Phoenix, Ariz.- With home field advantage and the best record in the Intense Conference on the line, the five-time world champion Arizona Rattlers travel to the state of Washington to take on their longtime rival and conference foe, the Spokane Empire. Arizona and Spokane hold the top two spots in the Intense Conference, with the Rattlers leading by one game. The Rattlers have a chance to clinch a playoff berth in their inaugural Indoor Football League (IFL) season with a win on Saturday.
The Rattlers have played the Empire twice already this season with each team winning on the others home turf. Saturday’s contest will be the third and final regular season game between them.
The last time Arizona played Spokane was Friday May 12 in Spokane. The Rattlers won by a score of 49-35 behind a stellar defensive performance. Arizona recorded six sacks on Empire quarterback Charles Dowdell. Quarterback Cody Sokol went 12/15 with 74 yards passing and three touchdowns and running back Darrell Monroe ran for 87 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Dowdell went 18-29 with five touchdowns, he was also Spokane’s leading rusher in that game with 32 yards gained on nine attempts. Charles Dowdell was released by the Empire one week after the loss to the Rattlers, giving the starting job to quarterback Aaron Wilmer.
In last week’s victory over the Nebraska Danger (7-6), the Rattlers earned the season sweep over their Intense Conference rival. Quarterback Cody Sokol completed ten of 19 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Antonio Vaughan led the offense against the Danger with five catches for 106 yards and pulling in two touchdowns. Arizona has the second ranked scoring offense in the Indoor Football League (IFL).
Defensively against the Danger, Arizona combined for two sacks, four tackles for loss, one interception, five pass breakups, and two quarterback hurries. The Rattlers are ranked fifth in the IFL in passing defense efficiency.
Kicker Sawyer Petre leads the charge on special teams. On point after touchdowns (PATs) Petre is ranked first in total made and success percentage. Wide receiver Jamal Miles is ranked third in the IFL in yards and touchdowns from kickoff returns.
Spokane’s previous game resulted in a 48-43 win over the Colorado Crush (3-10). Quarterback Aaron Wilmer made his second start for Spokane against the Colorado Crush, in that game he successfully completed 17 of 23 with 119 yards and three touchdown passes in the win. The Empire’s offense is tied for fourth with Nebraska in the IFL in scoring, and rank sixth in total offense.
The Empire have the number one ranked total defense in the league. They are led by linebacker Andrew Jackson who has 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, five pass breakups, and one interception.
On special teams, Spokane kicker Craig Peterson is ranked second in the IFL in field goals and first in field goal percentage. Their return man is running back Mulku Kalokoh who is ranked tenth in the IFL with 390 yards on 22 attempts in eight games.
The Rattlers take on The Empire for home field advantage in the post season this Saturday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. PDT at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will be streamed online on YouTube Live.