One down two to go: Rattlers 51 SaberCats 48
Odie Armstrong may be called superman however it was the Arizona Rattlers defense that should be called “SuperMen”. The SaberCats were stopped on their first three possessions in the first quarter. By the end of the first quarter, the Arizona Rattlers were leading the San Jose SaberCats 14-0. It looked like it was “Game On” for the Rattlers after the first quarter however the game is 60 minutes long and the tide turned in the 2nd & 3rd quarters as well as early in the 4th quarter.
The Rattlers continued their dominating defense in the second quarter coming up with two more stops for a total of 5 stops in the first half. In most cases when a team comes up with 5 stops, the game usually is out of hand for the other team. However, the Rattlers offense was sputtering in the second quarter being stopped two times by way of interceptions. Davila, the 2011 MVP, was intercepted three times in the first half. At the end of the first half, the Rattlers led 21-14.
The Rattlers came out strong on their first possession in the 3rd quarter moving the ball 45 yards for a TD with with some great catches by Kerry Reed and Maurice Purify. With 12:03 left in the 3rd quarter, the Rattlers lead was 28-14 and it looked like the Rattlers might be settling down. Both the Rattlers and the SaberCats had one stop each in the 3rd quarter. The score at the end of 3 quarters: Rattlers 28: SaberCats 21.
The 4th quarter started with a field goal for the Rattlers who increased their lead to 31-21. Yet, this is playoff football and both teams knew that they either advance or go home. The SaberCats still had fight in them and took the lead with 10:22 left in the fourth quarter 35-31. Yet the Rattlers this year is a special type of team. A team of character with the ability to overcome adversity. With 8:09 left in the 4th quarter, Purify made a great catch for a TD and now the Rattlers led once again 37-35. One of the key moments of the game was when Arkeith Brown intercepted a pass and ran it back for a TD with 4:29 left in regulation. Rattlers led 44-35. The SaberCats kept coming back and scored a TD with 1:45 left in regulation making the score Rattlers 44 SaberCats 41. Rattlers scored another TD with .50 seconds left and increased their lead to 51- 41. The SaberCats did not give up and scored a TD with .37 seconds left in regulation. Rattlers led 51-48. Part of the excitement of arena football is that a team with a lead is not safe even with only .22 seconds left in the game. The SaberCats with .22 seconds left in the game attempted an onside kick which would have given them enough time to score and win the game. However, the Rattlers Brandon Anderson recovered the onside kick on the SaberCats 8 yard line. With .21 seconds left in regulation, Nick Davila took several snaps and ran backwards deep in the Rattlers territory and threw the ball out of bounds to kill off the clock. Final score: Rattlers 51 SaberCats 48.
One down two to Go: Next Stop US Airways Center this Saturday against the Utah Blaze at 7:00 PM