Screaming Eagles fall short against high-scoring Rattlers

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The five-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (4-3) remained perfect in conference play with a 73-60 win over the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-6) on Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. The win keeps the Arizona within striking distance of the Conference lead.

The Rattlers racked up eight rushing touchdowns in their win Saturday night, a feat that has not been seen before in Arizona. Running back Darrell Monroe led the way with five touchdowns, a new team record.  He finished with 80 yards on 14 attempts (5.7 yards per rush). Jamal Miles had a big day on the ground as well, adding 22 yards and three touchdowns. Miles also returned the initial kickoff for a 56-yard touchdown. Quarterback Cody Sokol had a productive night, completing six of his 10 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He did have one interception.

The Rattlers secondary had a big night too. Defensive backs Allen Chapman and Arkeith Brown each had an interception, and Nathan Lindsey picked off two two-point conversions. 

Salt Lake quarterback Verlon Reed accounted for most of the Screaming Eagles offense, scoring eight total touchdowns. He completed 20 of his 32 passing attempts for 162 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 11 times for 107 yards (9.7 yards per rush) and four more scores. 

Arizona got off to a quick start as wide receiver Miles returned the kickoff 56 yards for a score. After forcing the Screaming Eagles into a three-and-out, the Rattlers drove the ball down the field and took a 13-0 lead on a two-yard rush by Monroe.

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The Screaming Eagles responded. Reed took the ball 34 yards for a touchdown on the second play of their drive. On the next Rattlers possession, Sokol was sacked by defensive end Jerrod Black and fumbled the ball, which defensive end Benjamin Compton recovered and returned 10 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Trent Andrus missed the extra point, leaving the score locked at 13. 

The Rattlers closed out the quarter with a touchdown by Miles, and Arizona led 20-13 after one.

Salt Lake found some momentum in the second quarter. Five seconds into the quarter, receiver Cy Strahm hauled in a nine-yard pass from Reed. On the following drive, Sokol threw an interception on third down, and the Screaming Eagles used a field goal by Andrus to take the lead.

The two teams took turns scoring through much of the rest of the half. Arizona scored on a nine-yard run by Monroe. Salt Lake responded with a 17-yard pass from Reed to Strahm.

It appeared the Rattlers would close out the half with a one-point lead after a 21-yard field goal by kicker Sawyer Petre with 23 seconds left. However, Reed threw an interception on the goal line to Chapman. With four seconds left, wide receiver Fred Williams caught a short pass from Sokol and took it 42 yards for a score. The half ended with the Rattlers leading 38-29.

The second half began with an interception of Reed by Arizona's Brown. The Rattlers scored two plays later on a two-yard run by Monroe. 

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The rest of the third quarter was a seesaw battle. Salt Lake scored on a 25-yard run by Reed. The two-point conversion failed. The Rattlers responded with a 20-yard run by Monroe. Salt Lake closed out the half with a three-yard pass from Reed to wide receiver Devin Mahina. The two-point conversion attempt by Reed was picked off by Lindsey. The Rattlers took a 52-41 lead into the fourth.

The two teams alternated scoring throughout the rest of the night. For the Rattlers, Monroe rushed the ball in twice, a six-yard run and a 15-yard run, and Miles scored from on a one-yard rush. For the Screaming Eagles, Reed took the ball in twice—an eight-yard run and a one-yard run—and tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juwan Dotson. Dotson's score left the Screaming Eagles down 73-60, a score which held in the game's final seconds. 

The Rattlers return home this Saturday, April 22, to take on the conference leading Spokane Empire (4-2). The winner of Saturday's game will take first place in the Intense Conference.

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