Phoenix, Ariz. – The world champion Arizona Rattlers were finally able to even the score at the US Airways Center Saturday night when they defeated the Las Vegas Outlaws by a score of 60-41 in front of 10,130 fans.
Saturday night’s win gives the Rattlers a comfortable two and a half game advantage for the west division.
Back in week two, Las Vegas caught Arizona off-guard with a couple of missed field goals that the Outlaws returned for touchdowns. The Rattlers would not allow another let-down, despite missing some key pieces on offense. Arizona wide receiver Rod Windsor was the only offensive player who started Saturday night to play a snap for the Rattlers last season.
“We have to develop players,” said Rattlers’ head coach and general manager Kevin Guy, “I thought our staff has done a great job of that.“
The Rattlers defense did not allow a first down until just over a minute left in the first quarter, forcing two straight four and outs. Defensive back Jeremy Kellem earned the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game for his two fourth quarter interceptions.
Arizona Rattlers’ quarterback BJ Coleman followed up his AFL MVP performance from last week with another solid performance and earned the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game. His first two completions went for touchdowns, both to Windsor the second of which was the Cutters Catch of the Game. Overall, Coleman threw for 212 yards and 7 touchdowns.
“I’m extremely proud of BJ Coleman and how he played,” Guy said. “He is going to continue to grow, and when he’s playing, the way he’s playing, it gives us flexibility not to rush Nick (Davila) back if we don’t have to.”
Arizona attacked the Outlaws both from the air and the ground. Rattlers’ fullback Mykel Benson rumbled in for two first half touchdowns, and finished the night with 26 yards on 13 carries.
Defensive back and return specialist AJ Cruz had another electric kickoff return, falling 2 yards short of another touchdown. The return was the AFL Highlight of the game. Cruz also was all over the field on defense, notching 4.5 tackles and a pass breakup.
Las Vegas’ quarterback JJ Raterink was under pressure all night. He was sacked once by linebacker Tyre Glasper, and also was rushed into some tough throws. While he did have a great second quarter, going a perfect 8 for 8 and 2 touchdowns, the rest of the game he was under 50 percent passing. Overall, he was 16 for 31, 4 touchdown and 2 picks.
The Rattlers’ next game will be Saturday, May 30th at 7:00 PM when they visit the Spokane Shock (2-5), who lost to the San Jose SaberCats Saturday night by 55 points. Arizona beat Spokane in this season’s opener by a score of 60-43. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: BJ Coleman (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: AJ Cruz (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ) Catch in back of endzone 14 yd TD 1st Qtr
AFL Highlight of the Game: AJ Cruz (AZ) 52 yd Kickoff Return
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.
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