QB Drew Powell shines in Rattlers debut
PHOENIX – The league-leading Arizona Rattlers (9-0) maintained their hold on first place in the Indoor Football League (IFL) as they defeated the Nebraska Danger (5-5) 56-46 in front of 9,889 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday. The Rattlers remained one game ahead of the Iowa Barnstormers (8-1), who defeated the Cedar Rapids River Kings (1-9).
“I was pleased with the team that we found a way to overcome adversity two weeks in a row.” Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Guy said. “Last week, we played two games within five days and we’re a tired football team. This bye week comes at a good time.”
QB Drew Powell made his Rattlers debut in relief of QB Jeff Ziemba early in the second quarter and went 8-of-10 passing for 96 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also had 11 carries for 63 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“It felt good to get back on the field with the team in an actual game which feels like forever now,” Powell said. “It feels good to get out there with those guys and execute.”
WR/RB Jamal Miles had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown, while WR Jarrod Harrington had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.
Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong was 9-of-19 passing for 132 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He also had eight rushes for 73 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. WR Johnny Jackson IV had four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns, and RB Davonte Sapp-Lynch had 134 all-purpose yards, a rushing touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown.
On defense, Rattlers DL Lance McDowdell led the team with 4.5 total tackles and two tackles for loss. DB Allen Chapman had two interceptions and DB Dillion Winfrey also had an interception.
For Nebraska, LB Robert Haynes had eight total tackles, DB Najee Bright had an interception, and DB Brandon Roe forced a fumble.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Rattlers opened the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by Miles.
The Danger answered as Armstrong found Jackson for a 10-yard pass to tie the game 7-7.
Powell put Arizona back on top as he threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Harrington.
After an interception by Winfrey, Miles scored again on an 8-yard carry to give the Rattlers a 21-7 lead.
Sapp-Lynch returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to cut the Danger deficit to seven.
Harrington would restore the Arizona lead to 14 as he ran it in from 3 yards out with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
The Danger started the second half with the ball and Sapp-Lynch scored on a 13-yard run to make the score 28-20.
The Rattlers took advantage of a short field on their next possession with Powell finding the end zone on 7-yard run to increase their lead.
Following another Arizona interception, this time by Chapman, Powell got his second touchdown run of the game with an 18-yard carry.
Nebraska would rally for 18 unanswered points, starting with a 14-yard touchdown run by Armstrong.
After Bright intercepted a Powell pass in the end zone, the Danger would add six more points as Armstrong connected with Jackson again on a 17-yard pass.
Another Rattlers turnover led to the Danger pulling to within four as Armstrong found WR Eric Thomas for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
After a 23-yard completion to RB Darrell Monroe on fourth down, Powell would run it in from 4 yards out to put the Rattlers up by 11 with 7:40 to play.
Armstrong answered with a 27-yard touchdown run and then completed a pass to WR Gregory Dent Jr. for the two-point conversion to make the score 49-46 Arizona with 3:52 left in regulation.
Powell connected with Miles for a 15-yard touchdown pass on the next Rattlers possession to extend their lead to 10 with 1:48 left.
Chapman would make his second interception to end Nebraska’s comeback bid and seal the win for Arizona.
The Rattlers are on a bye next week and will start a three-game road trip in San Diego against the Strike Force (1-8) on Sunday, May 19 at 5:05 p.m. AZT. Fans can watch all the action live on YouTube.
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers were founded in 1992, and are proud members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). In the two seasons that the Rattlers have been in the IFL, they have won one championship in 2017 and was in the conference championship last season. The Rattlers spent 24 seasons in the Arena Football League (AFL), and in that time made ten appearances in the ArenaBowl, winning in 2014, 2013, 2012, 1997 and 1994. For tickets, call 602-514-TDTD (8383), or visit www.azrattlers.com.
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