RATTLERS CLINCH CONFERENCE TITLE
Second half powers Arizona past Spokane; 65-57
Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Rattlers captured their third-straight National Conference Championship with an exciting second half, in which they held the Spokane Shock scoreless, that lifted them to a 65-57 victory on Saturday night on Ak-Chin Field at the US Airways Center to advance to ArenaBowl XXVI.
Erik Meyer and Brandon Thompkins started off red-hot for the Shock as Meyer got the scoring started on a quarterback keeper touchdown and then threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Thompkins on his next drive. Nick Davila would keep the game tied initially with a touchdown toss to Tysson Poots, but his next possession would end on a Jeremy Geathers sack. Meyer would close out the first quarter with another touchdown pass to Thompkins and a 21-7 lead.
The Rattlers offense had two fumbles on the first drive of the second quarter, but recovered both and cashed in with Odie Armstrong. The Meyer to Thompkins connection continued to score touchdowns and regained a 14-point lead. Arkeith Brown returned a kickoff 56-yards for a touchdown to keep the Rattlers within seven. Meyer would find Thompkins in the end zone for the fourth time in the first half to keep pressure on Arizona. Davila would respond with another touchdown pass to Poots to cut the Shock lead to seven and start the Rattlers comeback as they put up 37 unanswered points. Garrett Lindholm dribbled the ball onsides on the ensuing kickoff and then recovered it himself to give the Rattlers an extra possession and a field goal would leave the Shock with just a four point lead at the break.
The Rattlers came out of the locker room with a fury. Davila hit Purify on a 44-yard catch and run to give Arizona the lead for the first time in the game. Meyer’s hot start would come to an end as he threw four straight incompletions for a turnover on downs. Rod Windsor would capitalize on the first Spokane turnover on a 28-yard touchdown catch. Jeremy Kellem forced a fumble on the Shock’s next possession and Kerry Reed recovered it for another turnover. Davila would again capitalize by throwing another touchdown to Purify. The once hot Shock offense stayed ice cold in the third quarter as Kellem intercepted Meyer for the third straight turnover. Spokane failed to get on the scoreboard and the Rattlers led 51-35.
Poots started off the fourth quarter with the Rattlers third straight touchdown off a Shock turnover. After scoring four touchdowns in the first half Thompkins found the end zone again to stop the Spokane scoring draught. On the Rattlers next possession Windsor finished off the drive with a touchdown catch, capping a 45-7 run. The Shock would not leave without a fight as Adron Tennell scored two straight touchdowns with the help of an onside kick. Kamar Jorden scored on a two-point conversion after Tennell’s second score to bring Spokane within one possession. The Rattlers would foil the comeback attempt by recovering the ensuing onside kick and finishing the game on top 65-57.
Davila went 24-of-44 for 294 yards and eight passing touchdowns. Tysson Poots had nine catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns while Windsor and Purify had two TDs apiece. Meyer finished 24-of-41 for 344 yards, eight total touchdowns, and one interception. Thompkins recorded 11 catches for 184 yards and five touchdowns and Tennell had the other two scores.
The Rattlers advance to their third consecutive ArenaBowl next Saturday, August 17, in Orlando and will face off against a familiar foe, the Philadelphia Soul, in what will be a rematch of ArenaBowl XXV.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers QB Nick Davila
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers DL Cliff Dukes
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers WR Tysson Poots
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers WR Maurice Purify 44-yard touchdown catch in the 3rd quarter
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers DB Arkeith Brown 56-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers are the 2012 ArenaBowl XXV World Champions and are proud members of theArena Football League (AFL). ArenaBowl XXV marked the Rattlers seventh appearance in the AFL Championship Game where they have earned Arena Bowl titles in 1994, 1997 and 2012.
For ticket information please call (602) 514-TDTD (8383) or visit www.azrattlers.com.
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