Spokane Shock zap Philadelphia Soul on Arena Football Friday

The Spokane Shock used trickery in the first half and timely defensive play in the second half to convincingly beat the Philadelphia Soul, 75-54, on June 10 in the Arena Football League.

The Shock (5-7) took the opening kickoff and drove down the field, culminating in Markee White making a ridiculous one-handed grab in the back of the end zone on a pass from new quarterback Erik Meyer. White was playing his first game since being activated from Injured Reserve on June 7.

Spokane defensive back Terrance Sanders tallied two interceptions, three pass break-ups, and six tackles on his way to earning Defensive Player of the Game honors.
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Spokane then shocked the Soul (5-8) with an onside kick that was recovered by the home team. Meyer immediately hit Greg Orton for a 39-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Shock then executed and recovered another onside kick, and two plays later, Meyer found White again in the end zone. After the extra point was missed, Spokane had a 20-0 lead before Philadelphia even touched the ball.

The Soul wasted no time, though, when they finally got the ball, with Ryan Vena passing to Donovan Morgan for a one-play, 45-yard touchdown strike.

Philadelphia began their comeback in the second quarter when Keith Stokes returned a kickoff completely untouched for 56 yards and a touchdown. The Soul later capitalized on White fumbling the ball away late in the quarter, followed by a defensive stop on downs. By halftime, the Soul had closed the gap to a 34-28 deficit with the advantage of receiving the kickoff to start the second half.

Vena drove the visiting team down the field at the beginning of the third quarter, and after he hit Larry Brackins in the end zone from 15 yards out, the game was suddenly tied, 34-34.

Disaster struck for the Soul, though, on the last play of the third quarter. Down 41-34, Vena led the Philly offense down to the Spokane five-yard-line but was intercepted at the goal line by Terrance Sanders, who returned it 30 yards and then lateraled the ball to Beau Bell, who took it the final 19 yards for a Shock touchdown.

Then on the very first play of the ensuing drive to start the fourth quarter, Vena was picked off again, this time by Ruschard Dodd-Masters, for another pick-six. All of a sudden, Spokane had blown a close game wide open, and Philadelphia never recovered.

Meyer, who was Spokane's back-up quarterback last season, then went to the Utah Blaze, and was traded back to Spokane on May 29, had a fantastic game back in a Shock uniform, throwing for 332 yards and seven touchdowns against only one interception. He also led the team with nine rushing yards.

Meyer's favorite target was Olson, who finished with 10 receptions, 151 yards, and two touchdowns. White added six receptions for 62 yards and three scores.

On defense for Spokane, Sanders picked Vena off twice and broke up three other passes. He also recorded six tackles. Bell added a sack, two quarterback hits, and 2.5 tackles to his defensive touchdown.

For Philadelphia, Vena threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns but had three interceptions, including the two devastating back-to-back pick-sixes in the second half. Syvelle Newton led the Soul receivers with 10 receptions, 131 yards, and a touchdown, while Morgan contributed eight receptions, 117 yards, and three scores.

The Shock are now in a three-way tie for second place in the West Division, five games behind the Arizona Rattlers with six games to play. They're in a four-way tie for the wild card spot in the National Conference and have an important game on June 18 against the Chicago Rush (9-3) at home in "Deaf Valley."

The playoff hopes for the Soul took a shot, but Philly isn't dead yet. They fall 2.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Power (7-5) and the Cleveland Gladiators (7-5) in the East Division with five games left on their schedule. The Soul host the Tulsa Talons (5-7) on June 17 in a must-win game for both teams.

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Updated Monday, Jun 13, 2011