Rattlers take down Soul in OT in season opener
PHOENIX — In a rematch of the 2013 ArenaBowl, the Arizona Rattlers pulled out a thrilling 62-55 overtime win over the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams in front of 9,493 fans at US Airways Center.
The Rattlers have defeated the Soul in all six of the franchise’s meetings, including the last two ArenaBowls, but their most recent might go down as the most entertaining.
It took some late-game heroics from quarterback Nick Davila and wide receiver Tysson Poots for the Rattlers to earn their fifth season-opening victory in six years under coach Kevin Guy. In fact, it looked like Philadelphia finally would break through against Arizona when fullback Derrick Ross scored the last of his record-tying six touchdowns with 23 seconds left.
The Rattlers came right back, though, with Davila throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Poots with eight seconds remaining to tie the score at 55. Davila then found Poots again in overtime, completing a 14-yard scoring pass that would prove to be the game-winner.
The Soul had one last chance, but a pass by quarterback Dan Raudabaugh on his first attempt of the extra period was intercepted by Kerry Reed.
Neither team had more than a one-possession lead at any point in the contest. For much of the game, the Rattlers were focused on damage control — as in, trying to control the damage being done by Ross, whose six rushing touchdowns tied an Arena Football League record set in 2007 by Dan Alexander.
Davila completed 25 of 41 attempts for 338 yards and seven touchdowns, including four to Poots, who finished with 191 yards on 10 catches, two to wide receiver Rod Windsow and one to wide receiver Maurice Purify, who caught 11 passes for 111 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona was led by defensive back Arkeith Brown with 7.5 tackles.
Raudabaugh went 22 of 35 for 266 yards and two scores. His lone interception was the game-ending pick by Reed.