Orlando, Fla. – The five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (5-1) dropped their first game of the season against the undefeated Orlando Predators (6-0) by a score of 77-59 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida in front of 10,512 fans.
Quarterback Nick Davila had a solid night, completing 23 of 34 passes for 301 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had one pick, and was sacked once. His efforts, however, were not enough to get the win.
Despite the loss, there was one bright moment of the night for the Rattlers. Wide receiver Rod Windsor became the all-time receptions leader for the Rattlers, eclipsing Rattlers’ legend Hunkie Cooper (776).
Orlando received the ball and got the scoring started with a six yard pass from Predators’ quarterback Randy Hippeard to wide receiver Brandon Thompkins. Hippeard earned the Under Armour Offensve player of the Game award and Thompkins earned the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award. The Rattlers responded two plays later with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver Anthony Amos. After a four and out which featured multiple penalties by Orlando, and a sack by defensive end Damien Borel, Arizona scored again with a two yard pass from Davila to wide receiver Maurice Purify. Orlando tied the game again at 14 with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Hippeard to wide receiver Greg Carr as the time expired.
The Rattlers took the lead again early in the second with a touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor, the pass that made him the all-time receptions leader. The point-after from kicker Kenny Spencer was missed, making the score 20-14.
At this point, the Predators re-took the lead and would never relinquish it. Orlando scored with a one-yard rush by jack linebacker Terrance Moore. The next series, Davila threw and interception in the end-zone to defensive back Paul Stephens, which was the AFL Highlight of the Game. Orlando scored again with a one-yard run by wide receiver Larry Brackens.
The Rattlers scored again with a six-yard touchdown pass from Davila to wide receiver / jack linebacker Chase Deadder. The Predators, however, would close out the half with two touchdown passes from Hippeard to Brackens. At halftime, the Rattlers trailed the Predators 42-27.
The third quarter was a see-saw battle, where each team traded scores. The Rattlers scored on two touchdown passes from Davila, one to Purify, the other to Windsor. Rattlers kicker Spencer left the game early in the third, causing Arizona to go for the two-point conversion through most of the second half. Amos also returned a kickoff for a touchdown late in the third.
The Predators answered every Rattlers’ score with three touchdown passes from Hippeard, one to Carr, one to Thompkins, and one to wide receiver Jordan McCray.
The Predators pulled away in the fourth quarter where after a four and out by the Rattlers, Hippeard threw a s38-yard touchdown pass to Carr, which was the Cutters Catch of the Game. The Rattlers were able to score two more times, but the Predators would be able to hold on with a final score of 77-59.
The Rattlers will again travel east next Saturday, May 14th when they face the one-loss Philadelphia Soul (4-1). The Soul still have to play the Tampa Bay Storm (0-4) Monday night, which will be televised on Univision Deportes.
The matchup between the Rattlers and the Soul will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 3:30 p.m. PDT, and will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Arizona 14 13 20 12 59
Orlando 14 28 21 14 77
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: QB Randy Hippeard (ORL)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Paul Stephens (ORL)
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Brandon Thompkins (ORL)
Cutters Catch of the Game: 38-yard TD reception by Orlando WR Greg Carr (ORL) (Q4 | 11:01)
AFL Highlight of the Game: Interception in the end zone by Orlando DB Paul Stephens (ORL) (Q2 | 3:51)
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.
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