In front of a loud 14,401 fans inside Talking Stick Resort Arena, the Arizona Rattlers (8-3) beat the Portland Steel (1-9) 76 to 49.
Portland got the ball to start the game and starting quarterback Shane Austin (24 of 43 for 351 yards with 7 touchdowns) found Tom Gilson (9 catches for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns) in stride for a 43 yard touchdown. Portland Kicker Ernesto Lacayo made the PAT to make the score 7 to 0. Arizona’s Nick Davila (24 of 33 for 270 yards and 8 touchdowns) conducted a 4 play drive that ended with Rod Windsor (9 catches for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns) scoring from the 2 yard line. Alex Zendejas made the follow-up PAT to tie the score. Portland drove down the field on their next possession, but on 4th and goal Austin’s pass was incomplete or their first Turnover On Downs (TOD). Arizona got the ball on their 4 yard line, and Davila found Maurice Purify (10 catches for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns) twice on the drive, with the second catch being a 21 yard strike. Zendejas made the PAT and Arizona had their first lead of the night at 14 to 7. Portland ended the first quarter fielding the kickoff.
Portland wasted little time in the second quarter getting on the board again with Austin finding Gilson for their second score of the night. Lacayo missed the PAT, keeping Arizona in the lead by a point. On the following kickoff, Arizona’s Anthony Amos fielded the kick and ran it back to extend the lead, and Zendejas made it one point more with a good PAT. Portland fell further behind by having a second TOD by Arizona’s Arkeith Brown breaking up a fourth down and four pass. Arizona got the ball on their 12 yard line, and made quick work of their drive by Davila finding Purify for a 24 yard catch. Davila then found Windsor for a 14 yard touchdown, and Zendejas made the PAT to make the score 27 to 19 in Arizona’s favor.
Portland responded quickly with their own two play strike that had Austin find Gilson for their third score of the night. Lacayo missed his second PAT of the night, which gave Arizona an eight point lead. Arizona’s drive winded down the clock to one minute left in the half with Davila finding Chase Deadder (6 catches for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns) for his first score of the night. Luis’ following PAT was good. Arizona and Portland exchanged onside kicks and touch downs two times in the final minute. It started with Portland’s Quarterback finding Jamar Howard (6 catches for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns). Portland’s kicker missed his third PAT of the night. Arizona kept pace with ther quarterback finding Deadder again for a touchdown. Zendejas extended the lead with a PAT. Portland fired back with their own one play drive with Austin finding Howard in the endzone. Portland attempted a sneak two point attempt, but it failed. Portland’s coach challenged the ruling on the field, but it stood Arizona added to their lead with Davila finding Purift for a 1 yard score followed up by a Zendejas PAT. The half ended with Austin havinga delay of game penalty against him followed by two straight incomplete pass attempts. Arizona was leading Portland 48 to 31 at halftime.
Arizona added to their lead with Davila finding Windsor for a 7 yard touchdown, and Luis’ PAT being good. Portland attempted to respond, but the drive ended on a TOD with Austin’s pass falling incomplete due to Arizona’s DB Brown playing defense. The highlight of that drive was QB Austin running for 24 yards. Arizona kept piling onto their lead with Mykel Benson (8 rushes for 24 yards and 2 touchdowns) rushing in for a 7 yard touchdown and Zendejas making the follow-up PAT. The third quarter ended with Portland getting ready for fourth down and a yard to go. Arizona was doubled up on Portland 62 to 31
Austin’s pass to start the fourth quarter fell incomplete, and Portland suffered another TOD. Arizona failed to capitalize on their following possession with their own TOD. Portland responded by Austin passing the ball to former Rattler Jered Perry (7 catches for 122 yards and 1 touchdown) who gained 44 yards. Austin then scrambled the ball in for a rushing touchdown, bu the following 2 point attempt failed. Portland attempted an onside kick, but Purify knocked the ball into the stands. Purify caught the touchdown on the drive from Davila to extend the lead, and Zendejas made the PAT. Portland’s Austin found Gilson again for a score, but the following 2 point attempt failed to be converted. Arizona replaced Davila with Shane Boyd (1 of 3 for 8 yards) who ended up handing the ball off to Benson for the RB’s second rushing score of the night and Zendejas made the PAT to help extend the lead further. Portland’s final possession counted when Austin passed the ball to Perry for a score, but again the 2 point attempt failed. Arizona ended the game with Benson making a 4 yard gain and let time wind down.
Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila – Arizona Rattlers
Defensive Player of the Game: KJ Morton – Arizona Rattlers
Playmaker of the Game: Anthony Amos – Arizona Rattlers
Catch of the Game: Maurice Purify’s Touchdown catch between two Portland Defenders, second quarter – Arizona Rattlers
Highlight of the Game: Anthony Amos’ 54 yard kick off return for a touchdown – Arizona Rattlers