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July 12, 2017

The Arizona Rattlers celebrated their Indoor Football League championship with a ceremony at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday.

The players were joined by head coach Kevin Guy as well as owner Ron Shurts and the Rattlers cheerleaders. Fans were also invited to take part in the celebration.

This is the Rattlers first championship in their first season in the IFL after 24 seasons in the Arena Football League. It’s the sixth championship in franchise history.

July 8, 2017

The Rattlers played near-perfect in the first half, gave up 21 unanswered points in the third quarter, and reasserted themselves just enough in the final quarter to end the Sioux Falls Storm’s six-year Indoor Football League reign on Saturday.

Holding the Storm to a total of five offensive yards in the first half and taking a 34-7 lead, the Rattlers, relying on three Sawyer Petre field goals in the final nine minutes, held on for a 50-41 victory to capture the United Bowl in their first year in the IFL.

Arkeith Brown, part of three consecutive ArenaBowl championships with the Rattlers, sealed it with an interception in the final seconds.

Sioux Falls (15-3), going for its 11th title, saw its six-year championship streak end, losing for the second time this season at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“They all mean something,” coach Kevin Guy said of his four titles with the Rattlers, his first in the IFL. “But this one was very special. We had to start over with a new roster. There were new rules. We started 0-2, and here we are.

“It says something about the people in the organization. It’s ownership (led by Ron Shurts). It’s our culture. It’s our environment.”

The Rattlers (14-4), who won five ArenaBowl titles in their 24-year AFL history, finished their first IFL season on a 10-game winning streak, going from a team looking like they were rebuilding to one that turned it on in the second half of the season with a relentless defense and powerful run game. 


Rattlers dominate the Nebraska Danger 62-36 for the IFL Intense Conference champiinship

Cody Sokol was 7-of-8 passing with two touchdowns in the first half, when the Rattlers didn’t give up a defensive score and scored themselves on defense.

Josh Gordon picked up a fumble and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown and a 27-7 lead after middle linebacker Justin Shirk blitzed and stripped the ball loose from Storm quarterback Lorenzo Brown with 2:29 left in the first half.

Shirk, who wasn’t with the Rattlers in the February opener, was named the United Bowl Most Valuable Player.

“It’s a heck of an honor, but it’s a team award,” said Shirk, who had 1 1/2 sacks. “It’s not only one on defense. We had other guys up there who had their arms on the quarterback.”

Brown was sacked for the third time in the half, and a 57-yard field-goal try was short and returned 45 yards by Jamal Miles to the 5-yard line. That led to Sokol’s five-yard scoring pass to Anthony Amos and a 34-7 lead with 14 seconds left in the half.

Sioux Falls missed three field goals in the half, but dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Rattlers 21-0, capitalizing on a Sokol fumble and interception to cut it to 34-28.

“We knew they were going to come back,” Shirk said. “They were not going to lay down like that. The Super Bowl between the Falcons and the Patriots, I had that in the back of my mind. We had that bend-but-don’t-break in the second half.

“There were a couple of mistakes. We just kind of let up. We had some mental lapses. We knew in the fourth quarter we would finish it.”

The Storm failed to get a first down on fourth-and-six deep in their territory, and the Rattlers capitalized with Darrell Monroe rushing for his third TD from two yards out, making it a two-touchdown game.

The Rattlers reached the Storm 1-yard line but were held to a field goal by Petre to make it 44-28, before the Storm came back on a 47-yard drive for a touchdown with 5:13 left.

Sioux Falls’ defense held again, making the Rattlers settle for a 21-yard field goal, keeping it a two-possession game with 2:36 left.

Mike Tatum’s 40-yard scoring catch on the first play of Sioux Falls’ next series cut it to 47-41.

The Rattlers had the ball at the Sioux Falls 11-yard line with a minute left, needing to advance the ball to keep the clock running. But on second down, Sokol was stopped behind the line, stopping the clock with 54 seconds to play.

Monroe also didn’t gain any yardage, stopping the clock with 50 seconds to play, making it fourth down.

Petre’s 26-yard field goal with 47 seconds to play gave the Rattlers their final nine-point cushion.

“I had to stay calm and composed,” Petre said. “I have never won anything before this. This is unbelievable. I’m so stoked for the players, for the coaches, for the fans.”