TAMPA — By all accounts, Tim Marcum is a Storm guy through and through.
The AFL Hall of Fame coach has won three titles with Tampa Bay, and since 1995 Marcum has been the face of the franchise.
Friday, however, his allegiances will be divided.
"I'm going to be the biggest Spokane fan," Marcum said with a chuckle. "I am a huge Shock fan Friday night."
And for good reason. Should Spokane (13-2) defeat Jacksonville (11-4) Friday, the door opens for the Storm (11-4) to improve its playoff positioning with a win Saturday against Orlando. If both happen, the Storm secures the South Division title, the No. 1 seed in the American Conference and homefield for the first two rounds of the postseason.
"I don't want to get my hopes up too high because we have business to take care of Saturday regardless of what happens Friday," Marcum said.
True, but Friday's game will clue the Storm in to what is at stake before hosting Orlando (7-8) in the regular-season finale. The Sharks and Shock are winners of four of their past five, and Spokane is atop the AFL Coaches Poll a second week in a row.
"They're both very good football teams," Marcum said. "And it looks like Spokane will be going all out."
With homefield locked up throughout the AFL championship game, the Shock could decide to rest some players in preparation for the postseason. But with a limited 20-man rosters and momentum at stake, reports out of Spokane are that the Shock has no plans to relax.
"If you're a train and you just went 500 miles, why would you stop 20 minutes from the finish line?" Spokane coach Rob Keefe told the Spokesman-Review. "It takes a long time to get started up again."
Flexing: Local fans can follow the Spokane-Jacksonville game at 8 p.m. Friday on the NFL Network; the switch was announced under the league's flex scheduling.
Ortiz Honored: LB Eric Ortiz was named AFL Ironman of the Week after the Storm's 53-29 win over Alabama on Saturday. At fullback, Ortiz scored on runs of 1 yard and 4 yards, punching in the first two touchdowns and sparking 33 unanswered points. He also recorded 41/2 tackles.
Injuries: WR DeAndrew Rubin, who was expected to miss the Alabama game, caught five passes for 74 yards. DB Daryon Brutley missed the game with a stinger but should be ready to go against Orlando.
Marcum said his only injury concern heading into the Predators game is DB Jonathan Ordway. Ordway, a former Armwood player, was signed last week and intercepted a pass in the second quarter against the Vipers before tweaking his knee late.