Empire fall short against Arizona 49-35 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Empire fall short against Arizona 49-35

Courtesy: Spokane Empire Courtesy: Spokane Empire

By Spokane Empire

SPOKANE, WA - The Arizona Rattlers (7-4, 4-1) defeated the Spokane Empire (7-4, 6-2) in Week 13 of the 2017 IFL regular season at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena by a score of 49-35.

Spokane started with the ball, but couldn’t capitalize on the first possession. A controversial call would force Spokane to kick an end zone to end zone field goal that was returnable by the Rattlers. Arizona would take the opportunity to score with Darrel Monroe striking first to gain an early lead.

The Empire came right back with a one play drive with Dowdell hitting Samuel Charles for Spokane’s first touchdown of the night. Defensively, Pasquale Vacchio strip sacked Rattler quarterback Cody Sokol and recovered the fumble, setting up Spokane’s offense. Brendon Garcia, taking over for the CFL bound Craig Peterson, kicked a field goal for Spokane’s first lead of the night.

Sawyer Petre hit a field goal of his own from 28 out to tie it back up at 10. Petre would hit another field goal and nailed all five PATs to go perfect on the night. On Spokane’s next drive, Dowdell took one for the team as Arizona was penalized for roughing the passer. The Rattler defense was surprisingly sloppy this drive, also causing pass interference. This set up Dowdell to hit Bryan Pray from 5 yards out for the touchdown.

Sokol would find Anthony Amos midfield, who worked his way through the Empire secondary for a touchdown of their own. Arizona’s defense needed to redeem themselves from the previous drive, and kept a determined Dowdell from finding the goal line before the half. The Rattlers went into the locker room up by three.

Arizona turned up the pressure on Spokane, running the ball straight through the Empire defense to go up 10 with Monroe hitting paydirt. Receiver Devonn Brown looked to cut the lead back down again, and sacrificed his body flipping up and over the boards for a spectacular touchdown reception. The Empire went for two, but were unsuccessful.

The Rattlers kept marching downfield, keeping up their devastating run game. Monroe scored once more, racking up his third touchdown of the night. The running back was out to make sure that his stat line wouldn’t be anything close to what resembled his last game against Spokane. The Empire held Monroe to negative yards two weeks ago, but that certainly wasn’t the case this week as he gained 90 yards on 15 touches, easily breaking the Empire run defense average by himself.

The Empire offense still kept it close, with the deficit only increasing to five. Pray would be open once more for Dowdell to connect with for a touchdown, but once again, the two point conversion after wouldn’t go. Immediately after the fourth quarter started, Sokol threw up a bomb to Amos to break 40. Like clockwork, Spokane would put together a good drive and cap it off with an impressive score, now with Trevor Kennedy doing the honors. But for the third straight time, Spokane went for two and came up empty handed.

Time was starting to run out, and the Empire were faced with a decision of how to kick. Spokane hasn’t had much luck with onside kicks, and their luck didn’t change tonight as Arizona recovered at the Empire 11. The short field position for Sokol enabled him to score once more, this time to Fred Williams with a one handed grab. Coach Guy elected to go for two, and successfully converted.

The game became seemingly out of reach, but the Empire still had some time to score. Rattler pass interference put Spokane at the two yard line, but Arizona’s pressure got to Dowdell. Spokane could not score on their final drive, sealing the game and the win for the Rattlers.

Dowdell’s stat line was 18-29, throwing for 145 and five touchdowns. Sokol finished 12-15 passing for 74 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kennedy was Spokane’s leading rusher with 37 yards on 6 carries. His touchdown was a reception from the backfield.

Defensively, the Empire’s Tyree Robinson recorded 8.5 tackles on the night with one of them netting a three yard loss. No member of the Empire defense was able to get to Sokol, but Dowdell was sacked six times by Arizona. Joshua Gordon would record 2.5 of them for 24 yards. Arkeith Brown wrangled in 7 tackles, adding to the impressive defensive stat sheet. As a unit, the Rattlers recorded 11 tackles for loss in addition to the sacks.

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