Rattlers ready to begin winning streak

The Rattlers face the Portland Thunder in Week 4 of the AFL schedule.

The Arizona Rattlers rebounded from a Week 2 loss to the expansion Las Vegas Outlaws by turning to some old faces. Coach Kevin Guy’s squad beat the Cleveland Gladiators last week 49-41 thanks to the return of veteran receivers Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed, who accounted for all seven Arizona touchdowns after missing the first two weeks of the year because of injury.

Arizona quarterback Nick Davila surely will utilize his familiarity with his healthy receivers, but it’s not as if he was struggling prior. Davila is completing 66 percent of his passes this season, has thrown 17 touchdowns to two interceptions and is third in the AFL with 862 total yards through the air.

Hoping to build on that performance, the Rattlers return to US Airways Center at 6 p.m. Saturday to host the Portland Thunder (2-1). 

The Thunder are coming off a 47-43 victory against the Spokane Shock, but they face bad history against ARizona with their 0-4 record against the Rattlers. They last lost to the Rattlers in the playoffs, ending their 2014 season.

Kellem stands out

Defensive back Jeremy Kellem received praise from Guy heading into the season, and he’s backed that up with promising play so far. With two interceptions — the second of which sealed the win at Cleveland — Kellem tied Arkieth Brown for the team lead. Kellem’s 20.5 tackles this year rank third in the AFL.

Shoring up the kicking game

Arizona this week put rookie kicker Jeremy Shelley on recallable reassignment, essentially waiving him while finding a replacement in former Rattler Frabrizio Scaccia, who played two years with the team and was on the All-Arena team in 2011. This year, he played two games with the Jacksonville Sharks and went 9-for-13 on extra points and 1-for-3 on field goals.

Familiar faces

* The Rattlers traded defensive back Allen Chapman to New Orleans after camp, and he was traded again to Portland. made his first start as a member of the Thunder last week, breaking up five passes and intercepting another.

* Receiver Jared Perry began the year with Arizona but was released once the Rattlers got cleared to play Windsor and Reed.

* Rattlers fans who also root for the Arizona Wildcats might notice  former Arizona defensive lineman Sione Tuihalamaka in the trenches for Portland. The Thunder signed him this week.