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Rattlers Take Down Pirates

May 15, 2022 - Indoor Football League (IFL) - Arizona Rattlers News Release

PHOENIX, AZ - The Arizona defense turned three Massachusetts turnovers into touchdowns as the Rattlers defeated the Pirates 59-29 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The Rattlers now sport the best record in the Indoor Football League at 7-1 while the Pirates fell to 5-3.

In the first quarter Rattlers quarterback Drew Powell started the scoring on the opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run for a seven to nothing lead. The Pirates got on the board with a Craig Peterson 40-yard field goal, but Arizona would close out the quarter with a Braxton Haley 13-yard TD run for a 14-3 advantage.

Peterson started the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal for Massachusetts making the score 14-6. The Rattlers responded with an eight play, 37-yard drive with Powell throwing a jump ball into the end zone and Haley pulled in the 12-yard toss for a 21-6 lead. Pirates quarterback Alejandro Bennifield needed just three plays on the next possession to put points on the board. The Massachusetts QB scored on a 12-yard run and the Pirates were down by eight at 21-13. That's as close as Massachusetts would get the rest of the game.

Arizona would score on the next three possessions. Shannon Brooks capped off a three-play drive with an 11-yard run to make the score 28-13 with 3:24 remaining in the half. On the next play from scrimmage on first and ten from the Pirate's five-yard line, Rattlers' defensive back Brandon Ezell intercepted Bennifield and returned it nine yards for a touchdown with 2:10 on the clock. The Pirates then drove the ball to the Arizona one, but on first and goal, Bennifield and running back Deddrick Thomas fumbled a hand off that was recovered by Davontae Merriweather and returned 44 yards for a touchdown, giving the Rattlers a commanding 42-13 lead.

The Pirates scored on their next play as Bennifield connected with wideout Thomas Owens with a 23-yard strike, but the half ended with Arizona kicker Ernesto Lacayo making a 24-yard field goal to end the half with the Rattlers up 45-20.

In the third quarter Bennifield found wide receiver Isaac Zico with a six-yard touchdown pass to close the score to 45-26, but Powell and company would answer with an eight-play, 48-yard drive for a score with Powell running into the end zone the final five yards. The Rattlers limited the Pirates to another Peterson field goal, this one from 38-yards and after three quarters the scoreboard read Arizona 52 - Massachusetts 29.

In the final quarter Rattlers' defensive back Dillion Winfrey intercepted Massachusetts back-up quarterback Mike Glass III. On the next play, Arizona back-up QB Demry Croft went deep to wideout Isaiah Huston, who pulled in a 22-yard touchdown reception for the final points of the game, making the final score 59-29.

Arizona compiled 230 yards of total offense compared to 139 by the Pirates. The Rattlers defense did not allow the Pirates a conversion on third down (0-4) nor on fourth down (0-1) in the game.

For the Pirates, Bennifield was six of ten passing for 83 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His top receivers were Owens who had two receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown and Isaac Zizo who caught three passes for 21 yards and a score. Running back Deddrick Thomas rushed four times for 33 yards while Bennifield carried six times for 14 yards and a touchdown. Defensively Khalid Wooten led the way with four tackles.

For Arizona Powell was the leading rusher with eight carries for 47 yards and two touchdowns. He was also 10 of 17 passing for 103 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Wideout Braxton Haley led the Rattlers with five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. Defensive lineman Chris McAllister had five tackles including a sack and two tackles for a loss.

The Pirates will return home to Phoenix Field at the DCU Center to face the Sioux Falls Storm on Saturday night with kickoff set for 7:05.

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