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Avengers Back in the Hunt

by Tim Peterson
May 4, 2008 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Los Angeles Avengers

(Los Angeles) - Tim Hicks fired a nine yard touchdown pass to Timon Marshall with 22 seconds left to give the Avengers a 66-59 win over Arizona Saturday night before 13,511 raucous fans at Staples Center.

The teams traded scores nearly the entire contest but the Avengers scored first and last and Kevin Ingram came up with a crucial play in the fourth quarter to propel the Avengers to the victory.

With the score tied at 45, Avenger Kicker Tyler Fredrickson booted the kickoff off of the goal post. The ball bounced around, Arizona couldn't come up with it and Ingram fell on it in the end zone to give LA a 52-45 advantage with 13:24 left.

The Rattlers scored on their next two possessions. Lang Campbell hit Siaha Burley on a 29 yard scoring strike with 1:25 left setting up Marshall's winning TD grab.

Another critical play came with the score tied at 52. The Avengers moved the ball down to the Arizona one yard line. On the next play Hicks was sacked, the ball popped loose and the Rattlers Aric Williams scooped it up and rambled 38 yards for an apparent go ahead touchdown.

But the play was disallowed and Williams was hit with a personal foul penalty. The ball was returned to the one yard line where Josh Jeffries punched it in to give the Avengers the lead it what turned out to be a 14 point switch.

Initially, the officials ruled it an Arizona touchdown. But Avenger Coach Ed Hodgkiss argued the call, the officials got together and ruled in LA's favor.

"We fake tossed and in that instance if the quarterback stays in the pocket the defensive backs can rush but they can't hit the quarterback," Hodgkiss said. "It's an Arena League rule. Obviously their DB hit the quarterback so that's illegal and I'm glad the referees got it worked out correctly. That's always been a rule. A DB can never hit a quarterback in the pocket."

Hicks threw five touchdown passes in the first half including two each to LaShaun Ward and Kevin Ingram. Ward hauled in bombs of 45 and 30 yards. Campbell fired four TD strikes as the teams went into the break tied at 38.

After an explosive first half, only seven points were scored in the third quarter. Both defenses came up with stops but Campbell finally found Burley with 3:21 left in the quarter to give the Rattlers a 45-38 lead through three and set up the wild fourth period.

Hicks finished 19 of 36 for 328 yards and six touchdowns. Marshall caught nine passes for 120 yards and two scores and Ward hauled in four for 111 and two touchdowns.

Campbell threw for 277 yards and seven touchdowns. His primary target was Todd Devoe who had eight receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Trandon Harvey caught seven balls for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Harvey also returned a kick off 55 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

The Avengers improved to 4-6 with the victory and Arizona fell to 4-5. LA has the advantage over the Rattlers however with a season sweep. Next up for the Avengers is home game next Saturday night against New York.

"Obviously we'd like to sweep all of our remaining divisional opponents for a chance to win the division. But we're just concentrating on New York now. We needed to get back on track tonight and we did that," Hodgkiss added.

AZ 14 24 7 14 59

LA 10 28 0 28 66

Passing: AZ - Campbell 22-34-277-7-0. LA- Hicks 19-36-328-6-0.

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