Near-perfect first half propels Arizona Rattlers to win over LA KISS

Jul 26, 2015, 7:25 PM | Updated: 7:26 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Rattlers jumped out to a 34-0 first-half lead before needing to hang on for a 68-55 win over the LA KISS Sunday at US Airways Center.

In fact, the Rattlers (13-3) came within one second of pitching a rare first-half shutout, but Nick Davila was intercepted by defensive back Josh Victorian, who returned it 48 yards for a score as time expired.

LA (5-11) came out looking like a different team after halftime. Quarterback Danny Southwick threw seven touchdown passes in the final 30 minutes, but it wasn’t enough.

The KISS scored on their first play of the third quarter, with Southwick hitting Donovan Morgan on a 39-yard strike to make the score 34-14.

Arizona’s normally sure-handed Kerry Reed then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, handing the ball back to LA. Southwick then connected with Tyrone Goard on a 1-yard touchdown pass to pull the KISS two within 13 points at 34-21.

But the Rattlers’ offense was too efficient the rest of the way. Davila engineered five straight scoring drives the rest of the way — four of which ended in touchdown passes to Chase Deadder, who was playing for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in late-June.

“I was feeling good,” Deadder said. “The ankle felt good, it was holding up real well. I’ve got to give it to the offensive line and the other receivers blocking, they make my job easy.

“I just caught the ball and everyone was making their blocks and I went out there and just ran.”

Three of Deadder’s four touchdowns came in the last 5:22 of the game while the teams were trading touchdowns.

That’s not to say LA didn’t have chances. Trailing 41-34 early in the fourth quarter, defensive end Nekos Brown was called for illegal use of the hands on a fourth-down play that extended a Rattlers’ drive. Two plays later, Davila hit Windsor on a 9-yard touchdown pass to put Arizona back up by 20.

Later in the quarter, again trailing by 13, LA had an opportunity to stop the Rattlers on fourth down. This time, Logan Harrell jumped off sides to extend Arizona’s possession. Davila made it hurt again when he hit Deadder on a 22-yarder two plays later.

With the victory, the Rattlers are now 5-0 against the KISS since they entered the league in the 2014 season.

Noted

• Rattlers receiver Rod Windsor finished with seven catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. It was Windsor’s sixth straight 100-yard game and ninth of the season.

• Arizona fullback Mykel Benson had a season-high 48 yards rushing on seven carries. The highlight was a beautiful 21-yard touchdown jaunt in the first quarter to open the scoring.

He Said It

“We wanted to go right at Kizer. One of the reasons why we didn’t keep him was because we didn’t feel like he was physical enough to make tackles and we went right at him. You’ll see, he missed a lot of tackles tonight and got run over a few times. Guys that make this team — they might be great for other teams — but guys that make this team, they’re going to have to play physical.” — Arizona head coach Kevin Guy on the Rattlers’ offensive strategy to attack LA defensive back Rayshaun Kizer. Kizer was in training camp with the Rattlers before being traded to the New Orleans VooDoo, who later traded him to LA.

Up Next

The Rattlers hit the road for their final regular season away game to take on the league-best San Jose SaberCats Friday night at SAP Center. San Jose took the first meeting between the teams in Phoenix in early May, 56-34. It should be noted that Davila didn’t play in that game after suffering a foot injury the week before in LA.

Friday’s game gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Phoenix time and will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

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Near-perfect first half propels Arizona Rattlers to win over LA KISS