The Arizona Rattlers are the Champions of the Indoor Football League
Coming into the 2017 Indoor Football League season, the Arizona Rattlers were the new kids on the block. The Rattlers were changing from the Arena Football League to the Indoor Football League and expectations were unclear. Things became clear on Saturday for the Rattlers. Coach Kevin Guy has always set a high expectation level for his team and it showed on Saturday night as his Arizona Rattlers took home the United Bowl Championship Trophy by beating Sioux Falls 50-41.
The Rattlers played an almost perfect first half and jumped out to a 34-7 lead and took the Sioux Falls crowd out of the game in the first half. The Sioux Falls Storm also only had five offensive yards in the first half. The Rattlers were looking to keep the pressure on going into the second half. Cody Sokol, Rattler quarterback, was showing confidence by going 7-8 passing and throwing two touchdowns. Everything was looking up for the Rattlers.
Football can be a tale of two halves.
If you know anything about the Indoor Football League, no lead is safe. The Rattlers proved that to be true by letting the Storm back into the game.
The Rattlers went scoreless in the third quarter, while the Storm put 21 unanswered points on the board and shortened the Arizona lead to 34-28 heading into the 4th quarter. The Storm put themselves in an unusual position by putting their six-year reign as IFL Champions up in the air.
Coach Guy was looking for something that would halt the momentum that Sioux Falls had going into the fourth quarter. The Rattlers were struggling to find any offensive rhythm and were giving the Storm plenty of opportunities to tie or take the lead in the United Bowl. Doubt for Rattler Nation was starting to creep into their thoughts. The clock wasn’t moving as much for the Rattlers, points weren’t being scored, and offensive struggles were real.
The only points that kept a little bit of distance between the two teams were three field goals by Rattler kicker Sawyer Petre in the final nine minutes of the game.
In the end, the Rattlers did enough to keep the Storm out of the end zone. Arkeith Brown, who was apart of other Rattler Championships, intercepted the ball in the final seconds to seal the United Bowl for the Arizona Rattlers.
Arizona linebacker, Justin Shirk, who wasn’t even on the team on day 1, was named MVP of the game. Shirk has been a terror on the defensive side of the ball all season. Shirk had 1 1/2 sacks in the game.
“It’s a heck of an honor, but it’s a team award.” Shirk said. (Azcentral.com)
When Rattler Nation takes into account where this team was heading into this season and where they finished up the fans should be proud of the job the Kevin Guy and his staff did with a new group of players.
“It says something about the people in the organization. It’s ownership. It’s our culture. It’s our environment.” Coach Guy said in the post game interviews. (Azcentral.com)
I would absolutely agree with the culture comment. Coach Guy never accepts excuses. He only accepts results and effort and his current Rattler team gave him exactly that in the 2017 season. The Valley of the Sun has a championship organization in their midst and it is about time the Valley start recognizing how good the Champion Rattler organization is.