06/26/2009 8:17 AM
As of Friday morning, tickets were still available for Friday nights game. Tickets can be purchased by calling TicketsWest.
For the first time in franchise history, the Spokane Shock host the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and for fans, coaches and players it couldn’t come at a better time, according to Head Coach Adam Shackleford.
“The players like seeing a new team on film. It’s going to be refreshing – even for the Coaching staff – to see a new team,” Shackleford explained. “This game is going to feel a lot like a playoff atmosphere because I know that our crowd is looking forward to seeing someone new too.”
In what has been an up-and-down season for Oklahoma City, the Yard Dawgz are coming into tonight’s game with a 7-5 record. If the playoffs started today, Oklahoma City would be the fifth seed in the National Conference. After jumping out of the gates winning their first four games of the season, Oklahoma City hit a rough patch losing their next five games. Three weeks ago, the Yard Dawgz snapped that losing streak with a win over Arkansas and hasn’t lost since. Last week’s 93-41 win over the Corpus Christi Sharks certainly caught Shackleford’s attention.
“They made plays in all three phases of the game last week,” Shackleford said. “They are a very good football team and they are very talented.”
Oklahoma City’s QB Robert Kent and Spokane’s QB Nick Davila have posted remarkably similar statistics this season. Davila leads the league in passing efficiency (128) while Kent is close behind in second place (127.6). Kent has completed 65 touchdown passes to Davila’s 59 while Davila has thrown only three interceptions to Kent’s ten.
While their statistics might be similar, their playing styles are a stark contrast.
“Kent is more of a scrambler, while Nick (Davila) is more of a pocket passer. Oklahoma City does a lot of three-step drops and precision passing. Kent has done a good job with that,” Shackleford said. “Both QB’s make good decisions and that’s why you see them at the top of the league in many passing categories.”
A fourth-year veteran, Kent is no stranger to the af2. Last season, as the QB for the Lubbock Renegades, Kent faced the Shock and lost in a two-point heartbreaker, 43-41. Kent completed 19 of his 34 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort. He also added three touchdowns on the ground.
“Kent can do some things that concern us in a lot of ways,” Shackleford said. “But at the same time, I know Coach McEwen is trying to figure out how to stop our defensive line with Ben McCombs and the boys. This game is going to be a real chess match.”
Spokane’s defensive line has accounted for 28 sacks (third in the league) compared to Oklahoma City’s 20 sacks (fifth in the league). During Oklahoma’s current three-game winning streak, the defensive line has accounted for nine sacks. Kent has been sacked 11 times in their five losses this season, but has been sacked only nin times in their seven wins. Spokane’s offensive line has given up only five sacks in eleven games.
Davila and Kent aren’t the only two players with similar numbers on these two clubs; just take a look at the wide receivers. Oklahoma City’s receiving corps is lead by WR Al Hunt, who has been with the team since its inception in 2004. Hunt leads the team in receptions (65), touchdowns (28) and receiving yards (987). Spokane’s receiving corps is led by Raul Vijil, who has also been with his team since its inaugural season. Vijil leads the Shock in receptions (83), touchdowns (25) and receiving yards (1048).
In tonight’s historic match-up between the Shock and the Yard Dawgz, Spokane will try to make history of their own. A win tonight will the team its 12th straight victory, the best start in franchise history.