Phoenix, Ariz. – The five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (5-0) stayed undefeated with a win over conference foe, Portland Steel (0-4) at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona in front of 11,510 fans.
The Rattlers were once again playing tough on both sides of the ball. Offensively, quarterback Nick Davila completed 14 of 18 passes (78%) for 246 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was only sacked once.
“(The opposing) defense dictates who gets the ball,” Davila said when asked about his pass efficiency. “I just try to be perfect with my decision making.”
On the defensive side, the secondary flexed their muscles with two newcomers having a huge night. Defensive back Al Phillips made a solid contribution in his Rattlers’ debut, amassing 6 tackles and a pick.
“We got a lead and I was able to put Al Phillips in there,” General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy said. “You know, he’s only been here three days.”
Defensive back KJ Morton also had a big night with four tackles, and kept his man from being targeted for most of the night.
“(KJ) is solid,” said Guy. “I don’t think he’s given up a touchdown yet. They keep testing him, but he is stronger than people think he is.”
As good as Phillips and Morton were, the strength of the secondary came from defensive back Arkeith Brown. He tallied 10.5 tackles and had an astounding six pass breakups. His efforts earned him the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game award.
“Arkeith has been waiting to get in that middle,” Guy said, referring to Brown’s switch from the corner position to safety.
The first quarter started very similar to the opening night game in Portland. The Steel came out and scored quickly, with a touchdown pass from quarterback Kasey Peters to wide receiver Tyrone Goard to take an early lead. And just like opening night this would be the last time the Steel would score in the first quarter.
The Rattlers offense matched Portland’s pace to start the game. On their first possession, Davila threw a 48 yard pass to wide receiver, Rod Windsor, however the point after was missed. On the ensuing possession, Peters fumbled the football and it was picked up by linebacker Tyre Glasper and returned it one yard for the score. For the rest of the quarter, both defenses stiffened, with each team forcing a turnover on downs, and at the end of the first the score was 13-7.
Arizona continued to roll in the second quarter, scoring 21 straight points with three touchdown passes from Davila, two to wide receiver Anthony Amos, and one to wide receiver Maurice Purify. The Steel were finally able to get back in the end zone from a 1-yard touchdown pass from Peters, to Goard with seven seconds left in the half. The Rattlers led 34-14 at halftime.
The Rattlers defense came out strong in the second half registering five sacks. These included three straight in the fourth quarter by defensive end Chris McAllister, nose tackle Anttaj Hawthorne, and defensive end Dimetrio Tyson, who earned the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award. In all, Arizona held Portland to one second half touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, Nick Davila threw three more touchdowns, two to Windsor and one to Purify. Windsor also rushed for one more.
Quarterback Shane Boyd came in to the game late in the fourth and ran in for the final touchdown of the game.
The Rattlers go back on the road next Saturday, May 7th to battle the only other undefeated team left in the AFL, the Orlando Predators (5-0). Orlando is coming off a 20-point victory over the Cleveland Gladiators, which occurred Friday night. The game will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida at 4:30 p.m. PDT, and will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Portland 7 7 7 0 21
Arizona 13 21 20 14 68
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Arkeith Brown (AZ)
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Dimetrio Tyson (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ) 48 yard TD catch
AFL Highlight of the Game: Tyre Glasper (AZ) fumble recovery and TD
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers have won five 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 30th, 2016
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org