The Arizona Rattlers (13-3) dominated the Cleveland Gladiators (7-9) 68 to 20 in front of 12,823 fans before their next game, which is round one of the playoffs against the Portland Steel inside Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Arizona started the game off with Defensive Lineman Rodney Fritz tackling Cleveland’s Wide Receiver Collin Taylor in the end zone for a safety. Arizona followed the safety up with Wide Receiver Anthony Amos returning Cleveland Adrian Trevino’s kick 56 yards for a touchdown. Arizona’s Kicker Alex Zendejas made the PAT and Arizona had a 9 to 0 lead without the offense taking the field. The Arizona Defense remained aggressive with Cleveland’s Starting Quarterback Arvell Nelson (13 of 34 for 155 yards with 2 touchdowns) getting sacked by Arizona’s Defensive End Damien Borel. The next three passes by Nelson fell incomplete, and Arizona got possess ion on the Cleveland 11 yard line. Arizona’s Starting Quarterback Nick Davila (20 of 25 for 223 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception) passing to Wide Receiver Rod Windsor 7 catches for 75 yards and 5 touchdowns) for a 11 yard score. Zendejas missed the follow-up PAT (he missed four in total). Cleveland finally got on the board with a 5 minute drive with Nelson passing the ball to Wide Receiver Larry Beavers for a 16 yard strike. Trevino made the PAT to make the score closer. Arizona ended the first quarter with Davila finding Windsor for their second score of the evening. With Zendejas making the PAT, Arizona extended their lead.
Cleveland’s first kick return did not go their way with Arizona’s Defensive Back K.J Morton causing Beavers to fumble the ball. With the short field, Davila’s pass was picked off by Defensive Back Joe Powell. Cleveland made headway with their first drive in the second quarter. Nelson found Wide Receiver Devin Wilson for a 9 yard completion, but Arizona’s Morton caused Wilson to fumble and Defensive Back Jeremy Kellem recovered the ball for Arizona. With the recovery and a flag after the play on Dan Buckner caused Arizona to have the ball on Arizona 12. Davila lead Arizona on a quick drive, finding Amos for a 20 yard pass and Windsor for a 28 yard touchdown. Zendejas made the PAT to keep Arizona’s foot on the pedal. On Cleveland’s next drive, Nelson was sacked twice. The first sack was by Borel, but it was negated by Defensive Back Arkeith Brown’s holding penalty. The second sack was by Fritz which caused Nelson to fumble and Buckner recovered the ball for a 22 yard touchdown. Zendejas’ PAT was missed. Cleveland got back on the board with Nelson finding Taylor (6 catches for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns) wide open for a 15 yard score. Arizona made sure Cleveland didn’t have much time left in the half with two long passes for Amos being in the middle of the field and calling a timeout with 13 seconds left. Davila found Windsor in the endzone for their third score between them. Zendejas made the PAT. On Cleveland’s only play in their final possession, Nelson got sacked by Middle Line Backer Tyre Glasper. Arizona went into the locker room with a 42 to 14 lead over Cleveland.
Arizona kept their foot on the gas with Davila leading them on a 3 play drive. He found Amos once and Wide Receiver Maurice Purify (5 catches for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns) twice, with the second catch being for a 23 yard strike. Zendejas missed his third PAT with the game well in hand. Cleveland’s next drive had Beavers rush the ball on fourth down to keep it alive, but ultimately Cleveland couldn’t score on the Arizona 2 yard line. Arizona ate the rest of the quarter with Davila spreading the ball around to his three receivers and Running Back Mykel Benson. Davila eventually found Purify in the endzone for his second score of the night. Zendejas made the follow up PAT to end the third quarter with Arizona leading 55 to 14.
On Nelson’s last drive of the night for Cleveland, he failed to complete a pass. Arizona replaced their starter with Backup Quarterback Shane Boyd (4 of 4 for 24 yards with 2 touchdowns) who did a screen pass to Benson for a 5 yard score on the only play of the drive. Cleveland replaced their starter with Backup Quarterback Stephen Panasuk (3 of 8 with 1 touchdown and 1 interception) executing a 5 minute drive that lead to a pass to Taylor for a 17 yard score. Arizona milked the clock for 4 minutes with short passes from Boyd to Windsor and Benson. Amos ran a rushing played that helped bleed the clock of time. Boyd eventually found Windsor for a 9 yard touchdown. Zendejas made his the final PAT of the game. Cleveland’s Panasuk threw two passes on the following drive. One was complete to Taylor for 11 yards and the second pass was intercepted by Arizona’s Brown in the end zone. Brown gave himself up at the Cleveland 4 yard line. Benson rushed for a 2 yard gain to end the game.
Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila – Arizona Rattlers
Defensive Player of the Game: Tyre Glasper – Arizona Rattlers
Playmaker of the Game: Rod Windsor – Arizona Rattlers
Catch of the Game: Anthony Amos 22 yard diving catch with 15 seconds in the second quarter – Arizona Rattlers
Highlight of the Game: Dan Buckner’s 22 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown – Arizona Rattlers