Updated Apr 27, 2014 - 12:43 pm
Rattlers hold off pesky San Antonio; stay perfect in '14
The San Antonio Talons limped into US Airways Center for their game against the two-time defending Arena Bowl champion Arizona Rattlers with a 1-5 record.
The Rattlers, meanwhile, were 5-0 and had proven to be the most potent offense in the league behind quarterback Nick Davila.
However, it wasn't until late that the Rattlers could shut the door on the pesky Talons. Arkeith Brown sealed the deal with an interception of a Shane Boyd pass with :36 left to give Arizona a 69-59 victory at the Snake Pit.
San Antonio came in to the game averaging just 42 points per game, but riddled the Rattlers defense for five straight touchdowns in the second half. The Talons never led in the game, but got to within three points on five different occasions.
Davila started out slowly in the first half and had trouble getting on the same page with his receivers. But after halftime, San Antonio had no answer for "The Latin Laser." Davila completed 11-of-12 passes for 185 yards and five scoring strikes in the second half alone. For the game, he threw nine touchdown passes -- and now has 18 in his last two games and 47 for the season, against only four interceptions.
The Rattlers offense. When it gets clicking, there's not a better unit in the league. Part of the reason for that is receiving depth. Maurice Purify was unstoppable again Saturday, snaring nine balls for 145 yards and three touchdowns. It was Purify's third straight game with more than 120 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
Tysson Poots caught two touchdown passes and a couple of other players who don't normally figure into the passing game were big factors as well. Veteran Kerry Reed and rookie Nick Miller combined for six catches for 81 yards and four touchdowns on the night.
Miller also gave the Rattlers a boost in the return game, averaging 34 yards on two attempts.
On several occasions, there were mix-ups in communication in the Arizona secondary which led to completely uncovered receivers. Most of the time, that receiver was D.J. Stephens, who came into the game leading the league in yardage. Stephens caught 10 passes for 155 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat of the Game
Davila had nine touchdown passes and only 10 incompletions in the game. In his last five games, the former Cincinnati Bearcat has 40 touchdowns and 41 incompletions.
• Arizona, at 6-0, remained one of only two undefeated AFL teams. The Cleveland Gladiators beat Pittsburgh 55-28 Saturday night to push their record to 6-0 as well. The Rattlers and Gladiators will not meet during the regular season.
• The Rattlers' 6-0 start matches the best mark in franchise history. The 2011 team also started 6-0 on their way to a 16-2 regular season record and an appearance in the Arena Bowl.
The Rattlers hit the road for the next two games, starting in Jacksonville next Saturday. Arizona pounded the Sharks 63-38 in Week 4 at US Airways Center. After that, the champs will get their first look at the Portland Thunder, who earned the first win in franchise history with a 69-62 at Jacksonville Saturday night.
Vince Marotta, Co-host - Bickley & Marotta, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com