By Kahlil Najar
ARIZONA – The San Jose SaberCats fell to the #1 seeded Arizona Rattlers 72-56 to end their 2014 season. The Cats Quaterback Russ Michna completed 21 of 37 passes for 269 yards with six passes. All Pro Reggie Gray contributed with 9 receptions for 148 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Cats, Arizona Quarterback Nick Davila threw for eight touchdowns to four different receivers and had three receivers with at least a pair of touchdowns each.
The Rattlers started off the game strong with three touchdowns in each quarter while the Cats were only able to come up with one in the first. However they matched the three touchdowns by the Rattlers in the second quarter.
San Jose quarterback Nathan Stanley found wide receiver Reggie Gray for a 30-yard touchdown in the first. In the second, Russ Michna replaced Stanley at Quarterback and found Gray for a quick nine-yard touchdown to make the lead only 7 points for the Rattlers. After an Arizona score, Michna found wide receiver stand out Dominique Curry for another 9-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, Arizona answered back quickly to make it a 35-21 game. Not wanting to stray from a good thing, Michna again found Gray for another touchdown and took the score to 35-28 in favor of Arizona. After a successful onside kick, Michna tossed a deep pass but was intercepted and Arizona capitalized on the mistake and scored another touchdown with 4.9 seconds left and made it a 42-28 lead at halftime.
Arizona was only able to score 16 points in the third but the Cats weren’t able to capitalitze on it and only scored 7 points in the quarter on another touchdown by Gray. Michna found Gray hooked on a nice 32-yard completion that put the game back into reach for the Cats. The Rattlers then scored a few more times and made it a deflating 58-35 game after three quarters of play. After a failed onside kick attempt, Arizona’s offense would settle for a 26-yard field goal by kicker Craig Ratanamorn to make the score 51-35.
In the fourth, Odie Armstrong barreled his way into the end zone and made it only a 16 point lead at 58-42. Again Arizona scored but then Michna found Jason Willis in the end zone and made it a 65-49 game. Arizona scored again to give them a 72-42 lead then in the waning minutes of the game Michna found Willis again and brought it to the final score of 72-56.
“There’s a reason they have been in that situation for four years in a row now,” said Michna on the Rattlers.
With the win, Arizona heads to their fourth straight Arena Bowl.