SPOKANE, Washington – The Empire (1-1) will go on the road in Week 4 of the 2017 IFL regular season to take on an Intense Conference rival in the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-1) thisMonday, March 13 with a 6:05 p.m. PT kickoff.
Monday's game will be the first-ever matchup between the Screaming Eagles and the Empire, and thefirst of four matchups slated for the 2017 IFL regular season.
The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles secured their first win of the season in Week 2 with a two-point
conversion in overtime for a 42-41 victory against the Colorado Crush. In their 2017 debut in Week 1 athome, the Screaming Eagles kept the game within one score in the first half until the Nebraska Dangerran away with the game in the final two quarters of play in route to a 78-47 win.
Salt Lake quarterback Verlon Reed has earned the spotlight for the Screaming Eagles offense through the first two games. Reed has completed 44-of-64 pass attempts (68.8 percent) for 393 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions. On the ground, he has carried the ball a team-high 22 times for 117 yards and one score.
Seven different Salt Lake receivers have caught touchdown passes in the team's first two contests while Devin Mahina and Juwan Dotson lead the team with 11 receptions each. Mahina also leads the team in receiving yards (122) and is tied for touchdown receptions (2).
Last week, the Screaming Eagles had their first bye week of the season along with six other teams. While others focused on their first adjustments of the season and roster moves, Salt Lake went through a coaching change. After securing their first win of the season in Colorado, the team decided to part ways with former Head Coach William McCarthy. Earlier this week, the team announced their newest head coach and a name that will sound very familiar to Spokane football fans in Matthew Sauk.
Sauk spent eight seasons playing in the af2 and AFL before joining the Spokane Shock in 2008 as a
quarterbacks and receivers coach. His second stint in Spokane came in 2010 as an associate head coach and offensive coordinator. Over the past six seasons, Sauk has held the position of offensive coordinator with four different AFL franchises.
While Salt Lake was solidifying their coaching staff, Spokane went on the road in Week 3 to take on the IFL's top offense in the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. In a thrilling game between two 2016 playoff teams, the Empire came up one play short in double-overtime and fell 56-57. In their 2017 debut in Week 2, theEmpire defeated the Green Bay Blizzard by a final score of 34-31 at Spokane Arena.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Empire quarterback Charles Dowdell has accounted for the lion's share of Spokane offensive production with 141 rushing yards and 340 yards through the air. Last week Trevor Kennedy made his return to the line-up, and while he struggled in the running game, he was able to haul in four receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against the Nighthawks.
As the Empire offense continues to gel with some new faces and moving parts through the first few
weeks of the season, the Spokane defense will look to pin their ears back against their first Intense
Conference opponent of the season. In their first two games, the Spokane defensive secondary has
recorded ten pass break-ups and three interceptions while the front has racked up 11 tackles for loss and four sacks.