Rattlers demolish Blizzard for fifth straight win
Facing a short week after a delayed matchup in Sioux Falls on Monday, the Arizona Rattlers showed no signs of fatigue, rushing for five touchdowns as a team and knocking around the winless Green Bay Blizzard to the tune of a convincing 65-33 victory in front of a season-high 13,825 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday night.
Arizona quarterback Jeff Ziemba got his team started with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Miles on the game’s opening drive. After a missed PAT, the Rattlers led 6-0.
Green Bay would respond quickly on the ensuing drive as Blizzard signal caller Bryan Hicks found Jerome Jones for a 23-yard score to tie the game.
Arizona would answer right back as a Miles’ 9-yard reception and 14-yard run had the Rattlers on Green Bay’s doorstep. Running back Dylan Peebles plunged into the end zone from a yard out to give his team back the lead.
After the defense forced a missed field goal, Ziemba led Arizona on a textbook drive, culminating in a 7-yard scoring strike to Anthony Amos to give the Rattlers a 14-point lead.
The teams continued to trade scores and stops before the half with Arizona holding a 30-13 advantage at the break.
After a Blizzard touchdown drive to open the third quarter, Rattlers’ running back Darrell Monroe broke a couple of tackles and tight-roped the sideline for an electrifying 37-yard touchdown run to push the Arizona lead back to 17.
On the ensuing kickoff, Green Bay kick returner B.J. Hill had the ball ripped out of his hands by Nathan Lindsey and Arizona recovered. Two plays later, Peebles rumbled to pay dirt from two yards out as the Rattlers rolled to their fifth straight victory.
“We didn’t really know what we were going to see tonight,” head coach/general manager Kevin Guy said. “We knew they were going to come in and try to shake some things up and turn some things around. I thought we did a good job of adjusting.”
• Peebles, making his season debut, ran five times for 18 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 41 yards and a score.
• Arizona’s special teams unit (a strength in their win over Sioux Falls on Monday) surrendered two kickoff returns for touchdowns to return specialist B.J. Hill.
• Backup quarterback Verlon Reed saw his first action since the opening drive of the season opener. The former offensive rookie of the year went 8-of-10 passing for 58 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed four times for 18 yards.
• The Rattlers were the more disciplined team, committing just two penalties for 20 yards. Green Bay tallied 11 for 61 yards.
The Rattlers will be seeking the franchise’s 300th victory when they welcome the Cedar Rapids Titans to Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday, April 28th. Kickoff is at 6:00 pm.
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