PHOENIX — It wasn’t exactly the smooth, unstoppable offense we’re used to seeing, but the Arizona Rattlers did just enough right to score a 60-43 win over the Spokane Shock at US Airways Center Saturday night.
Quarterback Nick Davila, working with an all new corps of receivers, completed 21-of-36 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns and fullback Mykel Benson found the end zone three times in the win.
Spokane led 13-7 in the first quarter, but the Rattlers took their first lead when Davila found Jared Perry on a 9-yard touchdown strike. On the ensuing kickoff, kicker Jeremy Shelley hit the post, the ball squirted away from Spokane return man Ruschard Dodd-Masters and was recovered by Arizona’s Markee White in the end zone for the touchdown.
That two-score turnaround in :38 gave the Rattlers a lead they’d never relinquish.
The defense, which returned mostly intact from last year’s ArenaBowl championship team, played well.
Linebacker Tyre Glasper had a great game, registering a sack, a fumble recovery and a blocked extra point.
The sack came at a key moment late in the first half. With the Rattlers leading 37-27, Spokane head coach Andy Olson opted to go for a touchdown with only seconds remaining to try an make it a one possession game.
Glasper sacked Carson Coffman, killing the scoring threat and knocking Coffman out of the game.
“With one second left in the half, it was a big play,” Glasper said. “I just thank the lord that I can make those plays for my team.”
Chase Deadder, who was acquired a few weeks ago in a trade with the Jacksonville Sharks, played well in his first game in the black and copper. The former Sacramento State star caught 9 passes for 73 yards and three touchdowns.
While the offense still put up 53 of the team’s 60 points on the night, there were too many dropped passes by the group.
Head coach Kevin Guy also pointed out that Spokane was able to score three touchdowns on fourth down after the Rattlers did a good job of holding the Shock on third-down situations. Spokane was only 1-of-5 on third down.
• Governor Doug Ducey served as an honorary captain and participated in the coin toss at midfield.
He Said It
“We’ll get better. It’s game one, we’re never going to undermine a win, but I’m not happy with where we are offensively — I let that be known before the game. We’ll continue to get better.” — Head coach Kevin Guy
The Rattlers are on the road the next two weeks, starting with a trip to Las Vegas to battle the expansion Outlaws at Thomas & Mack Center next Saturday night.
Guy said he hopes to have receivers Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed back for that game.