ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — After winning their second straight ArenaBowl title in their third consecutive championship game appearance, Arizona Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila and coach Kevin Guy did their best to shy away from dynasty talk.
“I don’t want to throw that word around now,” Davilla said after throwing six touchdown passes in the Rattlers’ 48-39 victory over the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday. “I just want to enjoy this one. We’ll focus on winning another next year.”
Guy, on the other hand, looked back to the Rattlers’ last-play loss to the Jacksonville Sharks in the 2010 ArenaBowl.
“I’m going to think more about the one that got away than the two we’ve won,” Guy said. “I’ll let the fans and the media talk about dynasties.”
Arizona beat Philadelphia for the second straight year to become the first team since Tampa Bay in 1996 to successfully defend an Arena Football League title. The Rattlers also won in 1994 and 1997.
Davila completed 20 of 29 passes for 315 yards in the win, while Rod Windsor had 10 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns and Maurice Purify caught four passes for 83 yards and two scores.
Garrett Lindholm was 6 for 6 on extra points and made both field-goal attempts.
The Soul, who trailed 45-33 with 9:30 remaining, had a chance to win the game in the final minute. The Rattlers were driving in for a clinching touchdown, but Soul lineman Ko Quaye forced a Windsor fumble that the Soul recovered at their own 1 with 53 seconds left.
However, Philadelphia couldn’t get a first down, as Arizona defender Arkeith Brown, who had never played defense in a postseason game before Saturday, swatted away Dan Raudabaugh’s pass intended for Tiger Jones on fourth down.
“Fifty-three seconds left in arena football, you’re supposed to score,” Jones said. “It’s on us. It’s on me.”
Lindholm’s 24-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining all but clinched it as the Soul, who missed three extra-point attempts in the second half, had exhausted all their timeouts.
Raudabaugh was 31 of 51 for 306 yards and four touchdowns, and Ryan McDaniel had 13 catches for 137 yards and two TDs.