TUCSON, Arizona – By the numbers the rematch between the Tucson Sugar Skulls and the Arizona Rattlers was anticipated to be an offensive shootout as the matchup pitted the IFL’s top two teams in points, passing yards, rushing yards, and total yards.
In the end, it was the Rattlers defense and special teams that had the final word with second-half touchdowns on a blocked field and an interception return in a 55-41 victory over the Sugar Skulls before a crowd of 4,138 at Tucson Arena.
The game started with both teams scoring touchdowns on their first possessions and the game appeared to be on its way to becoming a high-scoring affair. Quarterback Jake Medlock, who started the second game of the season, caught fire early on the way to having a hand in six touchdowns, three passing and three rushing. He threw for 168 yards and rushed for another 41.
The Rattlers were holding onto a 7-point lead in the third quarter when the momentum shifted on a blocked field goal recovered in the end zone by wide receiver Dillion Winfrey, giving Arizona a 42-28 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, an interception return for a touchdown by Phillip Henry put some distance between the Rattlers and Sugar Skulls, who led 55-35 at that point. The game mirrored the March 16 encounter in Phoenix when a blocked field goal and a fumble led toRattlers scores that the Sugar Skulls couldn’t recover from in a 63-28 loss.“
This game is similar to the last one, we were just in this one a little bit longer until the blocked field goal and the turnover,” said Head Coach Marcus Coleman. “Unfortunately, that’s on us as coaches to get it right and we will. It’s a matter of us going back to the drawing board, moving pieces around.”We had some turnovers, shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Sugar Skulls wide receiver RicoBrown, who had two touchdown catches. “It was self-inflicted wounds. That was really what it came down to at the end of the day.”
The Sugar Skulls will try to snap a two-game losing streak when they travel to face the Quad CitySteamwheelers, on Saturday, April 20. Kickoff is 5 p.m., Tucson time. The game will be streamed live on the IFL YouTube.
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