Portland, Ore. – The World Champion Arizona Rattlers (9-2) earned their fifth straight win in Portland with a 69-42 victory over the Portland Thunder (3-8) Friday night in the Moda Center. The Rattlers remain undefeated against the Thunder.
The Rattlers started fast when defensive back and kick returner AJ Cruz returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. This was his first of two in which he returned touchdowns. Cruz also scored twice on offense, once on the ground and once in the air. His overall contributions earned him the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award, his second straight week earning that honor.
“(AJ) has done an outstanding job for us all year long,” Head Coach and general manager Kevin Guy said. “He is a difference maker for us; he plays both sides of the ball, and has done a great job for us.”
Arizona’s MVP quarterback Nick Davila had an incredibly efficient night. He only had 5 total receptions in the first half, however three of them went for touchdowns. Overall, Davila threw for 146 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions through three quarters of action. He was relieved in the fourth by quarterback Shane Boyd.
Rattlers’ defensive back Jeremy Kellem kept his interception streak alive. He has now caught an interception in four straight games, and has 10 total interceptions on the year, which is a career high for Kellem. His interception and 5 tackles earned him the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game award, the fourth straight game he earned that honor.
“I couldn’t be more proud of (Jeremy),” Coach Guy said. “He worked his tail off all offseason. He is very committed. He comes out and works hard in practice, and it transitions to the game.”
Kellem was not the only defensive player to make an impact in Friday’s big win. Defensive backs Marquis Floyd and Arkeith Brown also each caught an interception. Defensive ends Mike McAdoo and Anthony McCloud both got a sack on the Thunder quarterback, while Mack Linebacker Tyre Glasper got two.
Portland starting quarterback Kyle Rowley had a rough night, throwing two first half interceptions. He was replaced in the second half by quarterback Alex Carder, who also threw a pick. Former Arizona and current Thunder wide receiver Jared Perry was one of the few bright spots for Portland. He went for 150 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns, which earned him the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game award.
The Rattlers’ next game will be at 5:00 p.m. next Saturday (June 20th) when they return home to face the Orlando Predators (6-5). The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network and streamed online at ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app on a tablet or smartphone.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Arizona 20 28 7 14 69
Portland 14 7 7 14 42
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Jared Perry (POR)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem (AZ)
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: AJ Cruz (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Jared Perry (POR) 9yd TD Catch in First Quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: Duane Brooks (POR) 55yd Kick Return TD in Second Quarter
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: June 12th, 2015
Contact: Peter Garbow, (989) 395-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org
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