GRAND ISLAND, NE – The Arizona Rattlers and Nebraska Danger will meet for the first time ever this Friday night at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island on Sam Foltz Night. Kickoff for April 7th is scheduled for 7 pm.
A former powerhouse in the Arena Football League (AFL) for over 20 years, the Rattlers joined the Indoor Football League (IFL) in the off-season. Friday's match-up is key for both teams, as both are looking to secure one of the two playoff spots in the Intense Conference. With the Danger's 42-36 victory over the Spokane Empire last week, the Danger grabbed the top spot in the conference with Arizona currently sitting at third with a 2-3 record.
The Rattlers' record slipped below .500 this week after the Wichita Falls Nighthawks hit a 6-yard touchdown pass with 3 seconds remaining, breaking a 53-53 tie and giving the Nighthawks the 60-53 win. Running back Ketrich Harmon had a huge game for Arizona with 20 rushes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
In a big change from the beginning of the season, the Danger defense stepped up with a huge game against the Empire. With four sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a safety, the defense harassed, quarterback, Charles Dowdell all night. That gave Danger quarterback Patrick McCain time to jump out to a 29-14 lead at halftime.
"I was very happy with how our defense performed," said Danger head coach Hurtis Chinn. "Our offense needs to have more consistency for four quarters. There were several drives in the second half where we kind of stalled out and had to kick field goals."
In McCain's second start for the Danger, he picked threw 12 completions on 17 attempts for 52 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 13 times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Eric Thomas led all Danger receivers with 4 receptions for 34 yards and two touchdowns.
"Our offense is in a really good spot right now with both Pat & (Derrick) Bernard at quarterback," Chinn said. "We haven't had a solid pair of quarterbacks available in a long time and having both of them gives us a lot of options of what we want to do in different situations. There is still a lot that we need to work on, but we are getting there."
Kickoff is set for 7 pm Friday night at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, with Sam Foltz Night as the feature. Nebraska Cornhuskers Football players will be available for autographs in pre-game as part of the festivities. Fans can help raise funds for the "Dream Big, Work Hard, Stay Humble, Sam Foltz Memorial Scholarship" by mentioning the code Sam Foltz with a general admission ticket purchase at the Heartland Events Center Box Office, or by participating in a silent auction with items autographed by former Husker Football Head Coach Tom Osborne. Doors open at 6:00 with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30.