Spokane, WA - The Spokane Empire (6-1, 3-1) will host the Tri-Cities Fever (3-5, 3-3) in Week 11 of the 2016 Indoor Football League season this Friday, April 29th at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:00 p.m. PT (doors at 6:00 p.m.).
This Friday's game will be the third meeting this season between the Washington state rivals and the first of two to be hosted in Spokane (next game May 20th). The Empire have recorded two victories against the Fever so far this season, including a 52-39 Spokane win last Saturday in Kennewick.
The opportunity for the Empire to stay perfect at home will be no easy task as they face off against the same opponent for the second straight week.
"Anytime you face a team back-to-back, the first game doesn't matter and what happened the weekend before is over. In a rivalry game, anyone can win on any given day," said Empire Head Coach Adam Shackleford. "We have to clean things up on offense, focus on our job on defense, and win the special teams battle. Tri-Cities has one of the best defenses we've faced this year and they will come up here with a chip on their shoulder looking for an upset."
Spokane (6-1, 3-1) continues to lead in overall standings within the Intense Conference as the Nebraska Danger (5-4, 2-1) fell last weekend to the United Conference leading Sioux Falls Storm (7-1, 4-1).
While the Empire have had consistent play this season from quarterback Charles Dowdell, the Fever yet again attempted their rotation system with quarterbacks Hunter Wanket and Pat McCain last weekend. Wanket started the game for Tri-Cities, but after throwing an interception in the first quarter he was relieved of his duties before the end of the half.
McCain went on to complete 12-of-21 pass attempts for 91 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception. He also led the Fever in rushing with 107 yards on 13 carries for two scores.
The Spokane defense has stepped up big the past two weeks as they have allowed less than forty points in each game. The test this weekend will be the depth along the defensive front as injuries have become a factor during the team's four-game win streak. Defensive lineman Toby Jackson and Brett Bowers will both require time off, which includes this Friday's game. The recent injuries led to offensive lineman Brandon Haskin starting on the defensive line last week and Dave Lefotu being on call for in-game reps.
"It's that time of year where you're going to be a little beat up and it has to be the next man up mentality," said Empire Head coach Adam Shackleford. "We're fortunate to have a number of talented players that can help us out in a number of positions. Right now, that goes beyond where they line up on the left and right of the ball and means they may need to line up on the other side of the ball altogether."
This Friday's game is Kid's and Star Wars Night presented by Century Link and HOT 96.9 FM radio Spokane. The first 3,500 fans receive LED Light Sticks courtesy of CenturyLink. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for Happy Hour Night with $1.50 OFF beers at arena concessions until kickoff at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on IFLLive.TV and AM 700 ESPN radio Spokane with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.