Shock Edge Out Portland 58-48 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shock Edge Out Portland 58-48

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Terence Moore's TD off of James Ruffin's sack and forced fumble gave the Shock the boost they needed to close out Portland on Friday night. (Photo: Spokane Shock) Terence Moore's TD off of James Ruffin's sack and forced fumble gave the Shock the boost they needed to close out Portland on Friday night. (Photo: Spokane Shock)

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Shock earned the win they desperately needed, defeating the Portland Thunder 58-48, after losing three games in a row and the Pacific Division lead in recent weeks.

After what seemed like one of the longest drives in Arena Football League history, the Shock (6-5) got on the board first thanks to a Patrick Afif fumble recovery in the endzone as quarterback Brian Zbydniewski coughed up the ball trying to surge in on the sneak.

The Thunder (3-8) didn't get the ball until the 5:35 mark of the first quarter. They didn't need long to tie the game, scoring on a 4-yard TD pass from Danny Southwick to Eric Rogers. Rogers made two impressive catches to get Portland in the redzone.

Southwick found Rogers for a second score under a minute later after the ball ricocheted off of the uprights and found a Thunder special teamer by the pads at the Spokane eight yardline. Portland took a 14-7 lead.

Enter Nick Truesdell, the wide receiver who just joined the Shock after being cut from the Green Bay Packers after attending mini-camp. His first touchdown reception with the Shock was an over-the-wall high-flying acrobatic catch that will end up on ESPN's Sports Center T0p-10.

"I told him before the game, the first chance you get to go over the boards, go over them," Shock head coach Andy Olson said after the game. "I really did say that to him. I just said it's going to be important for your confidence and it's going to be important for everything. And what does he do? He lays out, I don't even know if he touched the boards. He went right over those things and landed on his back."

Truesdell's next catch was a 27-yard TD reception from Zbydniewski on the corner route to the goaline to give the Shock another tie after Southwick found Jamar Howard to give the Thunder a 21-14 lead moments before.

The Shock would score two more times in the first half, first on a sneak by Zbydniewski and then on their ensuing drive on a 22-yard reception and scamper into paydirt by Mike Washington.

Portland scored late in the half to cut Spokane's lead to seven, 34-27, on a 2-yard sweep from backup QB Darron Thomas.

The second half continued as a back-and-forth affair, with the Thunder and Shock trading touchdowns until the middle of the fourth quarter. Then Spokane began to pull away thanks to James Ruffin and the Shock defensive unit.

Ruffin sacked Southwick twice in a row, causing a fumble on the second, which Terence Moore scooped up and returned for a TD. The score gave Spokane a 55-41 lead With the pair of backfield QB stops, Ruffin took the single-season sack record with, currently sitting at 9.5.

"He's really working on his game," Olson said. "I mean he's getting better each and every week. I think that James (Ruffin) is without a doubt a top-three pass rusher in this game and I'm very happy to have him on my team."

The Shock defense kept up the pressure on Southwick, but the Portland QB would bring PDX within seven again on a 18-yard TD pass to Jeffery Solomon.

Spokane got the ball in the redzone after earning possesion from the onside kick, but Thunder defensive back Bryce Peila tipped up and intercepted Zbydniewski's pass at the five yardline to give Portland one last chance with 2:14 remaining in the game.

Seconds after the announcer told the crowd he had been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, he intercepted his second pass of the night with 26.1 seconds remaining to secure the win. 

Taylor Rowan nailed a 46-yard field goal with 7.2 seconds left in the contest to round out the scoring.

Spokane takes to the road to face off against the Jacksonville Sharks on Saturday, June 7 at 12:00 p.m. PDT in a game televised on ESPNews.

The Shock return home to Spokane Arena to take on the San Antonio Talons on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. PDT. Tickets for the game can be purchased for as low as $14 by visiting SpokaneShock.com.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: QB Brian Zbydniewski (Spokane)

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Terrance Sanders (Spokane)

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: LB Terence Moore (Spokane)

Cutters Catch of the Game: WR Nick Truesdell’s (Spokane) acrobatic touchdown catch over the boards in the second quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game: WR Nick Truesdell’s (Spokane) acrobatic touchdown catch over the boards in the second quarter

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