PHOENIX — Strong defense propelled the Arizona Rattlers to a 37-31 win over the Green Bay Blizzard (0-4) in front of 8,495 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday.
The final two minutes featured multiple defensive stops from the Rattlers. A Justin Martin forced a fumble, and an Allen Chapman interception would help clinch the victory for the Rattlers (2-1).
“We found a way to win, that’s the important thing,” Rattlers coach Kevin Guy said.
Offensively for the Rattlers, Shadrach Thornton shined in his first start. Thornton had 88 yards, on 19 carries with three touchdowns.
Also for the Rattlers, quarterback Jeff Ziemba produced a solid game going 9-16 with 113 yards and one passing touchdown.
“I did think Jeff played better tonight,” Guy said. “He made some better decisions.”
For the Blizzard (0-4), quarterback Christian Lemay went 6-13 for 70 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. On the ground, Jasen Oden Jr. carried the ball 19 times for 55 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, the Rattlers were led by DE Joshua Gordon who had 12 tackles. DE Justin Martin had 1.5 sacks for the defensive unit, and one forced fumble and recovery. The Rattlers secondary had three interceptions on the day, Chapman with two, and Arkeith Brown with the third.
The game started with a big play when defensive back Allen Chapman intercepted Green Bay’s Christian Lemay on the opening drive giving the Rattlers an opportunity to get a lead early.
The ensuing drive culminated with a Jeff Ziemba 1-yard keeper. The Rattlers would lead 7-0 and never relinquish the lead all game.
Green Bay would drive down the field before Brown would force and recover the fumble.
Starting from their own 5-yard line, Shadrach Thornton would cap off a 42-yard drive with a touchdown of his own to make it 13-0 in favor of the Rattlers.
Green Bay responded though with a three-minute drive that featured eight rushes from the Blizzard running back duo of Jasen Oden and Washaun Ealey. The drive finished with an Oden 2-yard run into the end zone to cut the Rattler lead to 13-7.
Thornton took the ball on the next drive and find himself in the end zone with his second touchdown on the day which gave the Rattlers a 20-7 lead.