Rematch: Shock beat rival Fever 59-56 at home
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Shock beat the Tri-Cities Fever 59-56 Saturday at the sold-out Spokane Arena, in their second match-up this season.
The Shock's offense put up a total of 269 yards, it's highest of the season, and scored on every drive.
QB Nick Davila, who was awarded the Schutt's Offensive Player of the Game Award, was nearly perfect as he didn't throw an incompletion until the third quarter. This is the rookie's second start in as many weeks.
"This was just another week for him to get live reps and it showed," Head Coach Adam Shackleford said.
Davila spread the ball equally among his starting receiving core-Raul Vijil, Andy Olson, and Kelvin Dickens- who each had six receptions on the night. Remarkably, Dickens and Olson also each had 75 yards receiving while Vijil came just one yard short of their total with 74. .
The Shock's defense had their hands full with the rejuvenated Fever offense, scoring on eight of their nine drives. Coming into tonight's game, the Fever had a two game winning streak thanks in large part to their new quarterback Josh Keller. Keller was knocked out early after a late hit by DL Harrison Nikoloa that forced the Fever to put their offense in the hands of back-up QB Tali Ena. At 6'5" 245 pounds, Ena usually lines up on the defensive line, but has experience at QB in the AFL and at Washington State University.
Ena completed 67% of his passes with 235 passing yards and four touchdowns - not bad for a defensive lineman.
"Tali played out his mind tonight," Shackleford explained.
Coming into tonight's game the Shock's defense had only given up 216.8 yards/per game, but the Fever put up 290 yards thanks in large part to leading receiver JR Thomas. Earlier this season, the Shock secondary shut Thomas out of the endzone but tonight he led the team with three receptions.
But what proved to be the difference tonight was Pasco-native Vijil. Vijil collected 174 all-purpose yards and gave Davila excellent field position for every drive and allowed them to score on every position for the first time this season.
"He plays so hard, he plays so tough that he earns respect from the teams he plays," Shackleford said.
Saturday night's victory gave the Shock a 3-1 led in the all-time series and maintain a perfect record for the season.
JLS Ironman of the Game: SHOCK: RAUL VIJILUS
ARMY Defensive Player of the Game: SHOCK: Nygel Rogers
Schutt's Offensive Player of the Game: SHOCK: Nick Davila
Cutter's Catch of the Game: SHOCK: Raul Vijil
AT&T MVP: SHOCK Raul Vijil