Rattlers overcome slow start, survive in Cedar Rapids
The Arizona Rattlers stumbled out of the gate, but managed to find their footing and come away with a 34-32 victory over the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-10) in front of 2,612 fans at US Cellular Field in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday night.
On the second play from scrimmage, Arizona quarterback Cody Sokol’s pass was deflected high in the air and picked off by defensive back Antoine Johnson, who raced 27 yards for a touchdown and an early lead.
After getting his team to the red zone on their ensuing possession, Sokol (9-of-15, 67 yards, 2 INTs) was intercepted again by former Rattler Demar Dorsey.
A few plays later, Cedar Rapids quarterback Brion Carnes found his favorite target, Conner Hollenbeck, for an eight-yard score giving the Titans a 13-0 lead, four minutes into the game.
The Rattlers (6-4) struck back on their next possession as running back Darrell Monroe found the end zone from eight yards out to cut the Cedar Rapids lead to 13-7.
After a Sawyer Petre field goal pulled the Rattlers within three points, Carnes led Cedar Rapids on an eight-play, 41-yard drive, hitting running back Julian Hayes for a three-yard scoring strike with three minutes to play until halftime.
With 12 seconds left in the half, Sokol spun out of a tackle and ran over a defender on his way into the end zone to keep Arizona within striking distance as both teams headed into the locker room.
The second half saw the Rattlers jump out to a 14-point lead as the defense forced a couple stops and Monroe scored twice more.
The Titans stormed back to make it a game as Carnes threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Damond Powell with 40 seconds left in the game.
Arizona’s defense forced an incomplete pass on the two-point conversion and, after recovering the onside kick, Sokol ran out the clock to preserve the team’s fourth straight road victory.
• The teams combined for 203 penalty yards.
• Cedar Rapids defensive end Chris Martin and Dorsey were ejected for each receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
• Friday marked Sokol’s first game of the season without a touchdown pass.
• In the 4th quarter, with the Rattlers leading by eight, backup quarterback Jon Wolf executed a successful fake field goal for a first down that was called back due to Petre making contact with the ball.
• Monroe, the league’s reigning Offensive Player of the Week, leads the IFL in rushing with 455 yards.
The Arizona Rattlers visit their conference rival Spokane Empire on Friday, May 12.