– The Iowa fans packed Wells Fargo arena early, weathering the storms outside to create a thunderous environment inside. To start the game the Barnstormers Jason Simpson fumbled the opening kickoff and Arizona recovered in the endzone to take a quick 6 nothing lead which went to 7 nothing after the Chris Gould extra point.
The Barnstormers answered with an 8 play drove that was capped with a touchdown from Raternik to Schmidt. Early in the first quarter the Rattlers league leading passing offense was clicking as quarterback Nick Davila connected with Maurice Purify for a touchdown on the first offensive series. Purify clutched the ball as he was being dumped over the wall by two Barnstormers defenders.
Coming into this week’s game Davila lead the AFL with 1,328 passing yards andadded 37 in the first quarter of this contest. The Rattlers leading offensive weapon Maurice Purify already had 3 catches for all 37 yards and 1 TD. The Barstormers JJ Raternik started the game 6 for 9 with 1 TD. His two main targets in the opening quarter were Schmidt and Mathews. Schmidt had 3 catches for 25 yards and a TD, while Matthews had 22 catches for 38 yards.
To start the second quarter, the Rattlers high scoring offense drove 34 yards for a quick touchdown Davila to Thurman. Once Gould added to extra point the Rattlers went up 21 to 13 with 11:57 left in the first half. The Barnstormers come back with a 5 play drive with Raterink finding his go to guy Schmidt for 20 yard TD.
Iowa’s defense intercepted Davila on the next offensive series as Davila was looking for Glen Fox across the middle. Then the lights went out in the building and the stands where cleared. The stadium rang with the emergency evacuation alarm. After an approximate 20 minute delay the lights came back on and the players re-took the field. The Barnstormers came out and threw a crossing route to Matthews which was ruled down by contact. Coach Guy challenged as he believed the ball was loose.
The Rattlers won the challenge and took control of the ball at their own 15 yardline. With one pass Davila to Reed the Rattlers went down to the Iowa 15 yardline. Two plays later Davila threw a TD to FB Odie Armstrong off the right side to put Arizona up 28 to 20 with 4:24 left in the first half. On the ensuing kickoff a sure touchdown was saved by kicker Chris Gould as he forced two Barnstormers into the wall. Iowa drove down and scored with :49 seconds left.
On their next possession the Rattlers attempted an onsides kick which the Barstormers recovered but they were penalized for being off sides which gave the Rattlers the ball at the Iowa 4 yard line with :46 seconds to go in the half. Arizona scored with :35 seconds left with a Davila pass to Purify. A Chris Gould missed extra point left the score Rattlers 34 and Barnstormers 27. The half ended with the Barnstormers scoring with Schmidt catching his 4th touchdown of the night. The half time score was 34-34.
The Rattlers received the ball in the second half and Thurman got pinned in the endzone giving the Rattlers the ball at the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Davila hit Thurman for a 37 yard touchdown that was called back for offsetting personal foul penalties. Three plays later the Rattlers scored with a 15-yard pass Davila to Kerry Reed. Chris Gould missed his second extra point of the night to make the score Arizona 40 the Barnstormers 34.
JJ Raterink lead the Barnstormers down the field to score another touchdown to Schmidt, making it 5 touchdowns on the night for Schmidt. Camey missed the extra point with pressure coming from Glasper knotting this contest at 40. After a seven play drive the Rattlers were stopped on 4th down from the 12-yardline. After the turnover on downs the Barnstormers scored in two plays with yet another touchdown catch for Schmidt his 6th of the night to push Iowa up 47 to 40 with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with the Rattlers trailing the Barnstormers by 7. The Rattlers Nick Davila was 19 for 25 with 221-yard and 5-touchdowns heading into the final period of play. His counterpart JJ Raterink was 18 for 25 with 210-yard and 6-touchdowns. The leading receiver for Arizona was Maurice Purify with 9-catches for 102-yards and 2-touchdowns. Jesse Schmidt for Iowa was having a career night with 10 catches, 6 of them being touchdowns.
Davila opened the fourth quarter driving the Rattlers down the field for a touchdown after he hooked up with Reed for 7-yard toss. This back and forth contest had yet another tie 47-47 with 12:56 to go in the game. JJ Raterink found Chris Matthews for a 7-yard touchdown after a 9-play drive to put Iowa on top 53 to 47 and Camey missed another extra point.
Davila hit Glen Fox for a 23 yard pick up on the next series to set up the Rattlers at the 12-yard line but after an unnecessary roughness penalty Nick Davila threw his second pick of the night to #4 Derek Pegues, giving Iowa first and goal at the Rattler 11-yardline.
The Rattler defense held the Barnstormerss out of the endzone on three straight plays. On 4th down and 7 to go Camey lined up for a 23 yard field goal attempt which was good putting Iowa up 56 to 47 with :57.9 second left in the game.
On the ensuing drive Arizona saw a touchdown taken away by a penalty foroffside by the high motion man. The Rattlers scored a touchdown with :30.4 seconds left in the contest. With Gould’s extra point the score was 56 to 54 Barnstormers.
The Rattlers lined up for an onside kick trying to get the ball back for one last possession but Chris Matthews grabbed the ball and put it over the wall to give Iowa the ball 1st and 10 on the 14-yard line. Iowa looked content to run the clock out, handing the ball to Filer up the middle for three straight plays.
In a game that was plagued by penalties and power outages the Rattlers leave the barn with a loss 56 to 54.
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers are a proud member of the Arena Football League (AFL). Season tickets are on sale now and start at just $10. For ticket specials and information please call (602) 514-TDTD (8383) or online at www.azrattlers.com.