Editor’s note: When the Tri-Cities Fever opens its Indoor Football League season at home against the Wyoming Cavalry on Feb. 28, it will mark the franchise’s 10th campaign. Over the next 10 days, the Herald will look at the top 10 moments and top 10 players in franchise history. Today is No. 7:
No. 7 moment
The Spokane Shock always seemed to have the Tri-Cities Fever’s number when the two teams played in the same league.
The Shock dominated the series, winning every game between the two teams. Except one.
On one glorious evening — June 16, 2007, to be exact — the Fever held off the Shock 39-34 before a sellout crowd at the Toyota Center in the arenafootball2 league contest.
“We didn’t take Tri-Cities seriously,” said Spokane Shock coach Adam Shackleford — yes, that Adam Shackleford. “I could tell that in the first quarter.”
Fever quarterback Brian Baker was held to a season-low 201 yards passing, but he was only sacked once.
Robert Garth shored up a struggling defensive line, sacking Shock quarterback Andrico Hines three times and forcing a fumble.
Hines was just 8-of-33 passing for 106 yards before being benched in the fourth quarter.
“You never know what you’re going to do,” Garth told the Herald. “That’s the thing with this league, you have to play a lot of different positions.”
The Fever jumped out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown catches by J.R Thomas and Leroy McFadden.
Spokane retook the lead late in the third quarter at 27-26.
But Tri-Cities came back to take the lead for good when Baker hit Deontrae Johnson for a 7-yard TD pass with 12:54 left in the game.
And the Fever had its lone win over the Shock.
No. 7 player
Wide receiver Joey Hew Len
Hew Len played college ball at Southern Utah, got his degree in teaching, then moved to Sacramento to begin a teaching and coaching career.
But he still had some football left in him, he felt.
So he tried out for the af2’s Spokane Shock in a Los Angeles camp, was signed and started the 2010 season with the team.
Midway through the season, the Shock released Hew Len, and Shackleford signed him.
Hew Len finished the season catching 15 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.
But it’s what he did in 2011 that made his mark on the Fever franchise.
Hew Len became the team’s possession receiver, and he caught 79 passes for 881 yards and 26 TDs. He was money in the bank in Red Zone situations.
His performance earned him first-team All-Indoor Football League honors, as he helped lead Tri-Cities to the IFL championship game.
Fever notes: The Fever made a few cuts from the roster this week, letting offensive linemen William Brimfield and Steve Dieckhaus, and defensive lineman EJ Nduka at mid-week. Nduka got released so he could play with the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League. ... Shackleford said Friday he also released quarterback John Uribe and defensive back Moe Lee. “We’ll have to cut three more players by midnight next Wednesday,” said Shackleford. ... Former Fever veteran defensive back Dustin Bell arrived in camp this week. ... The team has the weekend off.