Arizona Rattlers Send Spokane Shock Packing in First Round of AFL Playoffs

Darin PikeContributor IJuly 30, 2011

Nick Davila led the Shock to the 2009 championship; hopes to do the same with the Rattlers.
Nick Davila led the Shock to the 2009 championship; hopes to do the same with the Rattlers.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The defending Arena Football League (AFL) champion Spokane Shock are no longer defending their title, as the top-seeded Arizona Rattlers (17-2) beat them in commanding fashion, 62-33.

The first half was anything but clean, as the two sides combined for five turnovers.  The Rattlers scored a touchdown in the closing seconds of the half to take a 21-13 lead into the locker room.

Arizona had an opportunity to separate themselves from the Shock (9-10), as they received the opening kickoff of the second half.  

Former Shock quarterback Nick Davila (15-for-24, 167 YDS, 4 TD, 2 INT) drove Arizona the length of the field.  With a chance to take a commanding lead, Davila threw his second interception of the game.  

Spokane's next drive failed to gain traction, though, and QB Kyle Rowley (25-for-45, 210 YDS, 4 TD, 3 INT) missed on a fourth-down pass from his own end zone.  However, the Rattlers were called for roughing the passer.

Rowley wasted no time, connecting with Randy Hymes for a long TD pass on the very next play.  Spokane had cut the Rattler lead to 21-20 and seemed to have momentum on their side.

They didn't, and the Rattlers scored the next 14 points.  Arizona dominate the fourth quarter, outscoring Spokane, 27-13.

Spokane brought in backup QB Steven Sheffield (7-for-9, 90 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT), but he wasn't able to change Spokane's fortunes.

The Spokane Shock had won the prior two Arena championships.  They were AFL champions last season and won the AF2's Arena Cup in 2009, the dark season for the AFL.

The Rattlers will host the Chicago Rush (14-5) in the National Conference Championship next week, as they beat the Dallas Vigilantes(11-8), 54-51.