There wasn’t a lot of defense on display Saturday night at US Airways Center, but the Arizona Rattlers got a stop when they needed one the most.
After Nick Davila hit Rod Windsor on a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Rattlers a 67-63 lead with under nine minutes to play, Arizona attempted an onside kick, which Pittsburgh recovered at the Rattlers’ 6-yard line.
But the Arizona defense stiffened, forcing a turnover on downs. Six plays later Davila found Tysson Poots, who made a leaping catch over the dasher boards, on an 18-yard touchdown that essentially iced a 73-69 win.
Davila was outstanding, completing 24-of-31 passes for 325 yards and a season-high nine touchdown passes. Windsor, Poots and Maurice Purify each had three scores for the Rattlers, who pushed their record to 5-0 and remained one of only two undefeated teams in the league, along with the Cleveland Gladiators.
Davila’s counterpart, Tommy Grady, was just as spectacular. The 6-foot-7 quarterback threw for 339 yards and nine touchdowns as the Power’s three-game winning streak was snapped.
The Rattlers’ offense, in head coach Kevin Guy’s own words, was unstoppable all night.
Arizona scored touchdowns on 10 of 12 offensive possessions — only stopped by the clock at the end of the first half and melting the final seconds to preserve the win.
Arkeith Brown also had a 54-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter, the first of the year for the Rattlers.
Arizona’s special teams weren’t so special Saturday.
Kicker Craig Ratanamorn missed four extra points (one blocked), but was often kicking after an errant snap, which has been an issue all season.
Ratanamorn also sailed one kickoff left of the nets, giving Pittsburgh a possession at the 20-yard line and left an onside kick attempt well short of the required ten yards.
The Power (3-2) were also able to hurt the Rattlers in the return game, averaging 21 yards per attempt. Former Arizona standout Virgil Gray had a 54-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Stat of the Game
In Davila’s last four games, the lefty quarterback has thrown 31 incomplete passes and 31 touchdowns.
• The 142 points put up by Arizona and Pittsburgh made it the highest scoring game of the AFL season, equalling the mark set in Orlando’s 77-65 win over Tampa Bay earlier Saturday.
• Pittsburgh’s Gray came into the game with a league-high six interceptions, including at least one in each game. But Gray wasn’t able to extend his streak against his former team.
The Rattlers will host the San Antonio Talons (1-5) Saturday, Apr. 26 at US Airways Center.
The Talons got their first win of the season Friday, beating New Orleans 68-33.
Saturday’s tilt gets underway at 6:00 p.m.