Shock come away with a close win over Boise, 64-62
Spokane, WA: The Spokane Shock defeated the Boise Burn tonight 64-62 to remain undefeated (6-0) and secure the top spot in the division.
With a sold-out crowd of 10, 557 Shock fans certainly got their money's worth. Coming into tonight's game, only one game separated Boise and Spokane in the divisional race but with a win tonight the Shock have separated themselves two games in front of the Burn.
So far this season the Shock's average margin of victory was 21 points - but against the Burn, the Shock were pushed to their limits winning by only two.
"We battled some adversity throughout the game - with injuries and weird plays, but our guys played hard. It was such a close game it really could have gone either way at the end," Coach Shackleford explained.
As the first half came to a close, Boise lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt with a 35-27 lead. Boise K Ben Scott's kick sailed wide and bounced off of the net landing in WR Raul Vijil's hands. The shifty Vijil used his speed to come up with a 55-yard return for a touchdown to shrink the eight point deficit to two points. Shackleford elected to go for the two point conversion and failed leaving the Shock behind at the half, 33-35, for the first time all season.
LB Kevin McCullough said the team addressed their downfalls at the half and went into the third quarter confident they could finish what they started.
"That's one of the things we talked about in the locker room (at halftime); we're going to find a way to win every chance we have," McCullough said. "That's the kind of team we are. Sometimes it's going to be ugly, but we're going to come out on top."
The Shock had the first possession of the second half and took advantage of it with a 22-yard touchdown strike to WR Andy Olson that pulled the Shock in front of the Burn for the first time in the game, 40-35. Olson, who led all receivers with 132 yards, had eight receptions (second on the team) including two touchdowns.
As the third quarter came to a close, it was the Shock's defense that stepped up and helped swing the momentum back in Spokane's favor. Burn QB Taylor Tharp engineered a drive that took Boise down to the nine-yard line but made a crucial mistake when he was picked off by DB Sergio Gilliam. The Shock capitalized on the turnover and turned it into three points, thanks to a 25-yard Brian Jackson field goal, giving the Shock a 57-49 lead.
Gilliam, who was named the Defensive Player of the Game, seemed to have a flair for the dramatic tonight. With the Shock hanging on to a 57-55 lead, Tharp and the Boise offense was driving; this time with only 55-seconds left in the fourth quarter. Once again, Gilliam came up with a clutch interception that killed their drive and Boise's chance of winning the game.
"We played our game in the second half," Gilliam said after the game. "In the first half, I think our emotions got the best of us. We were behind at halftime and we knew that we needed to get some turnovers. Fortunately, I was able to help my team out and we came away with a tremendous win."
The Shock hit the road next week for their furthest road trip of the season as they head to Fort Meyers, Florida to take on the Firecats. Shock fans can catch the coverage on 105.7 THE PEAK with Larry Weir and Paul Sorensen. The Shock will return to Spokane when they host the Central Valley Coyotes on May 23rd.
JLS Ironman of the Game: SPOKANE - FB/LB Kevin McCullough
Aaron's Defensive Player of the Game: SPOKANE - DB Sergio Gilliam
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: SPOKANE - WR Charles Dillon
The big Game Catch of the Game: SPOKANE - DB Sergio Gilliam, interception at the end of the third quarter
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