PHOENIX – In front of 14,519 screaming fans, The Arizona Rattlers’ defense helped their offense overcome a rough start to lead them past the L.A Kiss 47 to 34.
Arizona took the field to start the game, and they had a bit of a rough start. Quarterback Nick Davila (20/35 for 265 yards going for 5 touchdowns and I interception) had 2 completions, with Arizona advancing the ball from LA penalties. The drive ended with DB Clevan Thomas getting an interception on the Arizona 2 and returning the ball 22 yards. Los Angeles started the game with QB Nathan Stanley (7/17 for 103 yards going for 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions) driving them down the field. The drive stalled at the Arizona 8 with LA going for the touchdown, but the pass was deemed short of the goal line as DBs Allen Chapman and Markus Smith tackled WR DJ Stephens (4 catches for 43 yards). LA challenged the call, but due to no goal line camera, there was no definitive shot if the ball was caught in the endzone. Arizona retook the field and on a 3 play drive, Davila found Joe Matthews (5 catches for 84 yards and 3 touchdowns) for a 22 yard touchdown. The PAT by Alex Zendejas was no good, but Arizona was on the board first. LA returned fire with a Stanley pass to WR Donovan Morgan (4 catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joey Cejudo made the PAT to give LA a 1 point lead. Arizona started driving down the field near the end of the first quarter.
The drive ended with Davila finding Matthews for his second touchdown in the AFL in his first game in the league and as a Rattler. The follow up PAT was good and gave Arizona a 6 point lead. On LA’s next possession, Stanley’s pass was intercepted by Arizona’s Chapman for a touchdown, and the ensuing PAT was good, extending the lead to 13. LA had a long kick return by their deep returner Brando Collins, but due to an earlier penalty on Stephens for a late push after the INT was scored, they started on their own 17. The drive lasted 2 plays and Stanley passed the ball to Collins (8 catches for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns) for a 20 yard score. The follow up PAT was good, and LA shortened the lead down to 6. The next Arizona drive, Davila found WR Rod Windsor (5 catches for 51 yards) 3 times and WR Chase Deadder (8 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns) once. The drive failed on the LA 11 with Arizona going for it on 4th down. LA attempted to make Arizona’s lead even shorter, but Stanley’s pass was intercepted by Deadder, who was also playing Jack Linebacker with Kerry Reed being out for the season due to an injury. There was an extended pause after the Deadder touchdown due to LA’s Stanley being injured. It has not been reported on how Stanley is as of this article, but it appeared that another Kiss’ player that was trying to tackle Deadder might have accidentally kneed Stanley’s head into the side board. After Stanley was carted off the field, Zendejas made the PAT for Arizona. LA’s backup QB Pete Thomas (13/27 for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns) filled in for Stanley. P. Thomas’ first drive for LA resulted in a touchdown when he passed the ball to Morgan in the endzone for a 14 yard score. Cejudo’s PAT for LA was tipped at the line of scrimmage by returning DL Cliff Dukes. The following kick was returned by WR Anthony Amos nd got Arizona to mid field. Davila fired off a pass and Matthews pulled off an acrobatic catch in the endzone for a touchdown as time expired for the first half. Zendejas follwed up with a made PAT on an untimed play to officially end the first half with Arizona leading LA 34 to 20.
Arizona and LA traded scores back and forth in the third quarter. It started with Arizona’s Kicker Zendejas kicking the ball, and LA didnt get a good return from the kick. On their first play of the drive, P. Thomas passed the ball to Collins, who caught the ball in stride for a 47 yard touchdown. Cejudo made the PAT and LA started to attempt a come back. Arizona responded with Deadder making a 20 yard catch from Davila and Zendejas making the PAT. LA kept pace with P. Thomas completing a 25 yard pass to Collins, and Cejudo making the PAT. Arizona had a 2 play drive to follow, with Davila completing a 22 yard screen pass to OL/TE Dionte Savage. Davila’s following pass was 8 yard to Deadder for a touchdown. The PAT by Zedejas was missed. The third quarter ended with LA driving down the field.
With as much scoring as the second and third quarter had, the forth quarter didn’t have any. The LA drive ended with P. Thomas fumbling the ball on the snap, which was recovered by Arizona’s Dukes, who was also credited with a sack on that play. LA got the ball back by Deadder fumbling a 7 yard catch, which was recovered by DB Lak Victorian. LA had a chance to score on 4th and goal from the 3, but Morgan bobbled the catch and DB KJ Morton hit the ball into the stands making the pass incomplete. Arizona ended the game with FB Mykel Benson making LA use two of their timeouts, and Davila passing the ball to Matthews for 10 yards.
Offensive Player of the Game: Joe Matthews, WR, Arizona Rattlers
Defensive Player of the Game: Allen Chapman, DB, Arizona Rattlers
Playmaker of the Game: Chase Deadder, WR and JLB, Arizona Rattlers
Catch of the Game: QB Nick Davila to WR Joe Matthews for TD at the end of the first half, Arizona Rattlers
Play of the Game: Allen Chapman’s INT into a Touchdown off LA QB Nathan Stanley, Arizona Rattlers