Rattlers rout VooDoo, clinch another division title

PHOENIX — The Arizona Rattlers (14-2) clinched their third consecutive West Division title with a 79-42 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo (5-11) on Saturday night at US Airways Center in front of 9,958 fans.

Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila went 14 of 18 for 214 yards and seven touchdowns, and wideout Maurice Purify had five receptions for 102 yards and three

touchdowns in the win. For the VooDoo, QB Chris Dixon finished 20 of 39

for 238 yards with three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, and

Quorey Payne reeled in eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Arizona took control early, with Virgil Gray fueling the strong start with an interception on New Orleans’ first offensive play of the game and a pass breakup on fourth down later in the quarter. Odie Armstrong and Rod Windsor would turn the turnovers into points, giving the Rattlers a 14-0 lead. Payne got the VooDoo on the scoreboard with a receiving touchdown at the end of the quarter to make it 14-7.

The Rattlers regained their 14-point edge with a Tysson Poots touchdown grab in the back of the end zone early in the second quarter. Dixon would answer with a rushing touchdown for the VooDoo to cut the deficit to a score, but that was as close as they’d get.

The Rattlers seized control of the game with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Purify, a Jeremy Kellem interception and Armstrong’s second rushing touchdown of the game, taking a 35-14 advantage.

A 33-yard catch by Payne and touchdown reception by Courtney Smith got New Orleans back in the game, but Kerry Reed joined the Arizona scoring party by hauling in a Davila touchdown pass. Larry Beavers reeled in another VooDoo score with just 10 seconds left in the half but the Rattlers answered with a 47-yard field goal at the buzzer from Garrett Lindholm to make the score 45-28 at half.

After an exchange of touchdowns to begin the second half, James Bryant received a VooDoo onside kick to give Dixon an extra possession. But that was stifled by another Gray interception, and the Rattlers took full advantage of the turnover, as Davila connected with Windsor for another score.

Purify continued the Rattlers’ scoring barrage with two long touchdown receptions from Davila and Jason Murietta, and Gray would end Dixon’s night with his third interception of the game after the VooDoo turned to Bill Stull at quarterback.

Stull and Murietta exchanged touchdown passes to Payne and Reed, respectively, to finish off the scoring.

In addition to wrapping up the division title, the Rattlers broke several league and franchise records. With the 37-point victory, Arizona set the Arena Football League record for most double-digit wins in a season with 12. Gray broke the single-season franchise record of 10 interceptions, as his three on the night put him at 12 for the season. Lindholm broke Kenny Spencer’s single-season league record of 138 successful PATs, reaching 139. And Armstrong moved into ninth on the league’s career rushing touchdown list when he notched his 71st.