Spokane Shock turn back Sugar Skulls in first meeting

SPOKANE – The Spokane Shock made sure the Tucson Sugar Skulls’ first trip to Spokane wasn’t a sweet one.

Courtesy of four Davonte Sapp-Lynch touchdowns, the Shock (6-2) dispatched the Sugar Skulls 45-34 on Saturday in front of 4,150 fans at Spokane Arena.

“I see it everyday in practice, he brings the energy,” head coach Billy Back said of Sapp-Lynch. “His family was in the stands tonight, so he had that juice turned up a bit higher. Glad they got a show. He is the total package. He runs, catches it, turns it. He is awesome to watch.”

Sapp-Lynch celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday and turned in the best game of his young Shock career on Saturday. He finished with 60 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, and added an electrifying 59-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

He celebrated by jumping onto the boards and into the stands to hand a ball to a young fan. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed – to the ire of the home fans.

“Honestly, I do this for the kids to be entertained, to have fun and have a good experience at these games,” Sapp-Lynch said. “So I’ll take a 15-yard penalty as long as I’m making some kid’s day.”

Sapp-Lynch sealed the game with a rushing touchdown with 4½ minutes left , giving Spokane a 45-34 lead.

“Yeah, he showed out,” mother Delissa Lynch said. “Any time he has his family, that is just an extra boost because he already plays hard, but sometimes I think he plays a tad bit harder (in front of family). Just a blessing to be able to come out and watch.”

Throughout the game, Lynch was seen on her feet, pumping the crowd up. The fans responded and left a solid mark on the mom of former Seahawks great Marshawn Lynch.

“Oh my God, it was wonderful. The crowd was awesome. I’ll be back,” mom Lynch said.

A week after allowing only 1 yard rushing, the Sugar Skulls were pushed around time after time by Sapp-Lynch and quarterback Blake Sims.

“For the most part, our O-line played great. We had great run schemes and made some adjustments in the run game,” Back said. “Five-, 6-, 7-yard (gains), that’s all you can ask for.”

Sims finished with 61 yards on eight attempts. Through the air, he was 10 for 19 with a touchdown.

His lone touchdown went to Keyvan Rudd from 9 yards out for Spokane’s first score of the game.

Back still would like to see more consistency out of the passing game and crisper reads as the players diagnose the coverage at the line of scrimmage.

Back complimented the run defense, but the defense as a whole was stingy on multiple occasions, stonewalling multiple fourth-down attempts by Tucson (2-7).

The final fourth-down stop came with 2 minutes left, giving the Shock the ball and the keys to running out the clock .

Mike Green had a game-high 11 tackles to extend his IFL-leading tackle count and Tre Hornbuckle and Josh Augusta added a sack apiece.

Spokane heads to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. to battle the Duke City Gladiators for the first time in franchise history.