FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13th, 2016
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phoenix, Ariz. – The five-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (15-3) will make their tenth ArenaBowl appearance after an 82-41 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators (8-10) at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, in front of a season high 15,103 fans.
The Rattlers will make their league-leading tenth appearance to the ArenaBowl after winning the National Conference crown for the fifth time in six seasons Saturday night.
“For us, five out of six years, it’s awesome,” said Owner and Rattlers’ CEO Ron Shurts. “We’re getting this thing done. The fans here really put it together, they’re the best.”
Arizona’s defense was stifling, forcing five turnovers, and only allowing 41 points. Defensive Back Jeremy Kellem led the night with 6.5 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, which was the AFL Highlight of the Game.
Offensively, the Rattlers were just as unstoppable, doubling up the Gladiators with 82 points. Quarterback Nick Davila completed 20 of his 27 passes for 222 yards and seven touchdowns. He earned the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game award for his efforts.
Like they have all season, the Rattlers started fast, scoring on their first drive with a one-yard touchdown rush by fullback Mykel Benson. After a four-and-out by Cleveland, Arizona once again got on the board with a five-yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver Anthony Amos.
The Gladiators were able to get on the board at the end of the quarter with a one-yard pass from quarterback Arvell Nelson to wide receiver Quentin Sims. The quarter ended with the Rattlers up 14-7.
Arizona was able to score again early in the second with 13-yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver Rod Windsor. On Cleveland’s next drive, defensive back Jeremy Kellem picked off a pass from Nelson and returned it 35-yards for the score.
Cleveland got their second score of the game off of a 29-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Sims. The Rattlers turned right around and scored off of a 35-yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver Maurice Purify. After another four-and-out by Cleveland, the Rattlers again scored from a six-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Purify. With the one-minute timing rules in place, the Rattlers attempted an onside kick, which was returned eight-yards by Joe Powell for the score.
Arizona scored one more time at the end of the half from another one-yard rush by Benson. The half ended with the Rattlers holding a commanding 48-20 lead.
The third quarter was not much kinder to the Gladiators. They scored their only points of the quarter off a three-yard pass from Nelson to Sims. The Rattlers responded with a pair of touchdown passes, both from Davila to Purify. The third quarter ended with a score of 61-27, Rattlers.
Arizona would show no signs of slowing down as they scored on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 14 yard touchdown pass to Rod Windsor. Beavers responded with a 58 yard kick return touchdown. Cleveland would recover an onside kick and score later that drive with a 17 yard Manley run to bring the score to 68-41. However, it would be too little too late for a Gladiators comeback. The Rattlers would add two more scores from Boyd to Amos to end the game with a final score of 82-41.
The Rattlers enter into a bye week before the ArenaBowl. Their opponent will be determined in the American Conference Championship game held tomorrow in Philadelphia, where the Soul will take on the Jacksonville Sharks at 3:00 p.m. PDT.
ArenaBowl XXIX will be held at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The game will be at 4:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, August 26th, and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
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Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Anthony Amos (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Maurice Purify (AZ) tipped ball in double coverage 24-yard TD 3Q
AFL Highlight of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ) 25-yard Pick-six 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.azrattlers.com.