PHOENIX — Saturday night’s game between the Arizona Rattlers and the Las Vegas Outlaws was a close affair for three quarters.
But the Rattlers dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Outlaws 23-0 and opening up a 30-point lead. The three-time defending ArenaBowl champions would hang on for a 57-43 win in front of 11,891 fans at US Airways Center.
Arizona quarterback Nick Davila completed 19-of-28 for 271 yards and eight touchdowns, four of which went to receiver Rod Windsor, who finished with eight catches and 113 yards.
Things got interesting late in the second quarter when Las Vegas quarterback Dennis Havrilla hit offensive lineman Terrence Campbell on a desperation fourth-down throw for a 7-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14-14 with :34 left.
But the Rattlers answered, with Davila hooking up with Windsor on a 33-yard scoring strike with :10 remaining. The touchdown started a run of 30 unanswered points by Arizona, who pushed their record to 12-2 on the season.
Las Vegas outscored the Rattlers 29-13 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer than 14.
The Rattlers defense also dominated in stretches. Arizona forced three turnovers, blocked a field goal and got a safety when Tyre Glasper sacked Havrilla in the end zone in the decisive third quarter.
Havrilla was sacked five times on the night with defensive linemen Cliff Dukes and Michael McAdoo registering two apiece.
• Arizona head coach Kevin Guy notched his 100th win with the Rattlers.
• Davila was picked off twice in the game — the first two interceptions he’s thrown since returning from a foot injury June 6 against Tampa Bay. For the season, the reigning league MVP has 65 touchdown passes and six interceptions.
• Former Arizona Wildcat receiver Dan Buckner made his Arena debut Saturday, and snared three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown — a 48-yard bomb from Davila that closed the scoring in the third quarter.