Phoenix, Ariz. – A 33-point second quarter lifted five time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (9-3) over the Philadelphia Soul (9-3) by a score of 80-63 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona in front of 11,067 fans.
This win put the Rattlers in position to control its own destiny in their quest to earn the number one seed, and with it, host ArenaBowl XXIX.
“We control our own destiny, there is no doubt about it,” said General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy. “That’s what we wanted to get out of it. We’ll play an improving LA team next week.”
Arizona scored on all phases of the game, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, as well as scoring twice on special teams.
“I thought the defense took the game over, offensively we were keeping our foot on the gas pedal. (Jeremy Kellem) had a pick six; (Arkieth Brown) had a pick six. We got a ball off the net, (Dan) Buckner recovered one and ran it in for a touchdown.”
Defensive back Jeremy Kellem had a strong performance in only his second start of the season. He led the team with 9 tackles, had one pass breakup, and returned his interception 26-yards for the score. His efforts earned him the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game award.
“It felt like I’m finally settling into last year’s form” said Kellem.
Former Arizona Wildcat wide receiver Dan Buckner had a very strong game as well, and was named the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the game. Not only did he recover a bar ball on the kickoff for six, he also pulled in an interception late in the fourth to help the Rattlers close out the game.
Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila completed 17 of his 27 passes for 201 yards and seven touchdowns, four of which to wide receiver Chase Deadder, who earned the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game award.
“I thought Deadder had a real nice game,” Guy said. “He came out and made some big plays for us. Stuff that we thought was going to be there was there. When we got those three on the field we feel pretty strong about how we match up with other teams, we’re a big physical team.”
Philadelphia came into the Snake Pit boasting the number one scoring defense. The Rattlers, however, were not deterred, and dropped 80 points on them, the most points scored against the Soul in team history.
“That is the standard that Coach Guy wants,” said Davila. “That’s the standard that I want for myself and for our offense.”
The two teams went back and forth in scoring in the first quarter. The Soul started quick, with wide receiver Chris Duvalt returning the opening kickoff for the score. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw two more touchdown passes, both to wide receiver Darius Reynolds. The Rattlers responded to each score, twice with touchdown tosses from Davila to wide receiver Chase Deadder, and a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Mykel Benson. The Rattlers missed one point after, giving the Soul a one-point lead, 21-20 by the end of the quarter.
The Rattlers took full control of the game in the second quarter. After the Soul scored with a one yard rush from fullback Jeramie Richardson, the Rattlers scored four straight touchdowns. Arizona started with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Deadder. On the ensuing kickoff, the ball came off the net bar, and was recovered by wide receiver Dan Buckner, who returned it for a score. Three plays later, defensive back Jeremy Kellem intercepted the ball thrown from Raudabaugh and ran back 26-yards for the score. The Soul’s next possession ended with another interception thrown by Raudabaugh, this time by defensive back Arkeith Brown, and was returned 21-yards for the touchdown.
Philadelphia would finally get back on the board with 48 seconds left in the half with a 3-yard pass from Raudabaugh to wide receiver Ryan McDaniel. The Soul attempted an onside kick, which was returned by wide receiver Maurice Purify for the final score of the half. The second quarter ended with the Rattlers leading 53-35.
The Rattlers received the ball first at the beginning of the third, and took advantage scoring on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Purify. The Soul responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to Richardson. The Rattlers continued to lead at the end of the third, 60-42.
The Soul closed the gap a bit in the fourth. After a 15-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor, Philadelphia scored twice, once a 26-yard pass from Raudabaugh to Reynolds. After a couple of interceptions thrown by Davila, another touchdown pass from Raudabaugh, this time to Duvalt.
The Rattlers responded with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Purify. Philadelphia would score one more time with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to Duvalt. Deadder would end the game with his fourth touchdown catch thrown by Davila, making the final scoure 80-63.
The Rattlers take their final road trip of the season next Sunday, June 26th when they head to the Honda Center in Anaheim to take on their Conference foe, the LA KISS (4-6). The KISS still have to play the Tampa Bay Storm on Saturday.
The Rattlers/KISS game will be broadcasted online on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Philadelphia 21 14 7 21 63
Arizona 20 33 7 20 80
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: Chase Deadder (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
J.Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Dan Buckner (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Maurice Purify (AZ) TD catch after it was tipped twice 4Q
AFL Highlight of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ) INT returned 26-yards for TD 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17th, 2016
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