Valley fans celebrate Arizona Rattlers' ArenaBowl title | Tilted Kilt Pub

Valley fans celebrate Arizona Rattlers’ ArenaBowl title

August 10, 2012

Every time Nick Davila found Maurice Purify for yet another touchdown pass  Friday night, the second floor of the downtown Phoenix Tilted Kilt turned into  the Snake Pit.

Fans stood and screamed, giving each other high-fives.

They were chanting, “Let’s go, Rattlers,” throughout.

Aug. 10, 2012 - Rattlers fans Nick Kidder, left, Zach Kidder, middle, and David Fuller, right celebrate after an interception during a viewing party for the ArenaBowl championship between the Rattlers and the Philadelphia Soul.Pat Shannahan/The Republic

But, after witnessing so many ArenaBowls as a lifelong Rattlers season-ticket  holder, Peoria’s Tao Baker couldn’t relax.

“It’s too nerve-racking,” Baker said even after the Rattlers went up on the  Philadelphia Soul 66-42 with 8:43 left. “I’m in my heart-attack years, so I’ve  got to watch out. It’s not over until the final whistle.”

Finally, after 15 years, after seeing the Rattlers lose four ArenaBowls since  2002, and especially after last year’s air-sucking loss at home on the final  play of the game, Baker could breathe easy with the Rattlers beating the  Philadelphia Soul 72-54 in ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans.

“Last year, the last two seconds took the air out of my lungs,” Baker  said.

Davila and Purify and a ball-hawking defense in the first half made sure  there was finally a happy  ending to a Rattlers season.

It was the Rattlers’ first championship  since 1997 and three altogether. They also won it in 1994.

Purify set an ArenaBowl record with seven touchdown catches, a week after  catching five touchdown passes in the second half to beat the Utah Blaze  75-69.

Just as Purify put the finishing touches on the Soul with his seventh  touchdown catch with 2:48 left, fans watched a fireworks display out the window.  They were coming from the post-Diamondbacks game a couple of blocks away.

“It was fitting,” longtime season-ticket holder Keith Kozakiewicz said of the  fireworks. “That was appropriate.

“The drought is over.”

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