SPOKANE, WA – The Empire (4-1) defeated the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-3) in Week 6 of the 2017 IFL regular season by a final score of 53-36 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Spokane jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead after the Empire defense forced turnovers on Salt Lake's first two possessions of the game by way of a fumble recovery and an interception by linebacker Pasquale Vacchio.
Wide receiver Devonn Brown hauled in four touchdown receptions last week against the Colorado Crush and added two more last night against Salt Lake, each coming in the first quarter of play on 15 and 24-yard passes from Charles Dowdell.
The Screaming Eagles fought back before the half, closing the gap to two scores after a 35-yard field goal with just over three minutes left on the clock. After Salt Lake had blocked an Empire 20-yard field goal attempt, they were in a position to score thanks to a 25-yard pass from Verlon Reed to Breon Allen which placed the ball at the Spokane one-yard line. But following the long pass play, Allen slammed the ball into the top of the dasher boards and drew an unsportsmanlike call which pushed the Screaming Eagles back ten yards. The Empire would go on to hold Salt Lake to a pass short of the first down marker and, with no timeouts remaining, were unable to get a final play off before the half would expire with Spokane leading 24-10.
Salt Lake opened the second half with a boost of momentum as they put together a two-play scoring drive, but then the Empire blocked ensuing point-after-attempt, and defensive back John Hardy-Tuliau would scoop and score the two points for Spokane. On the Empire's next possession, running back Mulku Kalokoh found the end zone for the first of two rushing scores on the night to extend the Spokane lead to 33-16. For the rest of the night, the Screaming Eagles would only get as close as ten points as the Empire would cruise to their second win against Salt Lake by a final score of 53-36.
Spokane quarterback Charles Dowdell completed 8-of-18 pass attempts for 102 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He also added nine rush attempts and a team-high 59-yards on the ground with two scores. Mulku Kalokoh also added 12 rush attempts for 56 yards and two touchdowns. The Empire receiving effort was led by Devonn Brown as he hauled in four receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Empire was led by Nick Haag with six total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Pasquale Vacchio and John Hardy-Tuliau each recorded interceptions. Spokane did not give up a rushing first down to the Screaming Eagles, who ran the ball only six times on the night. They held Sale Lake to only 1-of-7 on third down and 1-of-3 on fourth down conversions.
Salt Lake quarterback Verlon Reed completed 22-of-34 pass attempts for 237 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. He connected consistently with three different receivers on the night as Strahm, Allen, and Calhoun each recorded six receptions for more and over 50 yards receiving.