This was the offense Billy Back imagined when he was given the keys to Spokane’s reborn Indoor Football League franchise.
Back, who left National Arena League power Carolina Cobras to train the Spokane Shock, brought in two-time IFL MVP quarterback Charles McCullum in hopes of duplicating their high profile offensive in the domestic Northwest.
It wasn’t a quick transition, but it took shape with Shock’s 50:32 road win over reigning IFL champion Sioux Falls Storm on Saturday.
McCullum’s 2020 season has been canceled, the 2021 season has been postponed, and the first three games of his offense were full of misunderstandings, drops, drive-stalling penalties and other illnesses. He lived up to his preseason bill against Sioux Falls.
McCullum was efficient with his arms and legs against the Storm, an 11-title organization. McCullum joined for 206 yards and three touchdowns on 19 of his 24 tries. He also had four carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
He was named IFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in helping the Shock (3-1) take his third straight win against a Storm (3-2) team at No. 2 in the IFL last week.
“We had a schedule and we stuck with it and our offensive line played great,” said Back. “(McCullum) opened things up with his running ability, kept the defense honest.”
McCullum was also in a spirit of optimism when he handed the ball to a fan in the stands during a drive, thereby incurring an unsportsmanlike punishment.
The Atlanta native, 6-foot-4, has completed 55 of 96 passes for 565 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
Shock running back Davonte Sapp-Lynch had his third multi-touchdown game in three tries, recording a receiving and rushing touchdown after missing out on victory in northern Arizona last week to attend a relative’s wedding.
Kamrin Solomon has scored at least one touchdown in all three games after missing week 2 last month. The former Florida Atlantic University recipient caught two touchdowns on Saturday, including an over-the-wall scoring catch that gave the Shock a 24-16 halftime lead.
Solomon’s 19-yard touchdown grab towards the end of the fourth quarter got the game rolling.
The Shock averaged just 36 points prior to Saturday’s statement win in South Dakota.
“We know we have a good squad,” said Back. “We just have to get better and better, find our rhythm.”
Shock Safety Mike Green, the team’s lead tackler, was a key defensive role with a total of 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Spokane’s defense only surrenders 29 points per game, the best in the league.
The game of the special teams on Saturday was also decisive. The shock forced two turnovers in kickoff coverage and kick-returner Lamar Jordan had a 50-yard kickoff return for a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave Spokane a 37-29 lead.
The Shock returns home on Saturday to face the Northern Arizona Wranglers (0-4) for the second time in three weeks. Fans can participate, but in limited numbers.
Shock near the tip: The Shock came in second in the IFL coach survey of 12 teams.
The Frisco Fighters (4: 0) hold the top position. Frisco defeated the Shock 36-33 in the last few seconds at the Spokane Arena last month. They will meet again on August 7th in Frisco, Texas.
IFL identifies Louisville: An IFL team lost its membership after “failing to fulfill and comply with the obligations of the league,” the league announced on Monday.
The Louisville Extremes (0-4) were scheduled to face the shock on July 3rd in Louisville, Kentucky and August 21st in Spokane.
These games are listed as canceled on the IFL website.
Bad luck for ex-cougs: The Shock recently fired former Washington State recipient Tavares Martin Jr. and placed another former WSU recipient, Kyrin Priester, on the injured reserve.