Rattlers rout Barnstormers in regular-season finale
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Arizona Rattlers showed the firepower that's led them to the league's best record and the West Division championship this season in an 84-45 win over the Iowa Barnstormers in the regular-season finale Saturday night.
The Rattlers (15-3) took control early. On the first play of the game, quarterback Nick Davila found wideout Rod Windsor for a 45-yard touchdown to put Arizona. Iowa quarterback J.J. Raterink was then intercepted by Marquis Floyd on the first drive, and it took Davila just two plays to turn that pick into points, as he found Windsor again to make it 14-0. Raterink was again picked off on the ensuing drive for the Barnstomers (6-11), this time by Virgil Gray, who returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
Iowa got on the board just before the end of the first quarter to make it a 21-6 game.
Gray recorded his second pick-six of the night on the Barnstormers' opening drive of the second quarter, tying the league record for most interception returns for touchdowns in a game. Another defensive stop and a touchdown pass from Davila to Tysson Poots put the Rattlers up 35-6 with five minutes left in the half.
Raterink was then replaced by backup QB Jason Reader, who found Darius Reynolds for a touchdown, but a second missed extra-point attempt left the deficit at 35-12. Davila would connect with Poots one more time before the end of the half to send Arizona into the locker room up 42-12.
Iowa came out full throttle in the second half, putting up two scores right out of the gate, including a 35-yard interception return from Jason Simpson to cut the margin to 42-25. But Davila connected with both Poots and Windsor for each player’s third touchdown of the night to close out the third quarter, putting the Rattlers up 56-25.
After a Barnstormers touchdown, Rattlers defensive back Arkeith Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards for a touchdown. After Cliff Dukes recovered a fumbled snap, Poots caught his fourth TD pass of the game, this time from backup QB Jason Murrietta.
The teams exchanged TDs before another fumble recovery, this time by Anttaj Hawthorne, set up one last Arizona score, with fullback Odie Armstrong taking it in to push his streak of games with a rushing touchdown to 16. Iowa found the end zone again in the final moments to make it 84-45.
Davila finished the game 16 for 22 for 222 yards and six touchdowns. Poots caught nine passes, four of them touchdowns, while Windsor had six catches and three TDs.
The Rattlers defense put on a show with three interceptions, four sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Raterink was just 5 for 16 with no touchdowns and three interceptions for the Barnstormers, with Reader going 10 for 18 for 197 yards and four TDs.