Tampa Bay, Fla. – The five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (6-3) lost to the Tampa Bay Storm (1-7) by a score of 63-56 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida in front of 8,298 fans.
The Rattlers led by 13 points going into the fourth quarter, but the Storm scored 21 unanswered points and would eventually hold on for the victory.
Wide receivers Rod Windsor and Chase Deadder made up the bulk of the Rattlers offense, combining for 235 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Davila had a good night statistically, completing 22 of 36 passes for 341 yards and seven touchdowns. He did, however, throw one interception, and was sacked twice.
On the other side of the ball, defensive back Keiron Jones led the Rattlers defense with 7.5 tackles and one pass breakup, in only his second game. Defensive backs KJ Morton and Al Phillips each broke up two passes as well. Unfortunately, it was not enough to earn the win.
The first quarter was a see-saw battle, with each team scoring twice. The Rattlers scored with 36-yard and 37-yard touchdown passes respectively from Davila, the first to wide receiver Rod Windsor, the second to wide receiver / linebacker Chase Deadder. The Storm responded to each score with a one-yard run from quarterback Jason Boltus, and a 25-yard touchdown pass from Boltus to wide receiver Gerald Young. The quarter ended 14-all.
The Rattlers scored first in the second, with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Deadder. The Storm responded with Young returning the ensuing kickoff 56-yards for the score.
Arizona countered with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Deadder, then after a Tampa Bay four-and-out, the Rattlers scored again on a 2-yard rush by fullback Mykel Benson. The Storm would score one more time before the half with a four-yard rush by backup quarterback Adam Kennedy.
The half ended with a pair of turnovers, the first, an interception thrown by Davila to defensive back Cortez Stubbs, the second, a botched snap by Bolt us, recovered by defensive end Cliff Dukes. The Rattlers led 35-28 at halftime.
The third quarter began with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Boltus to wide receiver Phillip Barnett to tie the game. The Rattlers answered with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Deadder. After Arizona forced another four-and-out on the Storm, the Rattlers scored again with a six-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor. The Rattlers led 48-35 after three.
The Storm began the fourth quarter scoring 21-straight points, with three touchdown passes from Boltus, two to Barnett, the third to wide receiver T.T. Tolliver.
The Rattlers would tie the game with 21 seconds left on the clock with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor, but the Storm would respond with a quick 28-yard touchdown pass from Boltus to Toliver, leaving three seconds left on the clock.
Davila threw one last pass attempt to wide receiver Joe Matthews, but the ball would sail wide out of bounds with no time left on the clock.
The Rattlers will again travel east next Friday, June 3rd when they face their conference foe, the Cleveland Gladiators (5-4). The Gladiators are coming off a 14-point victory over the league-leading Philadelphia Soul (7-2). The matchup will take place at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio at 4:00 p.m. PDT, and can be seen on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Arizona 14 21 13 0 56
Tampa Bay 14 14 7 21 63
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: T.T. Toliver, Tampa Bay
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Cortez Stubbs, Tampa Bay
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Chase Deadder, Arizona
Cutters Catch of the Game: Rod Windsor, Arizona, 23-yards, 8:56, 2nd quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: Gerald Young, Tampa Bay, Kickoff return for TD 00:17 left in First quarter
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29th, 2016
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