Rattlers have complete game as they blow past the Blizzard
PHOENIX — The first time the Arizona Rattlers and Green Bay Blizzard met on March 26, the Rattlers needed a missed extra point to emerge victorious, 30-29, on the road for the first time in 2017.
That game also served as a turning point for Arizona as quarterback Darron Thomas was benched in favor of rookie Cody Sokol, who has proceeded to take charge of the offense and lead the Rattlers to a couple of crucial wins.
Saturday night was a perfect example of Sokol’s impact as the Valley product threw for five touchdowns en route to a 64-29 Arizona victory in front of 13,006 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Rattlers’ defensive miscues from the week before seemed to carry over on the opening drive as Green Bay quarterback Matt Behrendt hit Jack Bramswig over the middle for a 45-yard touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Arizona responded as Sokol found Anthony Amos in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard scoring strike to pull the Rattlers even.
The teams continued to trade blows into the second quarter until, after a Green Bay missed field goal, running back Darrell Monroe made a couple of long runs, setting up a Jamal Miles touchdown from a yard out to put Arizona up, 21-14.
Another Blizzard missed field goal led to another Miles’ touchdown and a successful fake PAT had the momentum squarely in the Rattlers’ favor as they went to the locker room leading 29-14.
Arizona continued to pour it on in the second half, scoring on every possession of the half and harassing Behrendt to the tune of five hits, two sacks and two interceptions as the Rattlers won at home for just the second time all season, but made significant strides that head coach Kevin Guy shared on.
“I quit being too hard-headed and started calling some zone and mixing it up a little bit,” Guy said. “I’ve got too much Alabama in me. I want to rush the passer and play man. But overall I’m pleased with the guys. We have to build on it.”
Arizona’s rushing attack was back with a vengeance as the team rushed for 207 yards with Miles, Monroe, Wolf and Fred Williams each finding the end zone on the ground. But the defense’s play after a disappointing showing in last weekend’s loss to Spokane was the biggest catalyst to the team’s most complete victory of the season.
“Coach got on us as a group and we came together during our meeting this week. We went to practice and put in our work and it showed out there on the field,” said defensive back Arkeith Brown. “We went to practice with the mindset that we were going to get better as a whole group and it showed in the game.”
The Arizona Rattlers head back on the road May 5 to meet the Cedar Rapids Titans at 5 p.m.