By: Brian Kreps – Contributing Writer
May 1, 2016
PHOENIX – Arizona quarterback Nick Davila went 14-for-18 for 246 yards and seven touchdowns, earning the Under Armor Offensive Player of the Game, and helping the Rattlers to a 68-21 win over the Portland Steel at Talking Stick Resort Arena in front of 11,510 fans.
The Rattlers defense again played big, limiting the Steel (1-4) offense to 21 total points with six sacks and one interception by the newly signed Al Phillips. The interception was Phillips’ first of the season and he added six tackles on the night. The defense was led by Arkeith Brown with 10.5 tackles and six pass break ups, earning him the Riddle Defensive Player of the Game. Defensive back KJ Morton had four tackles to round out the standout play of the secondary.
“I thought our DBs (defensive backs) set the tone early in the game. Making some plays on fourth down, and then our pass rush got stronger as the game went on,” Arizona head coach Kevin Guy said. “Bubba (Allen Chapman) was out tonight, Arkeith (Brown) has been waiting to get in that middle. I thought he did an excellent job tonight. We got a lead and I was able to get Phillips in the game and he got a pick, he’s only been here for three days.”
Guy said he was pleasantly surprised with the performance of his defensive backs.
“I think they played better than I thought. I was a little nervous going into the game, just because they hadn’t had a lot of time together and there were questions about checks and things,” Guy said. “We got something to build on. We got some energy on defense. Pressure pick. Cover Sack. Those guys playing together, we got something to build on and we just got me to keep trying to improve on. It’s early in the season. It’s about the grind right now and the journey.”
Guy added that the play of Morton has been a big plus for the Rattlers defense.
“KJ is solid. He hasn’t given up a touchdown yet,” Guy said. “He’s a rookie and played in five games. They keep testing him, but he’s got great angles. He’s stronger than guys think he is.”
Davila added that the performance of the defense continues to be a spark for the rest of the team.
“Defense did a great job all night. Getting pressure up front, it makes our job easier on offense,” Davila said.
The Rattlers offense was also clicking on all cylinders. Rod Windsor led the way with five catches for 91 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Amos, in just his second game with the team, added four catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
“(Amos) is a good football player. He’s learning our offense. He’s growing and getting better and better every week. He makes tough catches, that’s what I like about him,” Guy said. “Anthony has a lot of upside. He does some good things. He hit a couple home runs and he drew some flags. He’s growing. We like him, and should continue to improve.”
While Davila praised Amos, he knows there is room for improvement for the offense as a whole.
“(Amos) did great job. He’s making plays, and he’s doing a good job so far,” Davila said. “We got stopped again on offense that we did to ourselves, including myself. We got to lock in and practice, look at film and we’ll get better.”
One negative for the Rattlers was wide receiver Kerry Reed having to leave the game with an injury.
The Portland offense was led by wide receiver Tyrone Goard with seven receptions and three touchdowns. Quarterback Kasey Peters was 23-of-49 for 245 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Next up, the Rattlers travel to Orlando to face the Predators (5-0) on May 7 at 4:30 p.m. EDT at Amway Center.