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Danger drop to Rattlers on last second field goal

Danger drop to Rattlers on last second field goal

By Ross Struss, Staff Writer

The Arizona Rattlers came to the Heartland Events Center for the first time since joining the IFL and left victorious against the Danger 39-36.

The first quarter of the game saw a lot of back and forth action. Nebraska received the ball after losing the coin toss and attempted a field goal. Kicker Nicholas Giaffoglione, a newcomer to the Danger, missed wide left. Nearly six minutes later after a very methodic drive by Arizona, the first score of the game occurred when the Rattlers quarterback, Cody Sokol, found receiver Anthony Amos for a touchdown and the lead 7-0. The Danger were able to answer right back less than two minutes later when Danger quarterback, Derrick Bernard, found Dimitri Stimphil for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The quarter ended with both teams deadlocked at seven points apiece.

The Danger started the second quarter by getting a big third down stop. However, Arizona took advantage of a broken coverage on fourth down to score, as Sokol found Fred Williams in the back of the end zone to give the Rattlers the 14-7 lead. Nebraska again answered back, this time with methodic drive that was capped with quarterback Bernard bull-rushing his way into the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game up at 14 points. On the next Arizona possession, the Danger defense stepped up and got a turnover on downs. First offensive play of the next drive, Nebraska running back Rob Brown ripped the Rattlers defense for a 20-yard run. Then Dello Davis took a 21-yard pass into the end zone, giving the Danger the lead 20-14 after a blocked point after attempt. Both teams would score one more time, ending the half with the Danger leading 26-21.

"We had some special teams mistakes in the first half that we would like to have back. Overall though I thought we played well. Arizona is a great team and they showed us where we really need to do some work," said Head Coach Hurtis Chinn.

Arizona moved the ball very efficiently to start the second half. However, Danger linebacker Nikolas Sierra sacked Sokol on third down to stall the drive. Arizona then missed a field goal attempt to give the ball back to Nebraska. The Danger had their own drive stall out and attempted a 61-yard field goal that was blocked. Nebraska recovered the block in the end zone, resulting in a safety for Arizona who cut the Danger lead to three points, 26-23. After the safety, Arizona marched down the field capping the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass, regaining the lead. On the ensuing kick, Eric Thomas took one to the house, scoring after returning the ball 36 yards for the touchdown. The Danger again led by three points, 33-30. Arizona responded with a field goal with 48 seconds left. That score would end the quarter with the game tied at 33.

Two drives took up over half of the fourth quarter. The first drive, the Danger fumbled on the two-yard line after nearly scoring a touchdown. After that, the Rattlers put together a nearly seven minute drive that finished with them scoring a field goal to take the lead, 36-33. After a couple mistakes and a holding penalty, the Danger salvaged their next drive with a 23-yard field goal from Giaffoglione to tie the game at 36. The Rattlers made a big third down conversion to get a first down at the Danger 12-yard line. A few plays later, Arizona kicked a field goal with 1.5 seconds left in the game to take the lead and the victory, 39-26.

"Like most games it came down to getting one or two more stops that makes the difference. Tonight we didn't get those stops and it cost us the game," said Chinn.

The Danger next play at the Heartland Events Center on April 22nd against the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles.

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