Phoenix, Ariz. – The five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (6-2) get back in the win column with a 47-34 victory over conference foe, LA KISS (3-4) at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona in front of 14,519 fans.
The Rattlers defense came up huge in defeating the KISS. Arizona had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, 11 pass breakups, and a sack.
“We got about four or five stops tonight,” said General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy. “I’m pretty pleased. I think we got a fumble, two picks, and two fourth down stops.”
Allen “Bubba” Chapman especially stood out. Despite playing hurt in the last couple of weeks, he has been playing strong, especially tonight, earning the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game.
“I know Bubba has been taking a lot of heat from our fan base,” Guy said. “I don’t care what anyone says, Bubba can play and he can help us win a championship.”
New faces on defense also played a big role. Defensive back KJ Morton got his first start in the middle, and he impressed in a big way, getting six pass breakups to go along with two tackles.
“We made some changes to get better on defense,” said Guy. “We put the rookie KJ Morton in the middle. I thought he battled all night long.”
Wide receiver / linebacker Chase Deadder looked like he was finally starting to reach his potential on defense, tallying 6.5 tackles and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
“I’ve been working at Jack (linebacker) since training camp, and that pick six made my day,” said Deadder. “It was just nice to be able to contribute to the team as a jack and I feel like I’m picking things up better as I go.”
Deadder had an impressive night offensively as well. He had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. His efforts on both sides of the ball earned him the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award.
A new face on the Rattlers offense also showed up, and in a big way. Wide receiver Joe Matthews, in his first professional game, earned the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game award, hauling in five catches for 84 yards and three touchdowns.
“The guy can play,” said Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila. “He did an excellent job of making plays on the ball, hitting it with speed and doing all the things coach has been preaching all season.”
Matthews was given the opportunity to play for the Rattlers by attending both open tryouts that were held in the offseason.
“There were, of course, nerves, and there was a lot of new stuff to learn,” said Matthews. “But, playing with these guys that have been here a while kind of helps take some of the pressure off.”
Arizona looked a little shaky early on when on their opening series Davila threw an interception in the end zone to defensive back Clevan Thomas, who ran it back 22 yards to their own 20 yard line. The Rattlers defense, however, was able to step up and force a 4-and-out on LA. Three plays later, Davila threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Matthews. The point after was missed by kicker Alex Zendejas.
On the next series, the KISS took their only lead of the game when quarterback Nathan Stanley threw a 40-yard bomb to wide receiver Donovan Morgan for the score. LA led Arizona at the end of the first 7-6.
The Rattlers took the game over in the second with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Matthews. On the KISS’ next possession Stanley’s pass was intercepted by defensive back Allen Chapman and returned 48-yards for the touchdown, which was the AFL Highlight of the Game.
The KISS finally responded with a 20-yard pass from Stanley to wide receiver Brandon Collins. LA’s defense held strong on the next series, forcing the Rattlers to a 4-and-out. They were unable to capitalize; however, when on third down, Stanley was intercepted by wide receiver / linebacker Chase Deadder and returned 11-yards for the score. KISS quarterback Stanley was hurt on the play and would not return.
The KISS looked like they might get back in the game when, with 9 seconds left, backup quarterback Pete Thomas threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Morgan, the point after was missed by kicker Joey Cejudo. The Rattlers, however, would get a big 25-yard return from wide receiver Anthony Amos, and on the final play of the half, Davila would throw his third touchdown pass of the night to Matthews, a 31-yard touchdown strike to put the Rattlers up 34-20. This was the Cutters Catch of the Game.
The Rattlers and the KISS traded punches in the 3rd with both teams scoring twice. The KISS scored off two touchdown passes from Thomas to Collins. Arizona retaliated with two scores, both from Davila to Deadder.
Neither team scored in the fourth, and the game ended with the final score 47-34.
The Rattlers go back on the road next Sunday, May 29th and take on the Tampa Bay Storm for the second and final time this season. The Storm still have to play the Cleveland Gladiators (3-4) Monday night, which will be televised on Univision Deportes.
The matchup between the Rattlers and the Storm take place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Fla. at 11:00 a.m. PDT. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com or on the WatchESPN app on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
LA 6 13 14 0 34
Arizona 7 28 13 0 47
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: Joe Matthews (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Allen Chapman (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Chase Deadder (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Joe Matthews (AZ) 2Q 30-yard TD Catch
AFL Highlight of the Game: Allen Chapman (AZ) 48 yard INT in 2Q
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21st, 2016
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org