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Rattlers Fall to Predators, 56-50

Saturday July 26, 2014

 Arizona (15-3) Closes Out Regular Season With Road Loss to Orlando (11-7)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The world champion Arizona Rattlers, looking to head into next week’s playoffs with some momentum, came up short in their regular-season finale Saturday night, losing 56-50 to the Orlando Predators at CFE Arena in Orlando, Fla.

Arizona (15-3), which has lost three of its last four games, now heads back to the Valley to prepare for next Sunday’s National Conference semifinal game against the Portland Thunder, which it has defeated all three times this season. Kickoff is 3 p.m. on Ak-Chin Indian Community Field at US Airways Center, where the Rattlers are 38-5 (regular season and playoffs) since 2011.

The game will be locally broadcasted by Cox 7.

Arizona battled from behind most of the game against Orlando (11-7), taking its first and only lead when Craig Ratanamorn made his second field goal of the fourth quarter, a 23-yarder, to put the Rattlers ahead, 50-48, with 2:47 left. Orlando came right back with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Bernard Morris to wide receiver Larry Brackins with 42 seconds left. A two-point conversion pass from Morris to wide receiver Greg Carr put the Predators back on top, 56-50.

Orlando then put an end to a five-game losing streak to Arizona when Michael Rios, a rookie wide receiver from Marist playing in his first Arena Football League game, recovered the onside kick and allowed the Predators to run out the clock and celebrate their first win over the Rattlers since Feb. 3, 2005.

Morris, perhaps the best dual-threat quarterback in the League, completed 15 of 30 passes for 284 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing seven times for 28 yards and one touchdown. The third-year player from Marshall lit up the scoreboard last week, too, totaling six touchdowns through the air and three more on the ground in a 70-64 overtime victory over the New Orleans VooDoo.

Morris spread the wealth around against Arizona, connecting with Brackins seven times for 104 yards and three touchdowns. Khalil Paden, a rookie wide receiver from Northern Arizona, grabbed five passes for 137 yards and two scores. Greg Carr, the team’s leading wide receiver, caught only two passes for 22 yards after coming into the game with 111 catches for 1,413 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Arizona quarterback Nick Davila looked sharp early, completing his first nine passes for 127 yards before throwing his 10th interception in the second quarter, a tipped pass that came off the net and into the hands of defensive end Meshak Williams, who was assigned to the team this week. Davila completed 27 of 41 passes for 314 yards and six touchdowns, bringing his single-season franchise record total to 127. A second interception was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by defensive back Tracy Belton, which gave the Predators a 48-35 lead with 7:02 left in the third quarter.

The Rattlers were without one of their leading wide receivers in Maurice Purify (injury). Tysson Poots led the way with 11 catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 1,028 receiving yards on the season. He now has caught a scoring pass in six straight games. Kerry Reed also had a strong performance, grabbing 10 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Rod Windsor, the team’s leading receiver, caught six passes for 93 yards and one touchdown, stretching his streak of having caught at least one touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games played.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Arizona 14 14 13 6 50
Orlando 21 14 16 8 56

MEDIA AWARDS
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Quarterback Bernard Morris (Orlando)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Defensive back Tracy Belton (Orlando)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Wide receiver Larry Brackins (Orlando)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Wide receiver Khalil Paden (Orlando), 42-yard touchdown catch, 13:46, first quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: Wide receiver Larry Brackins (Orlando), 30-yard touchdown catch, :42, fourth quarter

ABOUT THE ARIZONA RATTLERS
The Arizona Rattlers are the 2012 and 2013 ArenaBowl champions and are proud members of the Arena Football League (AFL). ArenaBowl XXVI marked the Rattlers’ eighth appearance in the AFL Championship Game, winning in 1994, 1997, 2012 and 2013. For ticket information, call 602-514-TDTD (8383), or visit www.azrattlers.com.