San Jose Takes a Bite Out of the Shock - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

San Jose Takes a Bite Out of the Shock

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Dominque Curry nabbed a 36-yard hail mary with no time left in the first half to sway the momentum and crush the Shock on Friday. Dominque Curry nabbed a 36-yard hail mary with no time left in the first half to sway the momentum and crush the Shock on Friday.
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The San Jose SaberCats came to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena with the goal of taking control of the Pacific Division and remaining in first place over the Spokane Shock. A series of Shock missed opportunities gave the SaberCats the 52-34 win and the kept the Shock from earning a valuable tie breaker that might come into play later in the season.

Things started off rocky for the Shock (5-5, 2-1) when Brandon Thompkins dropped a Brian Zbydniewski pass when he was wide open over the middle of the field with no one around to stop him. The Shock were forced to give the ball back to San Jose (7-3, 3-1).

Russ Michna and the the SaberCats didn't wait long to get on the board as the quarterback hit Jason Willis for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11:52 to play in the first quarter.

San Jose would score again on its ensuing drive on a two-yard run by Odie Armstrong after Michna picked apart the Shock defense to advance the SaberCats downfield following Zbydniewski being intercepted by Ken Fontenette in the back of the endzone.

Spokane would finally get on the board late in the first thanks to a 15-yard TD pass from Zbydniewski to Thompkins, but a missed point after attempt would make the score 14-6.

After Armstrong rumbled in another TD from two yards out for the SaberCats, the Shock drove down the field and were threatening in the redzone for the third time on the night. Zbydniewski tried to hit Thompkins near the goal line only to have San Jose's Clevan Thomas jump the route and intercept the ball at the one and return it to the 25 yardline.

The Shock defense kept Michna and Co. from scoring and the offensive unit repaid their hardwork when they cut the lead to eight, again, with only seven seconds left in the first half thanks to a four-yard touchdown run by Zbydniewski. The veteran broke two tackles to get across the goal line.

Spokane fans were quickly disappointed as Michna hit Dominique Curry on a last-ditch hail mary pass with no time left on the clock for a morale-crushing 36-yard TD bomb. The SaberCats would take a 28-13 lead into the break.

"The first half was just so poorly played, with dropped balls and offsides," Shock head coach Andy Olson said after the game. "Then of course giving up the hail mary. We were in it until that happened, that really hurt us, that was by far the biggest play of the game."

Michna would find Curry for another score early in the third quarter and the WR would take a sweeping run in from five yards out late in the frame after another Zbydniewski rushing touchdown for the Shock.

Spokane was able to put 14 points on the board in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough to earn the come from behind win over San Jose.

Zbydniewski finished 24-of-42 passing for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns in the air and another 3 scores on the ground. He also threw two interceptions. 

"Offensively we moved the ball," Zbydniewski said. "They had four big stops in the redzone. That's 28 points right there and we're winning the game"

Olson thought Zbydniewski did enough to put the Shock in a position to win the game.

"I mean he really did enough, he did enough, and we didn't support him enough," Olson said.

With the Spokane sitting at 5-5 after starting the season 5-2 and 2-0 in the Pacific Division, the new signal caller doesn't feel like the team is breaking. 

"I love the character of this team," Zbydniewski said. "Everyone is positive. Everyone is ready to get back to work. During the game after a pick, after the game, I've got guys coming up to me saying, 'hey believe, we believe, we see the potential. Get back in shape and get things going, let's go.'"

Spokane is now on a three-game losing streak and is visibly reeling without star QB Erik Meyer as it heads into another divisional matchup vs. the Portland Thunder next Friday, May 30.

"We're going to continue to work hard," Olson said. "I'm not going to turn and throw the towel in. I made everybody give eachother a hug in there (the locker room) and tell eachother we're going to keep fighting for eachother. We've got no other option."

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: WR Dominique Curry (San Jose)

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Clevan Thomas (San Jose)

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Dominique Curry (San Jose)

Cutters Catch of the Game: San Jose WR Dominique Curry’s touchdown catch to end the first half

AFL Highlight of the Game: San Jose WR Dominique Curry’s touchdown catch to end the first half
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