With the Arizona Rattlers (12-4) having clinched home field for next week’s Indoor Football League Intense Conference championship game, head coach Kevin Guy made a point of playing some of his non-regular players in Friday’s season finale in Colorado.
Arizona struggled, turning the ball over four times, but managed to prevail in overtime, 47-44, over the Colorado Crush (3-13) in front of 4,107 fans at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
After a Colorado field goal to open the game’s scoring, Rattlers running back Darrell Monroe found the end zone from 6 yards out to give Arizona a 7-3 lead.
The Crush struck back as quarterback Liam Nadler hit Kendall Sanders for a 10-yard touchdown to put Colorado back in front as the first quarter expired.
The Rattlers took the lead once again as Arizona State alum Jamal Miles took a pitch from Cody Sokol and scampered into the end zone from 4 yards out to put Arizona up, 14-10.
The teams continued to trade scores and turnovers until a Sawyer Petre field goal as the half expired extended the Rattlers’ lead to 24-20.
Backup quarterback Darron Thomas, who had not played since the fourth game of the season, took over under center to start the third quarter. Thomas proceeded to lead Arizona on a 10-play, 39-yard drive, culminating in the former Oregon signal-caller finding the end zone from a yard out to give the Rattlers a two-score lead.
After another Crush field goal, Arizona was on Colorado’s doorstep, looking to extend their lead. Thomas fumbled and Crush linebacker Azziz Higgins scooped up a fumble and raced 43 yards the other way for a game-changing score. Nadler hit Sanders for the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Another Thomas fumble led to another Colorado touchdown as Nadler found Lovie Rose, who tip-toed up the sideline for a 31-yard score to give the Crush a 38-31 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Another long Arizona drive led to another Thomas touchdown keeper to pull the Rattlers even once again with 8:28 to play.
A Colorado field goal with 2:09 to play had the Crush poised to steal the contest.
Thomas led another drive to set-up another Sawyer Petre field goal to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
Colorado kicker Miles Bergner nailed his fifth field goal of the night to open the extra frame, putting the onus on the Rattlers to answer.
Miles answered the call, taking a hand-off around the edge and striding his way 18 yards to inside the Colorado five-yard line. On the next play, Ketrich Harmon rumbled his way into the end zone to give Arizona their eighth straight victory.
-The game was likely Colorado’s final contest as an organization after 11 years in existence.
-Arizona quarterbacks attempted just 12 passes.
-The game was Arizona’s first overtime matchup in the IFL. It saw eight lead changes and three ties.
-Safety Bubba Chapman intercepted Nadler on the final play of regulation, his eighth of the season.
-Arizona’s defense allowed just 26 rushing yards and limited Colorado to 27 percent third-down efficiency.
With Spokane losing Friday, Arizona will host the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference championship game on Saturday, June 24th at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.
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