Rattlers begin another AFL title defense with win

PHOENIX — The Arizona Rattlers’ quest for a four-peat started strong with a 60-43 home win over the Spokane Shock on Saturday night.

The Rattlers began their run at history first with the unveiling their 2014 ArenaBowl championship banner, and with the Arizona governor Doug Ducey doing the honorary coin flip. It ended with an exciting win for Arizona.

Spokane started strong with a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Coffman to wide receiver Mike Washington.

The Rattlers answered with a 1-yard run from fullback Mykel Benson, after a 30-yard pass from quarterback Nick Davila to wide receiver Jared Perry put them on the one.

The Shock responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Washington. The extra point attempt from kicker Taylor Benson was blocked by linebacker Tyre Glasper.

Arizona once again answered with a touchdown catch from wide receiver Jared Perry from a scrambling Davila. The drive stayed alive because of two converted two first downs from Benson.

The ensuing kickoff clanked off the upright and was recovered by Rattlers wide receiver Markee White for another Arizona touchdown. After a good extra point attempt from kicker Jeremy Shelley, the Rattlers held a 21-13 lead.

The second quarter started similar to the first for Spokane with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Washington.

After two big receptions of 18 and 14 yards to White that put the Rattlers in scoring position, Davila finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chase Deadder.

Spokane’s very next play was a completed pass from Coffman to wide receiver Rashaad Carter who fumbled the ball and was recovered by Rattlers defensive back Jeremy Kellem. Arizona capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by Benson. Shelley’s extra point attempt was blocked by nose guard Terrence Taylor.

Coffman slowly drove the Shock down the field on their next possession, which concluded with a 3-yard run by nose guard Bryson Kelly.

Spokane failed to recover their onside kick, putting the Rattler’s in good scoring position. The Shock’s defense, however, was able to hold, and forced Arizona to attempt a field goal. Shelley’s attempt was good, giving the Rattlers a 37-27 lead.

The Shock had 36 seconds left in the half to work with, and was able to drive down to the Rattlers 7-yard line. But with 1 second left, linebacker Glasper broke through Spokane’s line and sacked Coffman, ending the half.

The Rattlers did not slow down in the second half with 13 unanswered points. It began with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Deadder. Shelley’s extra point attempt was no good. Arizona’s defense came up big with a forced fumble on backup quarterback Jarrett Brown by defensive end Marcus Pittman, which was recovered by Glasper. The Rattlers then scored on a 5-yard pass from Davila to Deadder, making the score 50-27.

At this point Spokane’s fortunes began to turn with 16 unanswered points. It began when Brown scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown run. Then the Shock’s linebacker Derrick Summers sacked Davila for a safety. The Shock then took their next possession down for another touchdown with a 3-yard run by Kelly.

Unfortunately for Spokane, this was the closest they got to the Rattlers. Arizona added 10 more points with a 16-yard field goal from Shelley and a 2-yard touchdown run from Benson.