Phoenix, Ariz. – Four games to go in the 2016 season, and the National Conference title (and with it a top seed in the post season) is finally in site. The five-time world champion Arizona Rattlers (9-3), with a little help, can clinch this with a win on Sunday.
The Rattlers are currently three games up on the Cleveland Gladiators (6-6). If the Gladiators lose on Saturday, that will clear the way for Arizona to clinch the conference on Sunday with a win.
The Rattlers opponent will be the LA KISS, who also have an outside shot of the National Conference title, however, their road is a bit more difficult. The KISS have to not only win on Sunday, but also sweep the rest of their opponents. Since the Rattlers have already beaten the KISS twice this season, Arizona has the tie breaker, meaning that LA would also need the Rattlers to remain winless for the rest of the 2016 season.
Not only does the National Conference hang in the balance this weekend, but the league wide bye week occurs next week, and both teams will look to go into it with some momentum.
The Rattlers are currently riding a three-game winning streak, which includes last week’s 80-63 win over the Philadelphia Soul (9-3). The Rattlers once again looked strong on offense, with quarterback Nick Davila completing 17 of his 27 passes and seven touchdowns. One touchdown, glanced off two defenders and into the hands of wide receiver Maurice Purify, which was named the Cutters Catch of the Week.
As good as the Rattlers offense was, it was the defense that really put Arizona in position to win. The Rattlers forced four turnovers, which featured two pick sixes, one by defensive back Jeremy Kellem, who was named the Riddell Defensive Back of the Week.
The KISS are coming into the game with some momentum as well, coming off a 54-27 win over the Tampa Bay Storm (1-10). The KISS took a commanding 40-6 lead into halftime, which was too much for the Storm. In the game, KISS quarterback Pete Thomas completed 19 of his 33 attempts for six touchdowns and no interceptions. LA’s defensive backfield forced three interceptions as well, which sealed the game.
The Rattlers currently are undefeated against the KISS, 7-0 all-time, and 4-0 in the Honda Center, where they will play on Sunday. Arizona will look to stay perfect and possibly clinch the conference, while LA will look to finally get a victory over their conference foe and stay alive for a top seed.
The game will be at 3:00 p.m. PDT, and can be streamed online at ESPN3.com or on the WatchESPN app on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.
BUBBA PICKS IT OFF! Rattlers ball with less than a minute remaining. #StrikeAsOne
BIG PLAY BY JUSTIN MARTIN! Rattlers recover a Green Bay fumble and take back the ball with just over 3 minutes to play
Coach Guy challenges the ruling on the field of offensive pass interference and wins! 3:46 left to play. Blizzard b… https://t.co/KAycy9URB1
Sawyer Petre nails a field goal to make it 37-31 Rattlers. 5:29 left to play. We got a close one! #StrikeAsOne
That's TD #3 for Shadrach Thornton! Both teams starting to put up points. 34-24 Rattlers. 13:29 remaining
CLUTCH GRAB! Anthony Amos catches his 4th TD of the season on 4th down! Rattlers lead Green Bay 27-17 going to the… https://t.co/PZSW7UiQ01