Knight Hawks run into Rattlers, lose by 47
Prior to the start of the season, head coach Mike Davis said if the Vegas Knight Hawks was .500 four games into the season, he’d consider it a win.
All things considered, he’s got his win.
Most recently, Vegas was trampled 67-20 by the Arizona Rattlers on a short week Friday, April 8 from The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nevada.
Three of the team’s first four games of the season were contested at home. This week’s contest welcomed the league’s hottest team, the undefeated Rattlers who lead the league in total offense and scoring.
The Knight Hawks closed Week 4 with a Monday night win against the Bay Area Panthers and were a part of the slate of games that opened Week 5.
Next week, the team will return to the road to do battle with the Northern Arizona Wranglers Saturday, April 16.
Vegas beat Northern Arizona in Week 2 for the franchise’s first win with a 22-9 final score.
It will be the second of three scheduled meetings this season between the two clubs.
Arizona turned the heat on after the first quarter scoring 60 of its season-high 67 points in the final three quarters of the game.
The lone score in the first quarter took just four plays on the first drive of the game for the Rattlers.
In the second quarter, the team put up another six points on the first play from scrimmage to go up 13-0 after the blocked extra point.
After receiving the ball back with 43 seconds to play before halftime, Arizona found the end zone with just seven seconds left.
By that time, the home team was down 33-7 heading into the locker room.
It was much more of the same in the second half as the first play of the third quarter produced a 36-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 33.
Later in the third, the Rattler took more than seven minutes off the clock on a touchdown drive.
That drive was kept alive via a defensive holding penalty by defensive back Kyree McLean on a 4th and 15.
McLean was also flagged for defensive pass interference in the first quarter on a drive that also resulted in a touchdown.
Though penalized less, Vegas’ penalties came at inopportune times including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from defensive lineman Izaah Burks set up a first and goal.
Arizona would score on the next play despite a defensive facemask.
In the final quarter, the Rattlers would score three additional times with two touchdown drives equalling three plays total.
The road team scored on all 10 of its offensive drives.
While it was clear Arizona had it rolling early, it was evident from the start that Vegas was in for a long night.
On the first drive of the night, the Knight Hawks had four tries from the 1-yard line but failed to find the end zone.
Earlier on the drive quarterback Jaylon Henderson missed a wide open wide receiver Frank Brown with nothing but open space in front of him.
Henderson had a turbulent night as he was picked off three times after having none coming into this Week 5 contest.
The first of which went through the hands of wide receiver Kasey Allison and fell into the lap of Arizona defensive back Brandon Ezell.
Ezell played his collegiate ball in the Mountain West with San Jose State and had one of his four collegiate interceptions against UNLV.
Henderson would be picked off again in the second quarter, this time it was taken back the other way for a pick-six.
After that move, Henderson was pulled for backup quarterback Kare Lyles though Henderson would return to score later in the drive for the first Knight Hawk points of the night.
Henderson went 4-of-16, passing for 43 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also had a rushing touchdown from 18 yards out.
The final interception came on the second play of a drive with under two minutes left in the third quarter on what would turn out to be his final drive of the night.
Lyles would be intercepted in the fourth quarter but would find the end zone through the air once.
He finished with 47 yards on 4-of-17 passing with a touchdown and an interception.
This week, Vegas released Nate Criswell and signed former UNLV kicker Nolan Kohorst.
Criswell had a 8-for-16 mark on extra point attempts and was 3-for-10 on field goals through three games this season.
Kohorst went 2-of-3 on extra points and did not attempt any field goals in his team debut.