Arizona Rattlers grounded by Iowa Barnstormers on road
Two weeks ago, the Arizona Rattlers overcame the loss of starting quarterback Verlon Reed, relying on their defense and running game to top Sioux Falls in a United Bowl rematch.
With Reed still on the shelf, Arizona struggled behind back-up signal caller Jeff Ziemba, falling to the Iowa Barnstormers, 38-28 in front of 5,874 fans at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday night.
The Rattlers started strong as Ziemba hit Anthony Amos in stride down the sideline for an 18-yard score on the game’s opening drive to give them a 6-0 lead.
Iowa quarterback Drew Powell quickly led his team down the field, calling his own number for a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Barnstormers up, 7-6.
Ziemba responded by leading the Rattlers inside the Iowa 5-yard line, but was unable to take advantage, throwing his first of three interceptions on the night.
Iowa pounced on the opportunity as receiver Sheldon Augustine took a pitch, broke a couple tackles and raced 23 yards to the end zone for a 14-6 lead that would hold until the second half.
The Barnstormers opened the third quarter with a six-play, 34-yard drive that culminated in a Powell touchdown toss to Brady Roland to extend Iowa’s lead.
The teams continued to trade scores and stops until late in the fourth quarter, when Arizona recovered an onside kick with a chance to tie but could not move the ball and turned it over on downs, effectively ending the game.
The loss snapped the Rattlers’ 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
• In the first half, Arizona had three opportunities inside the Iowa 5-yard line and came away with zero points.
• Arizona’s defense had no answer for Powell, who finished 9-of-18 passing, ran 19 times for 72 yards and four total touchdowns.
• Ziemba struggled in his first professional start; going 13-of-29 passing for 121 with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
• Earlier this week, Reed was placed on short-term injured reserve; meaning he can return in a couple weeks.
The Rattlers play the first of three in a row at home on Sunday March 18th at Talking Stick Resort Arena against the Green Bay Blizzard. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
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