Phoenix, Ariz. – The five-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (4-4) lost to the Spokane Empire (6-3) at Talking Stick Resort Arena by a final score of 60-51 in front of 12,725 fans.
Arizona was in a tight battle with their longtime rival, the Spokane Empire. Rattlers battled through eight lead changes but just fell short. In the end, the team dropped their third game at home.
“We have got to get mentally tougher,” General Manger and Head Coach Kevin Guy stated after the game. “There are no excuses for it, we have to win at home.”
Rattlers quarterback Cody Sokol completed 22 of 34 passes with six touchdowns, amassing 249 yards against the Empire. He threw one interception in the game as well.
“We had opportunities to win the game and I just got to come out and make plays,” Sokol said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
On special teams, Jamal Miles had 144 yards on seven kickoffs. Kicker Sawyer Petre made an 18-yard field goal and was perfect on PAT’s going six for six.
The defense allowed six touchdowns and 221 yards against the Empire. They did block one extra point.
“We did not play defense”, Guy said, “We could not make a play on the ball.”
The Empire’s offense had 204 yards passing and 17 rushing in the game. Quarterback Charles Dowdell went 13 of 24 with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The first offensive drive of the game ended in a 32-yard missed field goal from Spokane K Craig Peterson.
The Empire sacked Sokol in the end zone for a safety, resulting in the first points of the game.
Spokane’s first touchdown came from a one-yard rush by RB Trevor Kennedy.
Rattlers kicker Sawyer Petre would end the first quarter by successfully making an 18-yard field goal, bringing Arizona within six.
The Empire struck first in the second quarter, when Dowdell threw a 35-yard touchdown to WR Devonn Brown.
Arizona quarterback Cody Sokol responded by throwing an 18-yard pass to WR Fred Williams, pulling the Rattlers within five.
Dowdell answered back by throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to Brown. The ensuing extra point attempt was blocked by LB Justin Shirk.
On the next drive, Sokol pulled the Rattlers to within one possession by throwing a 21-yard touchdown pass to WR Anthony Amos.
Spokane running back Trevor Kennedy extended their lead by catching a 16-yard touchdown pass from Dowdell.
Sokol countered by throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to Williams, closing the gap at halftime to five.
Rattlers struck first in the second half, scoring on a two-yard rush from WR Anthony Amos giving Arizona the lead.
The Empire would score on the next possession from a 13-yard pass from Dowdell to WR Bryan Pray.
On the following drive, the Rattlers scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Sokol to RB Darrell Monroe.
Spokane responded with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Dowdell to Pray.
Sokol would then put the Rattlers up by two by throwing a 19-yard touchdown to Amos.
The ensuing kickoff was returned 54-yards by Kennedy for a Spokane score.
Arizona, on the following drive, scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Sokol to Amos.
Dowdell responded by throwing a 32-yard pass to WR Samuel Charles. Followed by a successful two-point conversion pass to Pray.
With 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Spokane kicker Craig Peterson successfully kicks a 21-yard field goal, giving the Empire a nine-point lead, and the win.
The Rattlers will remain at home Saturday, April 29, 2017, to take on the Blizzard (2-7) at 6:00 PDT. Green Bay is coming off back-to-back losses against the Sioux Falls Storm (8-0). The game will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and streamed online on the Fox Sports Go app and YouTube Live on a tablet, smart phone, or streaming device.
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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.
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