Drew Powell is a problem for the Indoor Football League.
He has been all season and that continued on Friday inside the Arena when the dual-threat quarterback rushed for three touchdowns and threw one more in captaining a 30-20 Arizona Rattlers (11-2) win over the Spokane Shock (6-6) in Spokane’s final regular-season game.
It was the fourth consecutive loss for Spokane. The 50 combined points were the second-lowest output of the IFL season.
Powell came into the matchup with 30 rushing touchdowns, 11 more than his nearest competition.
The Shock understood the challenge and their group tackling was apparent, but the first-place Rattlers design their QB runs to give the 6-foot-3, 220-pound runner big channels to exploit.
His counterpart, Spokane quarterback Marcus McDade, had his most consistent and clean game of his season.
The reads were crisper, and the throws were better placed, expect for a few costly and errant balls that had head coach Billy Back covering his face with his playsheet.
McDade completed his first two passes on short routes that seemed to act as confidence builders.
His next throw, a Jordan Jolly seam route, was overthrown, a precursor to a few later throws.
On a few occasions, McDade would find himself scrambling on an early down and would attempt to find a window that didn’t exist.
“Things like that, you are taught in middle school and high school and that should translate and it just isn’t comprehensible to me,” head coach Billy Back said.
Shock kicker Sawyer Petre knocked home the field goal on fourth down to give the Shock a 3-0 lead.
The Shock defense – specifically the defensive line – came out on fire, forcing two throwaways from Powell before a third-down pass rush caused an errant throw intercepted by Caleb Bailey.
That led to a McDade read option. He kept the ball and bulldozed his way into the end zone to make it 10-0 Shock.
On Arizona’s next drive, Gary Baker sacked Powell on third down to force a field goal.
With the Shock ready to build on their lead, a third-down drop in the right corner of the end zone by Torrance Gibson denied that opportunity.
Petre nailed the ensuing field goal, making it 13-3.
The Rattlers’ defense held Spokane to seven points for the final 2½ quarters.
Powell rode the defensive effort and executed his three designed QB runs. His only passing touchdown came in the second quarter when he slid out of the pocket to his right and fired a strike to Jarrod Harrington, who made a sliding catch in the right corner of the end zone.
The Rattlers 30 points are far and away their lowest scoring game of the season. A 41-34 win on June 4 was their previous low.
“Defense brought it tonight, they stepped up to the challenge,” Back said. “I got on them at halftime of the Frisco game (last week) and they came to play. They put the work in during film study this week and they all grasped the concept of the game plan and they brought it and I was impressed with them. I was proud of them.”
Spokane’s only score in the second half was on a Kamrin Solomon 2-yard scamper to his right as he glided cleanly into the end zone.
The Shock will await the results of the Aug. 21 game between the Bismarck Bucks (7-7) and Duke City Gladiators (6-6) before they know if they host a playoff game. Six teams are bunched up between fourth and ninth places.
The Shock do not play in Week 18 as their scheduled opponent, the Louisville Xtreme, folded operations earlier this season.