PHOENIX – Spokane had the lead, the ball at Arizona’s 5-yard line and the Rattlers on the ropes late in the fourth quarter.
But a costly fumble turned the momentum and Arizona capitalized with Nick Davila’s touchdown pass to Kerry Reed with 5 seconds left for a 57-53 Arena Football League victory over the Shock on Friday at US Airways Center.
Spokane led 53-50 and was on the verge of perhaps a clinching score when it faced third-and-goal at the Rattlers’ 5. For the second time in the game, Spokane botched the center-quarterback exchange and Arizona’s Glen Fox recovered with just more than 1 minute remaining.
The Rattlers worked time off the clock while driving to Spokane’s 6. Davila, the ex-Shock quarterback who struggled most of the night, zipped a pass over the middle to Reed, who pulled the ball away from defensive back Josh Ferguson.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” Shock coach Andy Olson said in a postgame radio interview. “Two fumbles on snaps cost us big-time and the second one cost us the game. That’s stuff you’re doing in high school.
“It’s just focus on the most important play of the game. We had the same problem a couple times last season.”
The Shock dropped to 1-3. Second-ranked Arizona (3-1) remained in a first-place tie in the West Division with San Jose, which defeated San Antonio.
Quarterback Kyle Rowley, signed by Spokane earlier this week, had the offense rolling in the first half, save for a fumbled snap in the final minute.
The Shock intercepted Davila twice in the last 45 seconds of the half and Kenny Spencer’s 25-yard field goal gave Spokane a 32-20 lead at the half.
Spokane had the ball to start the second half, but Rowley was intercepted by Marquis Floyd. Arizona rattled off the next 16 points, but Spokane responded with a Rowley touchdown pass and Terence Moore’s 12-yard interception return to lead 46-36.
Rowley passed for 271 yards and three touchdowns. Micah King rushed for two TDs and Justin Ore had 10 catches for 116 yards. The Shock had four turnovers and they’ve committed 16 this season.
“We kind of handed it to them,” Rowley said. “The second fumble, that’s on the refs. The guy jumped offside and everybody saw it in the whole arena. It’s just tough. He’s in our center’s face.”