It’s the goal of every team, every player, and every coach – to win. The Arizona Rattlers have done just that in 2011, steamrolling their way to an AFL record 16 regular season wins. Yet, the job is not finished, not until they hoist the ultimate prize, the ArenaBowl XXIV Trophy.
Coming off of last year’s 10-6 record, and bitter first-round playoff exit to eventual champion Spokane Shock, the Rattlers sought to make amends in 2011, and they have not disappointed.
Riding a current 11-game win streak, the Rattlers rolled through the regular season with the grace, speed, and deadliness of their namesake, leaving teams snake bitten with the AFL’s second-ranked scoring offense (61.9) and a swarming defense that lead the league in turnover differential (+34).
“Talking with GM/HEAD COACH KEVIN GUY, we went over what types of players we wanted this year, and it started with high character players,” said ASST. HEAD COACH KANI KAUAHI. “The difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is that we upgraded talent – but in a big way we upgraded the character of our ball club, both on and off of the field.”
With the road to the championship running through the desert, the situation is ripe for the two-time ArenaBowl Champions (94′, 97′) to add another trophy to the mantle. Arizona will look to MVP candidate QB NICK DAVILA to lead the team. In 2011 Davila set three Rattler team records for passing yards in a season (4,916), completions (427), and touchdowns passes (117). Balancing out the offensive load will be RB ODIE ARMSTRONG who also set Rattler team records in rushing yards in a season (295), and rushing touchdowns (17).
The Rattlers will also look to exploit their opponent with a dual threat option, DB VIRGIL GRAY. During the regular season Gray lead the AFL with five kick returns for touchdowns and a 23.3-yard average per kick return.
Guy comes into this match up never missing the playoffs as a head coach, and winning ArenaBowl XXI as a defensive coordinator for the San Jose SaberCats in 2007.
“We stayed focused on our goals and kept chopping at the wood all season. This squad has done a great job at staying humble all year. We feel truly blessed to be in this position.
“Playing in ArenaBowl XXIV will be fun, but the journey to get here has been the very best part.”