April 19, 2017 - Indoor Football League (IFL) - Arizona Rattlers
Phoenix, Ariz. - The five time champion Arizona Rattlers host the Intense Conference leading Spokane Empire in a marquee matchup with the conference lead on the line. This game marks the first time the Rattlers will play Spokane after they rebranded and became the Empire.
The last time the two rivals met was in the 2015 Western Conference semifinals, back when Spokane was known as the Shock. In that game, the Arizona Rattlers defeated Spokane by a score of 72-41.
Arizona enters this game coming off a win against the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-6). Offensively, quarterback Cody Sokol went six for ten passing with one touchdown and 102 yards. Rattlers running back Darrell Monroe just won the honor of being IFL offensive player of the week, by leading the league in most touchdowns scored per game . Wide receiver Jamal Miles returned the opening kickoff 56 yards for the Rattlers first touchdown at the Maverik Center. Miles also leads the IFL in kickoff return yardage with 555 on the year.
Defensively against the Screaming Eagles, the Rattlers defended their goal line by recording two interceptions from defensive backs Allen Chapman and Arkeith Brown, and disrupted a couple of two point conversions. Adam Sauder leads the Arizona Rattlers on defense with 43 tackles this season.
Spokane is coming off of a big win over the Colorado Crush (1-6) at home. Quarterback Charles Dowdell went 18-of-26 passing with 126 yards and two passing touchdowns. Dowdell ranks second in the IFL in total offense per game. Their leading wide receiver Bryan Pray caught six passes, accounting for 50 yards and two touchdowns.
As for the Empire's defense, linebacker Pasqua Vacchio leads the team in tackles with 33 and interceptions with three. As a whole, Spokane's defense have been successful this season thus far keeping their opponents off the scoreboard. They are ranked third in the league in scoring defense only allowing the opposition to score 37.4 points per game.
Arizona enters this matchup perfect in conference play, while the Empire's only conference loss came at the hands of the Nebraska Danger. Spokane has been effective both on the ground and through the air being ranked third in rushing offense and fifth in total passing offense. By comparison, the Rattlers rank sixth in passing, but are ranked second in both rushing and in overall offense.
Arizona will face off against Spokane at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus, and streamed online on the FOX Sports GO app, and YouTube Live on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device. Game time starts at 6:00 p.m. PDT.