Phoenix, Ariz. – The Arizona Rattlers (6-3) enter the tenth week of the season in first place and with a one game advantage. In second place is the Cleveland Gladiators (5-4), whom the Rattlers will face this weekend. The winner of this game will be on top of the National Conference standings. To say this is a big game is an understatement.
The Rattlers will head to Cleveland on Friday, boasting a perfect 4-0 all-time record against the Gladiators, including a 72-32 win at ArenaBowl XXVII, however, the Gladiators will be coming in with all the momentum. Cleveland is the hottest team in the league right now, winning their last four games, including a win last week over league leading Philadelphia Soul (7-2). The Rattlers, on the other hand, are hoping to be able to regain some momentum they have lost in recent weeks, winning only one game in that same time-frame.
The Rattlers are coming off a disappointing trip to Tampa Bay, losing to the Storm (1-7) on Sunday, despite entering the fourth quarter with a 13-point advantage. Quarterback Nick Davila statistically had a good night, completing 22 of 36 passes for 341 yards and seven touchdowns, however, he threw a pick in the final minute of the first half and was sacked on fourth down late in the game, both of which were turning points in the game.
Arizona wide receivers Rod Windsor and Chase Deadder also found some success against the Storm. Windsor caught nine passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns. Deadder caught seven passes for 108 yards and four touchdowns. Deadder was named the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game for his offensive production as well as his strong play on defense.
Cleveland, on the other hand, is coming off a huge win over the Soul, beating them by 14 points (63-49). The Soul pulled ahead early, but a big second quarter by Cleveland buoyed the Gladiators to victory. Gladiators’ quarterback Arvell Nelson had a nearly identical night statistically to Davila, completing 22 of 36 pass for 307 and seven touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over, and was able to stay upright the entire game.
The Rattlers will face the Gladiators in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena this Friday at 4:00 p.m. PDT. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.com or on WatchESPN on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.