GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Rattlers (15-1) suffered their first loss of the 2019 Indoor Football League (IFL) season, losing to the Sioux Falls Storm (14-3) 56-53 in the 2019 United Bowl in front of 14,635 fans at Gila River Arena.
Rattlers QB Drew Powell completed 16-of-21 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for another two touchdowns. However, he was sacked three times by the Storm defense.
"They did a good job of keying him and scheming him," Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Guy said. "At the end of the day, we missed some reads up front and they had a good little scheme put together."
WR Jarrod Harrington had 220 all-purpose yards in the game and scored two touchdowns, including a 58-yard kickoff return score that put Arizona ahead 45-42 in the third quarter.
"We didn't execute," Harrington said. "We didn't make the right read sometimes. There were a couple of times we didn't make the catch we were supposed to make or get the blocks we were supposed to make."
Storm QB Lorenzo Brown Jr. was 15-of-19 passing for 200 yards and five touchdowns. WR Brandon Sheperd had six catches for 115 yards, a receiving touchdown, and a rushing touchdown. WR Kent Shelby had two touchdown catches.
DB Dillion Winfrey led the Rattlers defense with 13 solo tackles, DB Allen Chapman had a forced fumble, and DL Chris McAllister and LB Ryan Langford had half a sack each.
For Sioux Falls, LB T.J Neal led the team with seven solo tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. DL Charles Williams added 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.
"It's going to take me a while to get over this one, but more so I hate it for my teammates," Harrington added. "We all worked so hard, day in and day out, and we didn't finish."
The Storm got the ball first and opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Damian Ford.
The Rattlers answered back with a 3-yard touchdown run by Harrington to tie the game at 7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Chapman forced a fumble that WR Dez Stewart recovered deep in Sioux Falls territory. Two plays later, WR/RB Jamal Miles punched it in from 2 yards out to give Arizona the lead.
Sioux Falls countered with a 40-yard strike from Brown to Sheperd.
In the second quarter, the Rattlers converted on fourth-and-goal from the Storm 1-yard line as Powell ran it in to give Arizona a 21-14 lead.
After a turnover was negated by a Rattlers penalty, Sheperd scored on an 11-yard run to tie the game for the third time in the first half.
The Rattlers pulled ahead again on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Powell to WR Anthony Amos.
Brown ran it in from 6 yards out to even the score at 28-28 in the final minute of the first half.
Arizona K Jimmy Camacho successfully kicked a 31-yard field goal at the horn to put the Rattlers up by three at halftime.
The Rattlers got the ball to start the second half and scored on an 8-yard pass from Powell to Miles to increase their lead to 10.
Sioux Falls responded as Brown found Shelby for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Despite a Storm penalty that pushed the extra-point try back 10 yards, K Parker Douglass converted the kick to make it 38-35.
Following a Rattlers turnover on downs, the Storm drove down the field and took the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by RB Calen Campbell.
Harrington returned the next kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown to immediately give Arizona the lead back.
Sioux Falls recaptured the lead early in the fourth quarter as Brown connected with Campbell for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
After the Storm defense forced and recovered a fumble, Shelby caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brown to extend the Sioux Falls lead.
With 52.9 seconds left, Powell ran it in from 11 yards out for a touchdown. Following a Sioux Falls penalty on a failed two-point conversion, RB Jabre Lolley scored on the second try to pull the Rattlers within three.
The Rattlers appeared to have recovered the onside kick attempt, but an offside penalty against Arizona gave the ball back to Sioux Falls at the Rattlers 14-yard line. The Storm ran out the clock to win the game.