The Arizona Rattlers (10-3) staved off a big third-quarter rally to beat the L.A. KISS 64-49, sweeping the season series in front of 7,090 fans at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Arizona looked to be on their way to another easy victory early, as quarterback Nick Davila hit Chase Deadder from 10 yards out to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead.
On the L.A.’s first possession, quarterback Pete Thomas’ pass went through the hands of his intended receiver and into the waiting arms of Arizona defensive back K.J. Morton. The Baylor product raced up the sideline 19 yards to the end zone and a 14-0 lead for the Rattlers.
The teams traded scores until the second quarter, when Arizona safety Jeremy Kellem picked off Thomas and fullback Mykel Benson found the end zone from a couple yards out; giving the Rattlers a 21-point lead, which they held going into the half.
The KISS, however, refused to go away as fullback Rory Nixon rumbled to the end zone from five yards out to bring Los Angeles within a couple scores.
After Arizona turned the ball over on downs, Thomas found receiver Donovan Morgan for a 19-yard touchdown. A Davila interception lead to another Nixon score and, following a missed extra point, the Rattlers’ lead was down to a single point at 41-40.
However, Arizona rebounded. Following another Benson touchdown, Thomas’ pass was deflected high in the air and Rattlers cornerback Arkeith Brown came down with the ball. Benson’s fourth score of the afternoon put the game away and earned coach Kevin Guy’s praise.
“I thought our defense did a nice job closing them out,” Guy said. “We finished with three straight stops at the end. I thought our pass rush started taking the game over — our (defensive backs) started making plays on the ball.”
The Rattlers improved to 8-0 all-time against the KISS since they joined the league in 2014.
Following a league-wide bye week, the Rattlers will host the Jacksonville Sharks on July 9. A win would make Arizona the National Conference champions and give them home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
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