Rattlers hold on to beat Cleveland
CLEVELAND -- The Arizona Rattlers (2-1) looked to bounce back this Saturday against the Cleveland Gladiators (2-1) after being upset last week by Las Vegas, and in front of 12,776 Gladiator fans, they did just that with a 49â41 victory at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The Rattlers receiving corps are finally beginning to get healthy, with wide receivers Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed both making their first starts of the season, and the Rattlers were a different team because of it. All seven touchdown passes thrown tonight were caught by Windsor (4 touchdowns) and Reed (3 touchdowns). For his efforts Rod Windsor earned both the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game award for his 4 touchdowns and 156 reception yards, and the Cutters Catch of the Game for his one handed touchdown catch in the 1st.
Arizona Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila was the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game tonight with 352 yards and seven touchdown passes. Davila's seven touchdowns moves him past John Kaleo for seventh all-time in passing touchdowns. Davila currently leads all active players with 586 career touchdowns.
Every time the Rattlers began to put some distance between them and the Gladiators, Cleveland was able to find a way to respond. Fortunately for Arizona, they were able to hold on with an interception from defensive back Jeremy Kellem in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
The Rattlers came out strong when a pass by Cleveland quarterback Shane Austin was intercepted by defensive back Arkeith Brown. Four plays later, Arizona quarterback Nick Davila threw a touchdown pass to Reed for his first of 3 touchdowns.
The rest of the first quarter both teams went back and forward with Cleveland scoring on a rushing touchdown from fullback Jeremy Richardson (Cleveland kicker AdrianTrevino missed the point after), and a touchdown pass from Austin to wide receiver Dominic Goodman. The Rattlers scored on two touchdown passes from Davila to Windsor, and with 10 minutes left in the half, the Rattlers led 21-13.
The Gladiator's next possession ended with a turnover on downs deep in the Rattlers territory. Arizona however, was able to take advantage with a 30 yard touchdown pass from Davila to Reed.
Arizona then stopped Cleveland again, when Austin threw another interception; this one caught by defensive back Jeremy Kellem. However, despite Arizona being able to successfully kill off the rest of the second quarter, with 1st and goal with 10 seconds remaining at Cleveland's 5 yard line, Davila threw an interception on the goal line to defensive back Terrence Sanders, who ran it back 50 yards for a Cleveland touchdown to end the half at 28-20 Arizona.
The second half again was a seesaw battle. Every time the Rattlers scored, the Gladiators were able to respond. Arizona had a chance to put the game away late when up eight with 43 seconds left in the game, Rattlers kicker Jeremy Shelley attempted a 16 yard field goal, which went wide right. This gave the Gladiators the ball down by 8 with 38 seconds to go in the game.
Arizona was finally able to seal the game with the interception thrown by Austin to Kellem with 20 seconds left in the fourth.