RATTLERS FINISH OFF SABERCATS
Arizona advances to National Conference Final
Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Rattlers (16-3) defeated their division rival the San Jose SaberCats (13-6) by a score of 59-49, Sunday night on Ak-Chin Field at the US Airways Center in front of 7,932 fans to knock the SaberCats out of the playoffs and advance to the National Conference Championship game.
The SaberCats opening drive ran into a Tyre Glasper sack on third down and more pressure from the Rattlers on fourth down to force an early turnover on downs. QB Nick Davila and WR Rod Windsor only needed one play to get into the end zone from there to put Arizona on top early. San Jose QB Russ Michna would bounce back with touchdown throws to James Roe and offensive lineman Rich Ranglin. Davila would go back to Windsor for another score and at the end of the first the game was tied at 14.
Davila continued to throw Windsor’s way while Michna continued to mix up receivers in the second quarter. Windsor’s third score of the game put Arizona up seven and Huey Whittaker’s score again tied the game at 21. Tysson Poots caught an amazing touchdown after juggling the ball and hanging onto it as he somersaulted over the boards and into the Rattlers bench. Virgil Gray batted away a Michna pass on fourth down to give Arizona the ball back with just over a minute left in the half. Penalties wiped away a Clevan Thomas interception and a Windsor touchdown on the Rattlers next possession. Arizona attempted a long field goal but missed to send them into the break up 28-21.
Thomas pulled a missed field go off the net and returned it 49-yards for a touchdown for the SaberCats to open the third quarter. Maurice Purify and Williams would keep the game tied up with matching touchdown catches. After scoring on offense earlier in the game, Whittaker intercepted Davila and returned it to the end zone for a defensive touchdown to put the SaberCats on top for the first time in the game. The lead wouldn’t last long when Davila threw a quick dart to Poots in the end zone to tie the game again and end the third quarter at 42-42.
There wouldn’t be any ties in the fourth quarter. On second and goal from the Rattlers’ 2 yard-line, Jeremy Kellem recovered a Jabari Fletcher fumble to keep the SaberCats off the board. Arizona never looked back from there as Odie Armstrong banged home a touchdown to give the Rattlers a seven-point lead. Lindholm’s next kickoff would ricochet off the goal post and bounce into the hands of Poots. Davila then connected with Purify to give Arizona its biggest lead of the game at 14. Michna would respond with a 12-yard touchdown run to pull within one possession. The Rattlers offense turned to Lindholm and he connected to put the Rattlers up 10. Gray would ice the game at 59-49 with the first interception of Michna.
Davila went 21-35 for 233 yards, seven touchdowns, and one interception. Rod Windsor caught 9 passes for 123 yards, three touchdowns, and 25 rush yards. Michna went 20-36 for 238 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, and one rush touchdown. Fred Williams had seven receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown.
The Rattlers will now get set to take on the Spokane Shock in the National Conference Championship on Saturday, August 10, at 6pm on Ak-Chin Field at the US Airways Center.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers QB Nick Davila
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
San Jose SaberCats DB Ken Fontenette
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers WR Tysson Poots
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers WR Tysson Poots over the wall catch in the 2nd quarter
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers DB Jeremy Kellem fumble recovery in the 4th 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.