Las Vegas, Nev. – The Arizona Rattlers drop their first game of the season to the Las Vegas Outlaws on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The game, which was nationally televised on ESPN2, was the inaugural meeting between the two West division rivals.
Arizona was again without wide receivers Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed for the second straight game, and was without All-Arena defensive back Marquis Floyd.
Special teams showed up big Saturday night for the Rattlers, both good and bad. Defensive back AJ Cruz showed why the Rattlers were happy to acquire him, once he was released by the Los Angeles KISS, when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, one called back with a penalty. On the flip side, kicker Jeremy Shelley missed two field goals, both of which were returned for touchdowns, and an extra point.
Arizona started off fast with a 36 yard kick return from defensive back AJ Cruz, followed by a 6 yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver Markee White.
Outlaws quarterback JJ Raterink responded with a 4 play 37 yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a ten yard run by Raterink.
Rattlers fullback Mykel Benson put Arizona back on top when he rumbled for a 29 yard touchdown run, which is the longest run for an Arizona Rattler since 2008.
After Las Vegas again responded with an 8 yard pass from Raterink to wide receiver Ladon Hudson, The Rattlers scored with a 22 yard pass to White. Rattlers kicker Jeremy Shelley missed the point after, making the score 20-14 at the end of the first quarter.
With strong defensive play by Arizona, the Outlaws first drive of the second quarter stalled after four plays. The Rattlers’ were able to widen their lead 27-14.
The two teams traded punches for the rest of the second half with a 12 yard rush from wide receiver Jomo Wilson, and a Raterink pass to Wilson for a 9 yard touchdown pass for the Outlaws. The Rattlers responded to each touchdown with two completed passes from Davila to White.
This is where the tide turned for the Rattlers. With 2 seconds left in the half, the Arizona attempted a 32 yard field goal which missed and was fielded by wide receiver Gerald Young, and returned 52 yards for a touchdown. This was the first time the Outlaws took the lead, and they never relinquished it.
The second half started with the two teams again trading scores with the Outlaws starting it off with a 3 yard run by quarterback Sean Brackett. The next kickoff was returned for a touchdown by Cruz.
The Outlaws next possession concluded with a pass from Raterink to Hudson. The Rattlers responded with a pass from Davila to Deadder. The extra point attempt was no good, making the score 49-47, Outlaws.
Early in the 4th quarter, the Rattlers tried to retake the lead with another failed 31 yard field goal attempt by Shelley that again was returned for a touchdown by Young.
The Rattlers next possession ended with Davila throwing an interception to defensive back Dwight McLean. The Outlaws were able to drive down and score on an 8 yard pass from Raterink to wide receiver Terrence Campbell.
Arizona was able to score once more with a touchdown pass from Davila to White, but with the failed 2 point conversion and with 2 minutes to go, the game was out of reach.
The Rattlers’ next game will be at 4:00 p.m. next Saturday (April 11th) when they visit the undefeated Cleveland Gladiators (2-0). This will be the first time the two teams face each other since ArenaBowl XXVII, where the Rattlers dismantled the Gladiators 72-32.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Arizona 20 14 13 6 53
Las Vegas 14 21 14 21 70
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: WR Landon Hudson (LV)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Terrance Carter (LV)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Gerald Young (LV)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Markee White (AZ) Touchdown Catch over the boards.
AFL Highlight of the Game: WR Gerald Young (LV) 2nd missed field goal return for a touchdown.
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers have won three straight ArenaBowl championship games and are proud members of the Arena Football League (AFL). ArenaBowl XXVII marked the team’s ninth appearance in the Championship game, winning in 2014, 2013, 2012, 1997 and 1994. For tickets, call 602-514-TDTD (8383), or visit www.azrattlers.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 4th, 2015
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org
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