Rattlers End Regular Season with Big Win over Thunder, 67-39
Sunday August 9, 2015
Phoenix, Ariz. – The World Champion Arizona Rattlers (14-4) ended the regular season with a victory over the Portland Thunder (5-13) Saturday night at the US Airways Center by a score of 67-39 in front of 12,687 fans.
The game was never in doubt as the Rattlers used a dominant, 51 point first half to sail past the Thunder.
Arizona found out before the game that kicker Fabrizio Scaccia would not be able to play, so the Rattlers brought in former Arizona Wildcat Alex Zendejas to fill in for the second time this season. Zendejas did extremely well, going a perfect nine for nine and forcing two touchbacks.
“I was very pleased with special teams,” said Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Guy. “Zendejas came in as an emergency kicker and it’s the first time all year long we were 100% (in PAT’s).”
The first quarter started with Arizona scoring on all three aspects of the game. The Rattlers scored on their first possession with a four yard pass from quarterback Nick Davila to wide receiver Kerry Reed. On Portland’s next possession, a fumbled snap by Thunder quarterback Kyle Rowley resulted in a safety by linebacker Tyre Glasper. The ensuing kickoff was returned 57 yards by defensive back Arkeith Brown for a touchdown, which was the AFL Highlight of the Game. The first quarter ended with a 19 yard pass from Davila to wide receiver Rod Windsor.
The second quarter was not much kinder to the Thunder. Portland was able to score three times, the first, a QB sneak by Rowley, and two touchdown passes from Rowley, one to wide receiver Jamar Howard, the other to wide receiver V’Keon Lacey. The Rattlers, however, were able to put up 28 in the second, including a 25 yard touchdown pass from Davila to Windsor as time expired, which was the Cutters Catch of the game.
“The lineman did a good job of releasing and getting downfield,” Windsor said. “I was able to break a couple tackles and make a play.” The half ended with a score of 51-20.
Things slowed down in the third quarter as the Rattlers only score was a 4 yard toss from Davila to Windsor. The Rattlers defense held the Thunder scoreless in the third.
With the game in hand, Davila left the game early in the 4th. Overall, Davila completed 18 of 26 with 5 touchdowns and 165 yards. His efforts earned him the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game.
Portland did put up some points in the 4th quarter, however the Thunder ran out of steam after a blocked point after attempt by defensive end Michael McAdoo, which was returned by McAdoo for a two point PAT return. McAdoo finished the night with two sacks, one pass breakup, one PAT block and three quarterback hurries. His efforts earned him the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game award.
The Rattlers’ next game will be the conference championship semi-final, where they will face the Spokane Shock. The game will take place next Saturday, August 15th, at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. At 6:00 pm PDT. The last time the Rattlers faced the Shock in the postseason was the Conference Final in 2013, where Arizona fell behind early, but fought back to punch their ticket to ArenaBowl XXVI. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus, and streamed online on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN on a tablet or smartphone.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Portland 0 20 0 19 39
Arizona 23 28 7 9 67
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Mike McAdoo (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Arkeith Brown (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ) 25 yard TD catch as time expired in 2nd Q
AFL Highlight of the Game: Arkeith Brown (AZ) Kickoff Return for TD in 1st Q
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.