Phoenix, Ariz. – The Arizona Rattlers (3-1) flexed its defensive muscle Saturday night with a victory over their conference rival, the Portland Thunder (2-2) by a score of 65-47.
With this win, head coach and general manager Kevin Guy is now one win away from tying Jay Gruden for 6th place all-time career regular season wins. Guy currently has 81 regular season wins.
Arizona leaned heavily on the defense in the first half and the offense in the second to earn this win. Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila had an outstanding night throwing 9 touchdowns (6 of them going to wide receiver Rod Windsor) and had 319 passing yards. The defense back Marquis Floyd was able to force 2 fumbles and defensive back Jeremy Kellem caught an interception.
Although the Rattlers seemed to be clicking on both offense and defense, Arizona still struggled on special teams. The Rattlers are on their third kicker this week when Fabrizio Scaccia was unable to go today due to a pulled muscle. In his place was former Arizona Wildcat kicker Alex Zendejas, who only went 5 for 9 on point after attempts (PATs). Zendejas was better on kickoffs. He averaged 50 yards on the kickoff and was able to kick the ball off the bar or the net on most of his attempts.
The Rattlers defense was stifling, only allowing the Portland Thunder to score 13 first half points. Arizona’s defensive back Marquis Floyd forced his first fumble on wide receiver Duane Brookes that went for a touchback on Portland’s opening drive. Kellem, the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, caught an interception from quarterback Kyle Rowley late in the second half and returned it to mid-field, which was the AFL Highlight of the game. The Rattlers also forced two turn-overs on downs, including one where the Thunder had a first and goal on the 1 yard line.
The Rattlers offense was just as affective, with Davila throwing 4 first half touchdowns, including a 3 yard pass to wide receiver Markee White, an 11 yard pass to Windsor who was the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, and two catches by wide receiver Kerry Reed, the first was a 32 yard bomb, and the second was an impressive 1 handed grab late in the second quarter which was the Cutters catch of the game. Davila did throw one interception to defensive back Bryce Peila. The first half ended with the Rattlers doubling up on the Thunder 26-13.
The second half was more of a seesaw battle. Rattlers scored twice in the third quarter with two touchdown passes from Davila to Windsor, and 8 yard pass, and a 5 yard pass. The Rattlers failed to convert on both 3rd quarter PATs.
Portland responded with a 7 yard touchdown run by fullback John Martinez. This was the only rushing touchdown scored by either team. They also had a 12 yard pass from Rowley to wide receiver Jamar Howard.
The offense on both teams opened up in the 4th quarter. Davila threw four 4th quarter touchdown passes, three of which went to Windsor, a 9 yard pass to Reed.
Portland was able to score on three of their final four possessions; however, it was not enough to catch up to the Rattlers.
The Rattlers’ next game will be next Saturday, April 25th at 7:00 PM when they visit the Los Angeles KISS (0-4), who have struggled early this season. This will be Arizona’s first meeting with the KISS this season. The game will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Kerry Reed (AZ) One handed touchdown catch late in the second quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ) interception in the end zone and brought back past mid-field.
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers have won three straight 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: April 18th, 2015
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org