Arizona Rattlers

Rattlers’ Big Second Quarter blows open tight game

Photo - Arizona Rattlers

(Glendale, AZ)  Arizona returned to the Snake Pit after a tough loss to the Vegas Knight Hawks last week 55-50 in Sin City and fell to fifth place in the IFL Western Division.

With the season winding down and two home games left, there was no room for error if the Rattlers were to make the Playoffs.

First Quarter

Iowa came out fast and scored on a twenty two yard pass to a wide open Quian Williams to get the Barnstormers on the board 7-0.

Rattlers on their first possession marched down the field and Shannon Brooks wiggled in from the three yard line to tie the score 7-7 at the 9:49 mark of the opening quarter.

Both offenses were on point early in the game and the defenses would have to adjust.

Arizona got that big defensive effort that forced a twenty one yard field to put Iowa up 10-7 but still a victory for the Snakes defense.

On the ensuing kick, the ball hot the referee and was recovered in the end zone by the Rattlers, but it counted as a one point rouz to make the score 11-7 Iowa. Not a play you see often.

That ended the first quarter at the Snake Pit.

Second Quarter

Arizona wanted to trade the four points for seven points and they got it with quarterback Dalton Sneed diving in from five yards out to put the Rattlers back on top 14-11.

The Rattlers’ defense continued its lockdown effort and forced another Iowa fourth down. A field goal the length of field attempt was wide.

Photo – Arizona Rattlers

The Snakes took only two plays to get back on the scoreboard when Sneed connected with Nih-Jer Jackson on a twenty nine yard pass and stretched the lead to 20-11 after a failed conversion kick.

Iowa continued to start deep in their own territory but a nice sideline route got the ball over midfield. The next play however, Jermaine Doubs got the pick and a nice return into the Barnstormers’ Red Zone.

Iowa’s defense stepped up and forced a fourth and six for the Rattlers. Sneed avoided the rush and got the ball to the two yard line. A play later, Brooks dove in for the touchdown and a. 27-11 lead with 3:48 left til halftime.

Once again, Iowa began its possession at their own five yard line. On a third down, Alt threw a forty six yard bomb to score with under a minute left and tightened the score 27-18.

The Rattlers gave Iowa a gift on that play. Those types of lapses sometimes have come back to haunt Arizona in the past.

Sneed used his timeouts and effectively and had the ball at the Iowa one yard line with 8.8 seconds left. Brooks went over top of the pile and Arizona took a 34-18 lead into the locker room.

Third Quarter

With Arizona getting the ball to start the second half and a sixteen point lead, Coach Guy wanted to keep the momentum going. The Barnstormers defense had other ideas. They held the potent Rattler offense in check and got the ball after stopping them on downs.

Witht the change of possession and seemingly stopping the Arizona momentum, Alt threw his second interception and Dillion Winfrey took it back deep into Iowa territory.

On a delay keeper, Sneed waltz into the end zone and the momentum swung back to the Rattlers at 41-18 at the 6:51 mark of the quarter.

Iowa couldn’t catch a break as their field goal attempt sailed wide and the Snakes came out on offense again.

The Barnstormers couldn’t figure out Coach Guy’s changing defenses and the fact they were again always starting their possessions near their own end zone.

Fourth Quarter

Arizona was having their way on offense and defense kept the pressure on as Sneed once again used his legs to score and a 48-18 blowout lead in the desert.

Alt still with his head in the game, rolled  to the right and threw a thirty seven yard wobbly pass that  found Williams at the exit gate in the end zone for a touchdown that made the score 48-26 after a two point run and 12:423 left in the game.

The Barnstoners only hope was quick short passes hoping to soften up the Arizona secondary.

That plan failed as well when Davontae Merriweather intercepted Alt and put the Rattlers in business at the Iowa six yard line.

Arizona had everything going for them but still had difficulty getting the ball in the end zone. On a fourth down at the one yard line, Brooks took the pitch from Sneed and scored to make the score 55-26 as the clock was now the ultimate enemy.

Photo – Bill McCulloch/602 Sports Talk

With a big lead, the Snakes could play more aggressively on defense and with Iowa’s inability to start their drives with any kind of decent field position.

The Barnstormers still tried everything in their bag of tricks to score, but the stiff Arizona defense only would give them short yardage plays, as they locked down the Iowa receivers on long routes.

One last gasp for Iowa to score before the final whistle had them on the Rattlers’ fourth and goal from the Arizona four yard line, but the pass was high and out went the lights for the Barnstormers.

Final Score Arizona 55-26

Coach Guy went into detail about the good defensive effort tonight and it was a key win after last week’s loss in Las Vegas.

The Knight Hawks lost tonight to Bay Area moving Arizona into the fourth and final playoff spot with two games left.

Next weekend, the Tucson Sugar Skulls come to Glendale for their second game of the rivalry. Tucson lost to the Snakes 38-32 in the Old Pueblo on May 11th.

Tonight’s attendance was 9,039 at Desert Diamond Arena.


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