By: Marcelo Metzelar - Contributing Writer
Saturday night’s match was the first ever game between the Arizona Rattlers and the Tucson Sugar Skulls. Arizona pounded Tuscon 63-28 in front of 16,110 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix to remain undefeated. Tucson falls to 2-1.
The Sugar Skulls started off strong as they opened the scoring on a Mike Jones 2-yd run. Jones finished with a game leading 63 yards off 9 carries. This would be the last time the Rattlers trailed, as they answered a minute and a half later with a 26-yard strike when Rattlers’ WR Dezmon Epps broke a tackle and scampered into then end zone to tie the game up 7-7. That was Epps’ only catch of the day, however, he added 4 kickoff returns and an even hundred yards.
The Sugar Skulls next series would end in disaster when Rattlers’ DB Dillion Windfrey recovered the blocked field goal attempt in the Sugar Skulls’ end zone to take the lead for good. Another defensive stop and a Verlon Reed touchdown run would give the Rattlers three unanswered scores before a Matt Behrendt 16-yard run would bring the Sugar Skulls to within seven. The Rattlers’ Reed would throw two more touchdown passes to Markis Sumpter and Jabre Lolley to end the half 35-14.
Two more Rattler touchdown runs would start the third quarter for four unanswered scores and a 49-14 lead. The Sugar Skulls would get their second touchdown of the night from Jones, whose 11-yard trot made it 49-21. Lolley rushed for two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter to cap his 11 carry 61 yard, rushing performance.
Jake Medlock found Rico brown for a 22-yard score with 4:42 left in game to make the game 63-21. That would complete the 10 play 7:47 drive.
Both teams will have a week off before they take on their respective opponents on Sunday, March 31. The Rattlers will play the Sioux Falls Storm in Talking Stick Arena. The Sugar Skulls will be home as they take on fellow expansion team, San Diego Strike Force, in a Week 2 rematch, where the Sugar Skulls won 65-44 in San Diego’s Pechanga Arena.