Phoenix, Ariz. – The five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (3-0) won their sixth straight home opener when they defeated the Tampa Bay Storm (0-3) Saturday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena by a score of 60-27 in front of 14,872 fans, the largest home crowd for the Rattlers since April 16th 2010.
Arizona Quarterback Nick Davila’s day couldn’t have started better. Six hours before the game, he was blessed with the birth of his third child.
“I’m headed (to the hospital) now,” Davila said. “They watched the game there. She will be on my butt for fumbling.”
Aside from the fumble, Davila had an exceptional night, earning the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game for completing 28 of 37 pass attempts for 248 yards and 7 touchdowns. Davila still has yet to throw an interception this season.
The defense once again stepped up tonight. For the third straight game, the Rattlers have held their opponent to under 30 points. Linebacker Tyre Glasper recovered a fumble, returning it 32 yards for a touchdown, which was the AFL Highlight of the game. Glasper also sacked Tampa Bay’s quarterback Jason Boltus on a fourth down play. For all of his efforts, Glasper was the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game.
This is also the third straight game where the Rattlers have won by at least 30.
“We are going to grind it out,” General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy said. “It’s about the grind, teams get better or worse, but they don’t stay the same.”
It was all Rattlers in the first, beginning with the coin toss, flipped by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinal’s Head Coach Bruce Arians, and deferred. The Rattlers proceeded to score after two four and outs by the Storm. Both passes were from Davila, the first to wide receiver Rod Windsor, the second to wide receiver Maurice Purify. The quarter ended 13-0 in favor of the Rattlers.
The Storm started to warm up in the second quarter, scoring on a 30 yard pass from Tampa Bay quarterback Jason Boltus to wide receiver T. T. Tolliver. After the first four and out this season by Arizona, Boltus again completed a touchdown pass, this time a 41-yarder to wide receiver Phillip Barnnett, to tie the game at 13 all.
This was when the Rattlers took the game over. Davila threw another touchdown pass to wide receiver Chase Deadder to re-take the lead. On the ensuing drive, linebacker Tyre Glasper recovered a fumble by Boltus and returned it 32 yards for the score. On Tampa Bay’s very next drive, Glasper sacked Boltus on fourth down. The Rattlers burned the rest of the half on the next drive, scoring with eight seconds left from a pass from Davila to Purify. The score was 33-13 at the end of the half.
The second half started the same way the first half did, with a touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor. They connected again at the end of the quarter for a 4 yard touchdown catch.
Tampa Bay scored in the third with a 15 yard touchdown pass from Boltus to wide receiver V’Keon Lacey.
The Storm scored again five seconds into the fourth with a 1 yard touchdown from Boltus, making the score 47-27.
The Ratters finished the night with a five yard pass from Davila to Windsor, and a 40 yard interception return for a touchdown by wide receiver / linebacker Kerry Reed.
The Rattlers go back on the road next Saturday, April 23rd to face the Jacksonville Sharks. The game will take place at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena at 4:00 p.m. PDT, and will be streamed online on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app on a tablet or smartphone.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Tampa Bay 0 13 7 7 60
Arizona 13 20 14 13 27
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Tyre Glasper (AZ)
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Mykel Benson (AZ) 1 handed catch
AFL Highlight of the Game: Tyre Glasper (AZ) fumble recovery for 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.