Spokane to go Swimming with the Sharks, Add WR Flowers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane to go Swimming with the Sharks, Add WR Flowers

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Can Nick Truesdell mimic his performance that helped the Shock defeat Jacksonville. (Photo: Spokane Shock) Can Nick Truesdell mimic his performance that helped the Shock defeat Jacksonville. (Photo: Spokane Shock)
by Spokane Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Shock (6-5) head across the country to take on the Jacksonville Sharks (3-7) this Saturday, June 7 at 12:00 p.m. PDT in Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNews.

While it will be the first time this season the two clubs have met, this will be their sixth matchup since the Shock joined the AFL in 2010. Spokane leads the all-time series 4-2, including a resounding 62-40 road victory in their last meeting in July of 2013.

The Shock are coming off a crucial 58-48 win over their Pacific Division rivals, the Portland Thunder. Hosting the Thunder at home for the second time this year, the Shock offense dropped their largest point total in four weeks thanks in part to four turnovers created by the defensive unit.

Spokane quarterback Brian Zbydniewski, in his second start with the team, finished 23-36 for 273 yards and five touchdowns while adding a score on the ground. Wide receiver Mike Washington contributed 11 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns while rookie receiver Nick Truesdell, playing in his first AFL game, hauled in four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

Truesdell’s first career touchdown catch was one to be remembered, an incredible acrobatic catch over the walls that earned him AFL Highlight of the Week honors.

Jacksonville enters the contest on a two-game losing skid, having most recently fallen to the Tampa Bay Storm 56-35. Sharks quarterback R.J. Archer completed 27 of 48 passes for 271 yards and five touchdowns in the loss.

The Shock bring the fifth-ranked defense and sixth-ranked offense into the matchup, with the defense allowing only 48 points per game through 11 games. Spokane’s defense also leads the AFL in sacks with 26, 9.5 of which have come from James Ruffin. With his two-sack performance against the Thunder, Ruffin broke the franchise single-season sacks record. Spokane’s 19 team interceptions puts them in a tie for third in the league, only four behind the league-leading Pittsburgh Power.

Washington leads a Shock offense that has scored 53.2 points per game thus far, bringing in a team-leading 61 receptions for 788 yards and 15 touchdowns. Zbydniewski will get the call once more at quarterback and has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 576 yards and seven touchdowns in his two starts.

While Ruffin continues to dominate up front for Spokane, linebacker Terence Moore and newly returned defensive back Paul Stephens hold together the back end. Moore has racked up a team-leading 61.5 tackles, five interceptions and four fumble recoveries, while also accounting for three touchdowns. Stephens has accounted for 42 tackles, one interception, and 20 pass break ups.

The Sharks offense has put up 52.5 points per game and is led by Archer, who has tallied over 2500 yards and 55 touchdowns. The Sharks leading receiver, London Crawford, was placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the month; Crawford had contributed 75 receptions, 975 yards, and 23 touchdowns. In Crawford’s absence, the Sharks will look to Jeron Harvey to lead the receiving corps; Harvey has totaled 64 receptions for 708 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The game kicks off at 12:00 p.m. PDT and can be viewed nationally on ESPNews, online at ESPN3.com, or through the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage can be found through 700 ESPN Radio.

The Shock complete their road trip with a visit to the San Jose SaberCats before returning home to take on the San Antonio Talons on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. PDT. Tickets to the game can be purchased for as low as $14 by visiting SpokaneShock.com.

Shock Add WR Flowers to Roster

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Shock have announced the assignment of veteran wide receiver, Nichiren Flowers (6-2, 200).

Flowers spent four years playing collegiate football with the Nevada Wolf Pack from 2002-05. During those four season he recorded 214 receptions for 2,648 yards and 14 touchdowns. In his senior season he started all 12 games, tallying 55 receptions for 706 yards and two touchdowns.

A three-year veteran of the AFL, Flowers first broke into the league with the now-defunct Los Angeles Avengers in 2007. His best season came in 2010 with the former Chicago Rush when he hauled in 61 receptions for 892 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“Flowers has the AFL experience, he’s more than capable of coming here and being productive for us right away,” Shock Head Coach Andy Olson said. “He’s crafty, he definitely knows the AFL game. I think the most important thing is he knows how to get open.”

In two corresponding roster moves, the Shock placed defensive back Josh Pleasant (5-9, 195) on injured reserve while also placing fellow defensive back JT Fitzgerald(6-1, 205) on inactive reserve.

The Shock are headed across the country to take on the Jacksonville Sharks this Saturday, June 7 at 12:00 p.m. PDT in a nationally televised game on ESPNews. They return to Spokane to face the San Antonio Talons on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. PDT. Tickets to the game can be purchased for as low as $14 by visitingSpokaneShock.com.

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