06/22/2007 2:53 PM
The Shock (7-4) return home this Saturday to tighten their grip on first place against the Boise Burn (4-6). The Burn look to keep playoff hopes alive by avenging a 62-44 loss to the Shock earlier this season.
In the first game between the two teams, the Shock proved their place among the top teams in the division by putting together a complete game offensively and defensively with a 62-44 win. After jumping to an early 21-0 lead, the Shock's offense continued to pound the Boise defense, racking up 322 yards and seven touchdowns. The Shock's defense also played a key role in the win, creating three turnovers (1 fumble and 2 interceptions) and denying the Burn on three 4th down conversion attempts.
The Shock's defense will attempt to harass QB Bart Hendricks and the Boise offense once again. Last week, in their loss against Rio Grande, Hendricks was benched in favor of Casey Rehrer (18-35, 183 yards, one touchdown). However, Hendricks has been named the starter for this weeks game. This season, he is among the league leaders in interceptions thrown (12). The Burn's offense will face the dangerous Shock secondary, led by DB Alex Teems and Rob Keefe. Both Teems and Keefe rank among the league leaders in passes defended (5th and 7th respectively), combining for 42 pass breakups through week 11.
Challenging the Shock's secondary will be the receiving team of WR's Casey Allen, Lee Marks, and Ahmad Harris. The three receivers each average over 50 yards per game and have combined for 37 touchdowns on the season. Harris leads the team with 20.1 yards per reception. Joining these three will be former Shock receiver Chris Stallworth. Stallworth was a member of the 2006 Championship team and then signed with his hometown Stockton Lightning. Stallworth was released from Stockton and was picked up this Thursday by the Burn.
"We will have to play a good football game because they are a very good football team," Head Coach Adam Shackleford said. "I expect Coach Leslie to have them ready to go for this one."
The Shock can attribute their continuing success to their balanced offensive attack. The production of FB Ben Brown (11 rushing touchdowns) has opened up the passing game for Hines and his arsenal of receivers. WR Antwone Savage has been nursing a leg injury for most of the season and will not play this week. However, Raul Vijil who sat out during last week's loss at Tri-Cities, has returned to the starting lineup and will be joined by WR Kelvin Dickens and Chico Mackey.
This game marks the return of former Shock FB/LB Levi Madarieta to Spokane. Madarieta has appeared in all 10 games this season, contributing on both sides of the ball. He has been used sparingly on offense (2 carries and one reception for 11 total yards) but has made solid contributions defensively tallying nineteen tackles, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and sack and a blocked kick.
Kickoff is set for 5:00 PM and the game will be broadcast live on KHQ-TV with Greg Heister calling the action. The game will also air on 105.7 THE BUZZARD with Larry Weir and Paul Sorenson.