Phoenix, Ariz – The five-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (0-2) lost to the Iowa Barnstormers (1-1) at Talking Stick Resort Arena by a final score of 51-47 in front of 11,438 fans.
In the home opener of their 25th anniversary season, the Rattlers showed determination throughout the game, coming back from being down two possessions throughout most of the contest and even taking the lead late in the fourth quarter, but in the end they fell short, losing by four points.
“That’s just part of the process with a young team,” said General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy. “They are going to have to learn how to win.”
QB Darron Thomas threw 6 touchdown passes completing 20-36 of his throws in first home game as the Arizona Rattlers starting quarterback. He also ran for 61 yards scoring his first rushing touchdown in front of fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
“Everybody has got to keep pushing forward,” QB Darron Thomas stated after the game. “It is just going to come through more hard work. We just have to keep working hard”.
Iowa took an early lead with a run to the left side by RB Ryan Balentine but could not capitalize on the extra point attempt causing the score to be 6-0.
Arizona Rattlers responded with QB Darron Thomas throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to WR Demarius Washington. After the extra point the Rattlers pulled ahead early.
The Rattlers added to their lead on a four-yard touchdown pass by Thomas that was caught just inches away from the wall by WR Diondre Borel.
Iowa came back in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns, two by ground and one through the air, to retake their lead; making the score 27-14.
With ten seconds remaining until halftime, Darron Thomas threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Amos pulling the Rattlers within just one touchdown at the half. The Rattlers headed into the locker room down by a score of 27-21.
After Thomas threw an interception on the opening drive to Iowa Barnstormers DB Matt Goldsmith, the Barnstormers scored on a 24-yard run by RB Rasheed Williams giving them a 34-21 lead.
Wasting no time, the Arizona Rattlers answered with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Washington on their second play of the drive, slicing the Barnstormers lead to seven.
Taking it himself, Partridge scored on a five-yard touchdown run, extending the Rattlers deficit to 13 with 6:10 left in the third period.
After a pass interference call on Iowa,Rattlers LB Cody Galea tiptoes in the upper left corner of the end zone pulling in the two-yard touchdown pass from Thomas.
The first points of the fourth quarter came from a 27-yard field goal, straight from the leg of Iowa kicker, Kenton Chun. This kick extended the Barnstormers lead by three points.
On the ensuing drive, facing fourth and four, Thomas scrambled for a 20-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to three points. The Rattlers failed to convert the PAT (point after touchdown).
Following the score, the kickoff was recovered by the Rattlers at the Iowa 21-yard line. Arizona then took the lead when RB Ketrich Harmon caught a 21-yard screen pass by Thomas.
With the quick response, the Barnstormers threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to the right side of the end zone, caught by WR Brady Roland.
The Rattlers now enter their bye week, before they face the Colorado Crush (0-1) in two weeks at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Game is Saturday, March 11th at 6:00 p.m. PDT and can be streamed on YouTube Live on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device. It can also be heard on 1580 The Fanatic and 99.3 FM
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Players of The Game
Offensive: Travis Partridge (Iowa)
Defensive: Adam Sauder (Arizona)
Playmaker of the Game: Rasheed Williams (Iowa)
Highlight of the Game: Brady Roland winning TD catch in the fourth quarter
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers were founded in 1992, and are proud members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2017
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