Arizona dominate Force at Gwinnett Arena 60-27

Brian Jones

The Georgia Force have been up and down all year. When they would win a game and look great against a playoff-caliber team, they would come back the next week and struggle against a team that has not played well all year.

On a rare Sunday game at the Gwinnett Arena, the Force looked to right the ship and get a big win over the Arizona Rattlers. Unfortunately, the Force gave up too many big plays on defense and made too many mistakes on offense and that led to a 60-27 loss.

The Force (3-4) kept the game close throughout the first quarter. After Arizona getting on the board first with a Nick Davila 5-yard touchdown pass to Glen Fox, the Force came right back on the ensuing drive with a Kevin Eakin 4-yard touchdown pass to Larry Shipp to tie the game at seven.

Rattlers came back, though, as Davila threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to former Force player Maurice Purify to go up 13-7. The Force cut the lead to three after Carlos Martinez kicked a 26-yard field goal.

The Force tied the game at the start of the second quarter with another Martinez field goal (30 yards). This was possible thanks to the Force defense coming up with a stop on the previous series.

That would be the closest the Force would get, because they would only score 14 points the rest of the way. The Rattlers, on the other hand turned it up after the second Martinez field goal. They would score 19 unanswered points in the second quarter. Seven of those points would come from a Davila 9-yard touchdown pass to Fox, another three points would come from a Chris Gold 16-yard field goal, another seven would come from a 1-yard run from Davila and two points would come from a safety by Marcus Pittman as he sacked Eakin in the endzone late in the second quarter.

The Rattlers would not take the foot off the Force’s throats in the second half. Arizona (5-2) would outscore the Force 28-14 and 14 of the Rattler points came within five seconds early in the fourth quarter.

Davila, who was named National Guard MVP, went 16-of-25 with 224 yards, five touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one interception. Pruify, who was named Offensive MVP caught two of Davila’s touchdown passes and Fox, who was named Playmaker of the Game, had six receptions for 59 yards and three touchdowns. Kerry Reed led the Rattlers with 121 yards on eight receptions and one touchdown.

Eakin, who has been sharing time with R.J. Archer, struggled to find any consistency. He finished 24-of-44 with 223 yards three touchdowns and two interceptions. Larry Shipp led all receivers with 10 receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown.

The loss puts the Force under .500 the first time this season, but they are only a half game out of the American Conference South Division lead because no team in that division has a winning record. The Force will look to get back at .500 when they face the Pittsburgh Power on Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

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