CHICAGO – On a Sunday afternoon that honored the late Johnie Kirton, the Chicago Rush (7-4) used a fumble recovery by his friend Kelvin Morris in the first quarter to widen the lead on way to a 73-62 victory over the Spokane Shock (6-5). 6,418 fans at Allstate Arena witnessed quarterback Russ Michna set Rush single-game franchise records for completions (32), passing yards (412) and touchdown passes (9).
Despite eight first half penalties by the Rush, Michna weathered through a first possession field goal drive to kick his game into record setting fashion. After throwing two incompletions on the first drive, Michna tossed only four incompletions the rest of the way. His prettiest pass came on the second offensive drive, squeezing in a pass between Spokane’s Paul Stephens and Marc Schiechl that landed in the hands of Jared Perry for an early 10-6 advantage.
“We share the wealth,” said Jared Perry discussing the Rush wide receiving core, “Reggie and me just talk about making plays all game long and we were able to get all four of (the wide receivers) involved early in the game.”
The ensuing possession is where Kelvin Morris (3 tackles), who switched his jersey number this week to Kirton's 37, forced and recovered a fumble from Shock WR Steven Black that set up a 36-yard pass from Michna to Terrance Turner. Two second quarter touchdown scores by Reggie Gray and Terrance Turner sustained the two possession advantage on way to a 31-20 halftime lead.
Second half adjustments worked for the Shock as they sprinted out of the break with a 41-yard touchdown grab by Steven Black (7 catches, 111 yards, 2 TD). The dynamic wide out continued his supreme catching by twirling for another sideline catch teeing up the first of three BrandonThompkins (9 catches, 113 yards, 4 TD) touchdowns in the second half. However, no matter the pace the Shock set in the second half, they were never able to make the deficit smaller than four points.
The inability to move closer stemmed from Rush signal caller Russ Michna (32-38, 412 yards, 9 TD) who continued his torrid performance in the second half. Making mince meat of the Shock secondary, Michna eclipsed the Chicago franchise record for passing touchdowns in a game by throwing his 9th to Jared Perry at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
“I feel that way every week,” stated Russ Michna when asked about when he thought today would be a big day. “This offense reacts so well on the run it becomes an easier game. There are only so many things a defense can do.”
The Rush defense answered the playmaking call by forcing three turnovers on the night, two of which came from a secondary that has seen eleven different starters this season. Defensive Player of the Game Semaj Moody intercepted Kyle Rowley late in the second quarter to keep the early 11-point lead safe. Perhaps the most important turnover came from Brian Lainhart, who intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter for the second straight week and gave backup quarterback Luke Drone the ammunition to take a 2-yard run into the end zone for the largest lead of the night.
The 18-point lead was safe for the last six minutes of the fourth quarter, even after Kyle Rowley (29-40, 402 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT) threw his eighth touchdown of the game to close the game back to within 11. His main target on the night was Adron Tennell, who took advantage of Rush newcomer Leslie Majors to the tune of 10 catches and 153 yards, but only one touchdown.
The victory gives the Rush their seventh win of the year and ignites confidence as they look ahead to a tough road matchup against the Utah Blaze (7-5) on June 9th.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – CHI Jared Perry
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – CHI Semaj Moody
JLS Ironman of the Game – SPO Terrance Sanders
AFL Playmaker of the Game – CHI Russ Michna
Cutters Catch of the Game – CHI Jared Perry’s TD reception that pushed Russ Michna to the Chicago Rush single-game record for passing touchdowns
Spalding Highlight of the Game – SPO Terrance Sanders 55-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
National Guard MVP – CHI Russ Michna
CHICAGO, IL – The Shock (6-5) traveled to Chicago, IL to take on the Chicago Rush (7-4) at Allstate Arena in a Week 13 AFL match-up. Chicago was led by QB Russ Michna, throwing for 412 yards and 9 TDs as the Rush would go on to defeat the Shock by a final score of 62-73.
First half action proved to be a slow start for Spokane. After holding Chicago on their game opening drive to a FG, Spokane was able to respond on a pass from Rowley to Brandon Thompkins from 9-yds out for a TD, taking a brief 6-3 lead. The Rush would go on to score back to back touchdowns one of which came on a 36-yd TD catch on a 3rd and 30 situation from Michna to Turner. Chicago would also gain a fumble recovery to post a 17-6 first quarter lead.
As second quarter action continued, Spokane was able to keep pace with the continuing success of Chicago’s offense. Adron Tennell caught a 35-yd TD pass from Rowley to start the quarter. Chicago’s following drive would take nearly four and a half minutes off the clock and was capped with a 19-yd TD pass from Michna to Gray. Steven Black of the Shock responded with a 18-yd TD pass from Rowley to bring the game within four points, however, Chicago was able to connect on a screen pass to the right side from Michna to Tuner for an 11-yd TD. With just under a minute in the half, Spokane attempted to drive the field and was intercepted by Chicago on an overthrown pass. As time expired, the Rush attempted a 20-yd Field Goal that would be missed and send them game into half-time with Chicago leading 31-20.
In the first half, Kyle Rowley completed 15 of 20 passes for 190-yds with 3 TDs and 1 INT. Adron Tennell lead the Shock in receiving with 7 rec for 116-yds and one TD. For Chicago, Russ Michna completed 17 of 21 passes for 235-yds and 4 TDs. Terrance Turner led the Rush with 6 rec for 99-yds and 2 TDs.
Third quarter action would begin with Steven Black taking a quick hitch route for a 41-yd TD after breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone, quickly bringing the game within four points. Back and forth action would continue with each team posting 28-point quarters in the third. Terrance Sanders would make his presence known yet again this week, returning his fourth kick return for a TD this season late in the third quarter for 55-yds. Kyle Rowley eclipsed his single game yardage mark (previously 271 yards) in the third quarter of the game as the Shock offense continued to try to keep pace with Chicago’s offensive production led by QB Russ Michna and his trio of receivers: Turner, Perry, and Gray.
In the final quarter of play, Chicago continued their offensive onslaught with little opposition from Spokane’s defense. As the Shock offense continued to feel pressure to produce, an overthrown pass would be intercepted by the Rush for their second of the game and then capped by a short TD run by QB Luke Drone to give Chicago an 18-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Spokane was unable to recover late onside kick attempts or pull the game within reach, falling to Chicago by a final score of 62-73.
Shock QB Kyle Rowley completed 29 of 40 passes for season high 402-yds with 8 TDs and 2 INTs. Adron Tennell would lead the Shock receiving effort with 10 rec for 153-yds and 1 TD followed by Brandon Thompkins (9 rec for 113-yds and 4 TDs) and Steven Black (7 rec for 111-yds and 2 TDs). Terrance Sanders recorded his fourth KIR for a TD this season and accumulated 214-yds.
Rush QB Russ Michna completed 32 of 38 passes for 412-yds and 9 TDs. Jared Perry led Chicago’s receiving effort with 11 rec for 131-yds and 4 TDs followed by Terrance Turner (9 rec for 138-yds and 3 TDs) and Reggie Gray (8 rec for 91-yds with 2 TDs).
Next week, the Shock will return to Spokane home to take on the Kansas City Command on Saturday June 9th with a 7pm kickoff. The first 5,000 fans will receive Rockstar Dance Team Posters.