PHOENIX, Ariz. – The six-time world champion and first place Arizona Rattlers (6-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (0-6) by a score of 65-33 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona in front of 13,825 fans. The Rattlers have now won their fifth straight game and have won ten straight games at home.
Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Guy wasn't sure what to expect from a Green Bay team that changed their head coach and starting quarterback, but thought his players responded well.
"We didn't really know what we were going to see tonight," Guys 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."
Tonight's win was number 299 in the history of Arizona Rattlers Football, and Coach Guy is excited for Rattler Nation and what's at stake next week.
"That will all about our fans," Guy said. "There have been a lot of good people that have come through our organization over the years. Since 1992, you've had different ownership, different coaches, different players, but Rattler Nation has stayed the same. Next week is all about Rattler Nation."
The Rattlers offense was consistent all night, scoring 30 points in the first half and 35 points in the second half. QB Jeff Ziemba threw for 101 yards and three touchdowns, increasing his IFL-lead to 21 touchdowns this season. RB Darrell Monroe averaged 7.8 yards per carry and rushed for 94 yards with three touchdowns. RB Dylan Peebles added two more touchdowns on the ground and caught another. WR Jamal Miles caught 68 yards and two touchdowns, while WR Anthony Amos caught a touchdown pass in his 15th straight game played.
Despite being with team all the season, RB Dylan Peebles got to see some game action for the first time this season. Other than adjusting to the field size, Peebles felt like he hadn't missed a beat.
"For the most part, just had to get used to the condensed field compared to the outdoor game," Peebles said. "Everything else came naturally."
Defensively for Arizona, Edward Mosley lead the way with 2.5 tackles for loss. DB Nathan Lindsey had two fumble recoveries, and Keith Trumps had a team-high eight tackles.
For Green Bay, QB Bryan Hicks made his season-debut and threw for 151 yards and one touchdown. RB Serge Trezy ran for 67 yards and one touchdown. DB B.J. Hill returned two kicks for touchdowns and totaled 234 return yards.
The Blizzard's defense was led by DL Brandon Boudreaux, who had a sack and two tackles for loss. LB Akim Francis had an interception and LB Brandon Metz had a team-high eight tackles.
After Dezmon Epps returned the opening kick 21 yards, QB Jeff finished off the opening drive for the Rattlers with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Miles, giving Arizona a quick 6-0 lead.
Green Bay responded quickly with a 23-yard catch from Jereme Jones, tying it up 6-6.
The Rattlers came right back with a quick drive of their own that was capped off by Dylan Peebles' 1-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Rattlers a 13-6 lead.
The Rattlers defense toughened up next possession and forced Green Bay to try a long field goal that was missed.
Late in the first quarter, Jeff Ziemba threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time, to WR Anthony Amos.
Green Bay would spend little time getting that touchdown back when DB B.J. Hill returned the following kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown, bringing them within seven at the start of the second quarter.
On the next Rattlers drive, K Sawyer Petre nailed a 36-yard field goal, extending the Rattler lead to ten.
After a long Green Bay drive, the Rattlers defense came up with a big stop on fourth down in the red zone and took over on offense with 3:58 remaining in the half.
Ziemba would connect on a long throw to Epps the very next play and immediately put Arizona in the red zone. Ziemba would find Miles in the end zone for the second time, a few plays later, and extended the Rattlers lead to 30-13 at halftime.
The Blizzard came out aggressively in the second half and were able to score quickly thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run from RB Serge Trezy.
The Rattlers quickly put 15 points on the board after RB Darrell Monroe rushed 37 yards for a touchdown. Coach Guy called a fake for the point after, and WR Jarrod Harrington took the snap and ran it in for a two-point conversion, increasing the Rattler lead to 38-20.
On the ensuing kickoff, Rattlers DB Nathan Lindsey recovered a fumble and put Arizona right back in the red zone. Peebles would run in his second touchdown of the game a couple plays later.
B.J Hill returned the following kickoff for a touchdown, his second kick return touchdown of the game, and brought the score to 45-27 Rattlers.
Arizona marched down the field on their next possession and Monroe punched in his third touchdown of the game, extending the Rattlers lead to 52-27.
After being pinned deep in their own territory, Green Bay was able move the ball all the way to the 2-yard line, but a big stop by Edward Mosley on fourth down gave the Rattlers the ball back.
The Rattlers put together a long drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Jarrod Harrington at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Blizzard entered Arizona territory on their next drive, but Rattlers DB Nathan Lindsey recovered his second fumble of the game.
Green Bay and Arizona traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter, resulting in a Rattlers victory and a final score of 66-33.
The Rattlers will go for their 300th all-time win next Saturday, April 28st at home against the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-6). Cedar Rapids will be coming off a 65-48 road-loss to the Sioux Falls Storm. The game will kick off at 6:05 p.m. PDT at Talking Stick Resort Arena, and will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona, streamed on YouTube Live and the Fox Sports GO app, and can be heard on 1580 The Fanatic 99.3 FM and 95.9 FM.