trailing 49-32.
The Shock outscored the Lightning 21-6 in the second quarter and led 35-19 at halftime.
Charles Frederick continued his hot streak for the Shock, registering 5 more touchdowns in the game. His 3 receiving scores and 2 on the pushed his total to 33 touchdowns in his last 7 games.
Schutt Offensive Player of the Game: Kyle Rowley - Spokane
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Isaiah Trufant - Spokane
US Army Ironman of the Game: Charles Frederick - Spokane
Cutters Catch of the Game: Atnas Maeko - Stockton