Fans filled the stands of the Heartland Events Center for the last time this season as the Arizona Rattlers came to Grand Island, handing Nebraska a loss, 59-23 to end the season.
Arizona made an early statement taking the opening kick 37 yards. After a holding call negated their first attempt of making into the end zone, the Rattlers punched in a touchdown for good with 12:41 left in the first quarter. Less than four minutes later, Arizona scored again but missed the point after attempt, taking a 13-0 lead. The Dangerfailed their first attempt to score by way of a missed field goal from kicker Brad Hatfield. As the end of the quarter rolled around, the Danger defense stepped up when lineman Davion Belk got a sack and forced a fumble that he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. That score put the Danger on the scoreboard, but they still trailed 13-7 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter got going with the Danger forcing another fumble, but they were not able to convert it into any points. Arizona scored a field goal of their own and then returned a missed Nebraska field goal 58 yards for a touchdown extending their lead, 22-7. Nebraska tacked on a field goal of their own but an Arizona touchdown and rouge point on the ensuing kickoff saw the Rattlers take a 31-10 lead into the half.
“We gave ourselves opportunities on both sides of the ball but couldn’t finish the job. Missed field goals and not being able to get off the field killed any momentum we built,” said Danger Co-Head Coach Pig Brown.
The Danger got the ball to start the second half and turned the ball over after quarterback Jesse Scroggins Jr. threw an interception while in the red zone. Arizona converted the turnover into points with a touchdown with 9:34 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Danger were penalized for intentional grounding in their own end zone, resulting in a safety and two points for Arizona who had a 39 -10 lead after the score. Nebraska got a good drive going near the end of the quarter, utilizing the short chip throws. Working their way down the field, five to ten yards a play, Nebraska put the ball in the end zone with 33 seconds left in the quarter to cut Arizona’s lead to 28, 45-17.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Arizona had only been penalized once on the night and looked to keep that clean sheet going. The Rattlers worked their way quickly down the field, capping the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run, only taking three minutes off the clock. Nebraska nearly got a touchdown, but a forced fumble at the goal line was recovered and returned by Arizona. The Rattlers took nearly seven minutes off the clock on their drive following the fumble recovery and scored again on a seven-yard quarterback rush. Another Nebraska score couldn’t help as the game ended with Arizona winning 59-23.
“We didn’t play well today but the season starts over for the playoffs. We have a lot of work to do and things we need to pull together before then,” said Brown.
The Danger next play in the first round of the IFL playoffs. Who and when they will play have yet to be determined so check out dangerfootball.com for details in the coming days.
Steve Stein with Co-Head Coach Adam Shackleford
THE HASTINGS SODBUSTERS GRABBED AN EARLY LEAD, BUT SPEARFISH SCORED THREE IN THE FOURTH AND NEVER TRAILED AGAIN ON THEIR WAY TO A 9-4 WIN IN EXPEDITION LEAGUE PLAY. THE SASQUATCH ADDED FOUR IN THE BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH TO EARN A SPLIT OF THE TWO-GAME STAND. THE SODBUSTERS ARE ON THE ROAD TODAY FOR THE START OF A THREE GAME SERIES AGAINST THE BADLANDS BIG STICKS AT DICKINSON, NORTH DAKOTA.
GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA - The Nebraska Danger and Arizona Rattlers have both clinched playoff spots, but both are looking to prove their winning attitude. The three-way tie for first place with Iowa and Sioux Falls leads the Rattlers to push for first place.
The Rattlers have yet to fall to the Danger this season. The Danger nearly caught Arizona in the latest match up in Phoenix, but fell short 45-40.
Even though the Danger have not seen a victory since March 30, Nebraska still has the opportunity to make a championship run. This is thanks to the efforts of Darian Monroe as the third leader for tackles in the league. Monroe will have his work cut out for him when facing the number one touchdown scorer of the league, Darrell Monroe of Arizona.
The final Danger home game of the 2018 season makes the perfect Father’s Day gift! Treat Dad to $1 hot dogs and $2 beers along with a night of hard-hitting football as the Danger attempt to take down the defending champs. Starting off the game will be the Cornhusker State Games torch on Relay for Life Night.
Kickoff for the Danger and Rattlers is set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available at area Pump & Pantry Stores, the Heartland Events Center Box Office or via Ticketmaster. The game will be broadcast live on 2DayFM 103.1 or streamed live at www.2dayfm1031.com with live video available at DangerFootball.com/Watch.
An autograph party with players and coaches will take place after the game.
Grand Island Home Federal - 15 Runs, 14 Hits, 1 Error
Westco/Scottsbluff - 3 Runs, 5 Hits, 4 Errors
Grand Island with the win now 12-5 on the season. Next action in Lincoln on Saturday, June 16th to take on Northeast & Southeast at 11am and 1:30pm.
Westco Zephyrs with the loss now 8-14 on the season and will next be in action Friday, June 15th for a double header with Elkhorn Mt Michael.
The Sodbusters and the community of Hastings will be hosting the inaugural Expedition League All-Star Game on July 2nd. The best players from across the league will come to Hastings, Nebraska to have fun with fans and compete with and against athletes from each of the 8 charter members of the league. The 2018 All-Star Game logo will be revealed on social media Thursday, June 14th.
Festivities will include a banquet for media, players, coaches and league officials at C3 Hotel & Suites. Then, everyone will head to the field for The Homerun Derby followed by The Expedition League’s version of the mid-summer classic.
The banquet will be held at 1 pm. Gates for the Homerun Derby and All-Star Game will open at 5:05, with the Homerun Derby starting at 6:05 with each team’s best power hitter launching balls attempting to conquer Duncan Field’s daunting dimensions. For a short break from wood bats, and to help slay the beast, players will be using metal bats for the derby. The All-Star Game is slotted to begin at 7:05 pm.
Along with the planned events, the All-Star Day will have additional fan and coach interaction, special side events, unique food options, plenty of fun activities for kids, and fireworks after the conclusion of the game.
Owner/GM Bryan Frew is honored to have Hastings chosen by the league for the 1st Expedition League All-Star Game. “Steve (Expedition League President) asked me if I would want to host the All-Star Game in Hastings. He loves the market in Hastings and obviously the beauty of Duncan Field. Of course, I said ‘yes’! The all-star games in summer leagues are huge. The talent is unreal and baseball’s all-star games have always been one of the reasons baseball is the best sport in the world in my mind. It’s such a fun way to mark the halfway point of a long season.”
Tickets will go on sale for the general public on Monday, June 18th. Sodbusters season ticket holders and fan club members will have an option to purchase early on June 14th. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.hastingssodbusters.com.