The Arizona Rattlers overpowered the Sugar Skulls at Footprint Center Saturday night, routing Tucson 54-24 before 8,292 fans.
Tucson quarterback Daquan Neal struggled for most of the night against a hard-nosed Rattlers’ defense, throwing three interceptions before backup quarterback Gabriel Cunningham took his place late in the third quarter when the game was out of Tucson’s reach.
The opening drive looked promising for Tucson before it came up empty deep in Rattlers’ territory. The Sugar Skulls used up nearly eight minutes and got down to Arizona’s 6-yard line before a pass went through the hands of wide receiver Quinton Pedroza on fourth down.
Tucson kept the game close for most of the first half until Arizona defensive back Dillion Winfrey intercepted a pass from Neal with 1:43 to go in the second quarter. On the following possession, Arizona quarterback Drew Powell found wide receiver Braxton Haley on a 6-yard touchdown pass to put the Rattlers up 27-14 going into halftime.
The Rattlers outscored Tucson 27-10 in the second half.
The Sugar Skulls need one win in the next three games, or one Vegas loss to officially clinch a playoff berth.
Tucson is now 1-8 all-time against the Rattlers.
The Sugar Skulls (7-6) play Saturday in San Diego against the San Diego Strike Force (3-10). Kickoff is at 7:05 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. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.