Phoenix, Ariz. – Five years is a long time to wait to get revenge. The last time the Rattlers and the Storm met, a controversial no call at the end of the game cost Arizona the win. The three-time defending world champions finally got their chance Saturday night, and Arizona took advantage, defeating Tampa Bay convincingly by a score of 69-46 in front of 12,304 fans.
Rattlers’ quarterback Nick Davila returned to the lineup tonight after spending the last five weeks on injured reserve, and he looked like he did not miss a beat, throwing for 9 touchdowns and no interceptions, earning him the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game.
“I thought for his first game back in five weeks, he played excellent,” Head Coach and general manager Kevin Guy said. “He will only get better from here.”
Davila’s 275 yards moved him to 9th place all-time in passing yards, pushing him past Raymond Philyaw. He now has 26,562 all-time passing yards.
The Rattlers took control early, when on Tampa Bay’s first possession, defensive end Michael McAdoo sacked Storm quarterback Jason Boltus and forced a fumble which was recovered by defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne. The defense from there held strong throughout the first half, only allowing 14 first half points. “We came on really strong in the second quarter,” Guy said. “That’s the level we can play at when we want to turn it on.” The Rattlers, held Boltus to under 50 percent passing (22-46), and while they only got the one sack, they kept the pressure on him throughout the night.
AJ Cruz led the defense with 8 total tackles in the game. He also had one rushing touchdown, and 125 kickoff return yards. His contributions on all aspects of the game earned him the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award.
Defensive back Jeremy Kellem got to celebrate his birthday by earning the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game with his two interceptions of the night (the first of which earned the AFL Highlight of the Game), to go along with his four pass breakups. This marks the third straight game with at least one interception, grabbing five total in that span.
Defensive back Marquis Floyd caught an interception tonight from Boltus. This interception moves him to third all-time, passing Los Angeles KISS defensive back Rayshaun Kizer. This was his third interception this year.
The Storm, who have faced arguably the toughest schedule in the league, has now lost three of their last four games, and find themselves outside of the playoff race.
The Rattlers’ next game will be Friday June 12th at 7:00 PM when they visit the Portland Thunder (3-6), who face the Los Angeles KISS Sunday night. Arizona beat Portland four weeks into the season by a score of 65-47. The game will be streamed live online on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app on a tablet or smartphone.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Tampa Bay 7 7 12 20 46
Arizona 14 27 7 21 69
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: AJ Cruz (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Julius Gregory (TB) 4th Qtr Summersault TD catch
AFL Highlight of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ) 2nd Qtr Interception
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: June 6th, 2015
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org
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