On Sunday afternoon, the Tucson Sugar Skulls lost to the Arizona Rattlers 55-28 in Phoenix and remain winless at 0-3 in the regular season series between the teams.
The Sugar Skulls now have two must-win games remaining on the schedule to have a chance of making it to the postseason.
Tucson marched the ball down the field and scored on a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Mike Jones on the opening drive of the first quarter. It would be their only lead of the game.
On the Sugar Skulls’ second possession, with the game tied, Cory Murphy threw an interception on a deep pass that eventually led to a 9-yard touchdown reception by Darrell Monroe on the Rattlers’ next possession, giving Arizona a 14-7 lead. On Tucson’s next possession, Murphy was injured after being hit deep in Sugar Skulls’ territory, giving Demry Croft an opportunity. A couple of plays later, the Sugar Skulls attempted a 62-yard field goal from their end zone that was returned by Jarrod Harrington for a touchdown, putting the Rattlers up 20-7. The Rattlers never looked back from there.
Croft stayed under center for the remainder of the game after replacing Murphy, adding two touchdowns on the ground and one through the air, but also had two interceptions. The costly turnovers paired with the Rattlers explosive offense led by Drew Powell was too much for Tucson to overcome.
Croft completed 12 of 23 passing attempts for 92 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He rushed for 46 yards on 8 carries and had two touchdowns.
Murphy completed two of six passes with one interception. He rushed for 31 yards on five carries.
Ryan Balentine was Tucson’s top target with six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The Sugar Skulls (4-8) play Saturday against the Duke City Gladiators (6-6) at the Tucson Convention Center. Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.