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Knight Hawks lose another close one to Wranglers, fall to 1-1 on year

A trip to see the reigning Indoor Football League Champions resulted in an aching defeat for the Vegas Knight Hawks at the hands of the Northern Arizona Wranglers.

Vegas lost to Northern Arizona, 48-42, Saturday, April 1 from Pinnacle Bank Field in Prescott Valley, Arizona. After beating the Wranglers to open the team’s inaugural season, the Knight Hawks have lost the last three meetings against their Western Conference foe.

Two of those three losses have come by 10 points or less.

Currently sitting with a 1-1 overall record, Vegas will now prepare to return home for a three-game homestand, its longest of the season. That homestand will begin with a matchup against the San Diego Strike Force Saturday, April 8th from The Dollar Loan Center.

In its most recent game, the Knight Hawks had to overcome several double-digit deficits in order to close the gap before losing by a single possession. Vegas trailed by as many as 22 points in the 20:53 of the game.

However, facing a 14-point hole with just over 12 minutes left in regulation, the Knight Hawks’ comeback efforts hit a different gear. Quarterback Daquan Neal found receiver Quentin Randolph in the end zone for a touchdown to close the deficit to just eight points after a missed extra point from kicker Stevie Artigue.

Late in the first quarter, Artigue missed a field goal with Vegas down seven.

On the ensuing drive for Northern Arizona, Vegas nearly changed the complexion of things with a near forced fumble on the first play of the drive. Things would eventually take that turn after defensive back Mister Harriel picked off Wrangler quarterback Garrett Kettle in the end zone on a third and goal.

Last season, Harriel tallied three interceptions.

That turnover set the Knight Hawks offense up with a chance to tie the game, taking over with 1:25 left on the clock.

Neal would strike again, this time finding receiver Caleb Holley for a 17-yard score followed by a two-point conversion to the same person to tie the game at 42 apiece with 26 seconds left.

After a 200-plus yard, six-touchdown performance that garnered him IFL Offensive Player of the Week, Neal went 15-for-32 with 158 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The energy would quickly be injected back into the building after Northern Arizona was led on a four-play, 25-yard drive that resulted in points with just 4.2 ticks in regulation.

Neal was intercepted at the five-yard line on the final play of the game.

Running back Davonte Sapp-Lynch scored each of the first three touchdowns for Vegas as the team rallied back from a 29-7 hole.

With three touchdowns on the night, Sapp-Lynch racked up 63 yards on nine carries.

Randolph led the team in receiving against his former squad, compiling a team-high 69 yards on a team-high six catches with two touchdowns, both in the second half. Holley added 60 yards on five receptions and a touchdown.


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