PHOENIX — The Arizona Rattlers stayed unbeaten to match the best start in franchise history Saturday night, defeating the San Antonio Talons 69-59 in front of 8,567 fans at US Airways Center.
In winning for the seventh time in eight meetings against San Antonio (1-6), Arizona improved to 6-0, equaling its best-ever start, which occurred in 2011. The Rattlers now have won 10 straight dating back to the last regular-season game of 2013.
Arizona never trailed in this West Division matchup. The Rattlers scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage when wide receiver Tysson Poots caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Davila.
But nothing would come easy after that. San Antonio kept the pressure on in the second half, never letting Arizona take more than a 10-point lead.
It took an onside-kick return for a touchdown by linebacker Kerry Reed with 1:43 left and defensive back Arkeith Brown’s second interception of the game in the final minute to close the deal.
Brown, who also had five tackles got his first interception in the second quarter off a tipped pass that he juggled three times before securing the ball.
Reed totaled two touchdown catches and five tackles to go along with his onside-kick return for a score.
Davila completed 20 of 30 passes for 306 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had nine touchdown passes in last week’s 73-69 win over the Pittsburgh Power and now has 47 scoring passes in six games. Davila also was intercepted for only the fourth time this season, this one coming late in the second quarter by San Antonio defensive back Kyle Whitehurst.
Three of Davila’s four touchdown passes went to wide receiver Maurice Purify, who finished with nine catches for 145 yards. The rest of the teamâs receiving corps — Reed, Poots and rookie Nick Miller — caught two scores apiece.
Miller, a local product out of Mesa Red Mountain High School, was making his first start in place of the injured Rod Windsor. Miller also showed his impressive speed as the team’s kick returner, tallying 68 yards on two returns.
Shane Boyd did what he could for the Talons, who were seeking their second straight victory after last week’s 68-33 win over the New Orleans VooDoo. The former Houston Texans backup and University of Kentucky star completed 19 of 28 passes for 272 yards and six touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice. He also rushed for another score.
Boyd’s main target, wide receiver D. J. Stephens, finished with 10 catches for 155 yards and four touchdowns.