The Kansas City Command fell to 0-3 with a 56-28 loss to Arizona Thursday night at Sprint Center. The Rattlers got a precision performance from quarterback Nick Davila who threw for seven touchdowns and nearly 300 yards on the night, earning Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game honors.
Kansas City opened the first quarter with a five-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Nate Davis. But the lead would be short-lived, as Davila, the 2011 AFL MVP, responded with a six-yard touchdown strike to knot the game up at seven on the ensuing possession.
Arizona was able to grab the team’s first lead on their next offensive possession. Taking over after a missed field goal by Command kicker Gary Cismesia, the Rattlers converted a 16-yard run by fullback Odie Armstrong into six more points, taking a 14-7 lead after a made PAT by kicker Chris Gould.
The Command began the second quarter in the red zone and answered Arizona by getting their running game going. On the quarter’s first play from scrimmage, Command fullback Trey Bryant took a two-yard rush into the end zone with authority, tying the game at 14. Kansas City would score again in less than a minute to retake the lead. KC’s Rashad Barksdale recovered the ensuing kickoff after a hard bounce off the net iron, setting up Davis’ second rushing touchdown of the night on a three-yard draw and putting the Command ahead 21-14.
However, for the third straight game to start this season, the Command allowed an opponent to go on an extended scoring run. The Rattlers scored the game’s next 29 points to open up a 22-point margin. Maurice Purify started the run with an 18-yard touchdown reception to cap a three-play drive that tied the game at 21.
Momentum was once again on Arizona’s side after an interception of Davis by Rattlers defensive back Virgil Gray, but defensive end Tommy Chavis kept the Command in the game by stripping Davila and recovering the fumble. KC could not take advantage as the drive stalled when Cismesia missed his second field goal of the night.
Davila and the Rattlers scored quick, capping a four-play, 49-yard drive with a touchdown strike to receiver Kerry Reed. Following a botched hold on the PAT, Arizona’s lead was 27-21 with 1:27 left in the half. Arizona knocked on the door with two seconds left after another missed KC field goal, but a stand by the Command defense kept them out of the end zone. The Rattlers would have to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Gould, giving Arizona a halftime lead of 30-21.
The Rattlers opened the third quarter with a quick strike, tacking on six more points with a 20-yard TD throw to Purify, last season’s Rookie of the Year. Kansas City turned the ball over on downs and Arizona converted a fourth and goal with a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Glen Fox, increasing the Rattlers’ lead to 43-21.
Davis and the Kansas City offense finally got back on the board to begin the fourth quarter by finding leading receiver Syvelle Newton in the back of the end zone for a four-yard touchdown. The score cut Arizona’s lead to 43-28 to close out the third quarter.
Arizona stopped any chance of a rally, scoring back-to-back touchdowns to extend the lead to 56-28 with 7:29 left in the game. Neither team scored down the stretch as the Command had two more drives end on failed fourth downs. Kansas City missed three field goals and had three turnovers on downs for the game.
Davila finished the night 21 of 29 passing for 297 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Purify had seven catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns, including a brilliant grab for a score in the fourth quarter, to earn National Guard MVP honors in the game.
The Command’s Davis had his second straight game with a completion rate below 50-percent, hitting 14 of 29 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Davis did run for two scores on the night.
Next up for the Command is a 7 p.m. (CDT) road test with Central Division rival Chicago on Saturday, April 7 at the AllState Arena. The game will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and Ustream.tv/Kansascitycommand. The Rush currently lead the Central Division at 2-0 and are in action this Saturday at Iowa.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila, Arizona
National Guard MVP: Maurice Purify, Arizona
Ridell Defensive Player of the Game: Marquis Floyd, Arizona
JLS Ironman of the Game: Virgil Gray, Arizona
Cutters Catch of the Game: Syvelle Newton, Kansas City (TD catch :43 3rd quarter)
Spalding Highlight of the Game: 30 yard touchdown, Davila to Reed 14:18 4th quarter)