Photo: Ulice Gillard reaches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown in the second quarter
The Arizona Rattlers evened up the season series with a 40-28 last night at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.
Kaleb Barker and Quentin Randolph were back in the starting lineup, with the two connecting for the final two Wrangler TDs of the night. In the end, it came down to making plays and the Rattlers did just that. The loss drops Northern Arizona into second place with two regular season games left to play.
Broxton Haley scored three touchdowns for the Rattlers, one rush and two receptions from Drew Powell. He said, “We were ready tonight, and knew we would have to play a full game. We did not want to let them have any last minute chances and we were able to do just that.”
The Rattlers jumped on top when quarterback Drew Powell ran the ball in from three yards out. The Wranglers tied it up when Barker connected with Jerrime Neal for a 20 yard scoring strike. Northern Arizona took the lead 14-7 when Ulice Gillard ran the ball in from two yards out with 6:30 left in the first half.
The Rattlers came right back when Powell hit Haley from six yards out , but a missed PAT left the Wranglers up 14-13.
Two possessions at the end of the half put the Wranglers in a hole. First there was a bad exchange on the attempted handoff between Barker and Israel Tucker resulting in a fumble.
Arizona took advantage, adding a late TD to regain the lead when Haley scored again on a short two yard pass. The Wranglers missed a field goal attempt to end the half trailing 20-14.
Northern Arizona came out quickly to take the lead back 21-20 when Barker connected with Randolph from eight yards out, but Arizona answered again with Broxton Haley’s third touchdown to go up 27-21 with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
A turnover on downs gave the Rattlers the opportunity to go up two scores and they did just that when Powell crossed the goal line early in the final quarter.
Trailing 34-21 there was a sense of urgency by the Wranglers and they were able to get pull within 34-28 as Barker hit Randolph again with 6:27 left. The Rattlers added the final score when Powell connected with Jamal Miles on a 32 yard pass play.
Kaleb Barker’s final pass was intercepted in the end zone, and Arizona ran out the clock securing the win.
Barker led the Wrangles with 101 yards rushing and completed 9 of 20 for 112 yards, with 3 touchdowns and the one pic. Randolph finished with four receptions for 52 yards and 2 TDs.
Darrin Hungerford led the Northern Arizona defense with 11 tackles that included one very big hit.
Drew Powell had a big night for the Rattlers, completing 17 of 21 for 175 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Powell also rushed for 68 yards and two TDs. Haley caught 9 passes for 82 yards and the three touchdowns.
The Wranglers will host the Bismarck Bucks next Saturday at 6:05 pm.
ARIZONA RATTLERS 40, NORTHERN ARIZONA WRANGLERS 28
Score by Quarters- 1 2 3 4 – T
Northern Arizona 7 7 7 7 – 28
Arizona 7 13 7 13 – 40
AZ-Powell 3 yard run Lacayo kick)
NAZ-Neal 20 yd pass from Barker (Fischer kick)
NAZ-Gillard 2 yard run (Fischer kick)
AZ-Haley 6 yard run (Kick failed)
AZ-Haley 2 yard pass from Powell (Lacayo kick)
NAZ-Randolph 8 yard pass from Barker (Fischer kick)
AZ-Haley 5 yard pass from Powell (Lacayo kick)
AZ-Powell 1 yard run (Lacayo kick)
NAZ-Randolph 9 yard pass from Barker (Fischer kick)
AZ-Miles 32 yard pass from Powell (Lacayo kick)
West W L
Arizona 12 3
WRANGLERS 11 3
Tucson 8 6
Duke City 6 8
Vegas 6 9
San Diego 3 11
Bay Area 1 13
East W L
Frisco 12 2
Massachusetts 9 4
Quad City 8 6
Iowa 7 6
Sioux Falls 7 7
Green Bay 6 8
Bismarck 3 12
Arizona 40, WRANGLERS 28
Vegas 65, Bay Area 33
Tucson 53, San Diego 47
Massachusetts at Iowa