– It’s the moment the Arizona Rattlers (18-2) have been working toward all season – a chance to play in ArenaBowl XXIV. Now, the only team standing in their way is the formidable Jacksonville Sharks (16-4). The two teams will face off on Friday night (August 12) inside the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m.
This match up can be described as appropriate, as the two best teams throughout the AFL’s regular season are meeting in the championship game. Arizona comes into the ArenaBowl riding an 11-game win streak, its last loss dating back to the middle of May. While Jacksonville was just 3-3 in their last six regular season games, it had an impressive 13-game win streak during in 2011.
GM/HEAD COACH KEVIN GUY leads the Rattlers into their first title game appearance since 2004, their sixth appearance in franchise history. A championship would be the team’s first since 1997.
Arizona will rely heavily on QB NICK DAVILA who has thrown for 450 yards and 11 touchdowns in the team’s two playoff victories. Davila’s favorite target so far in this year’s playoff run has been WR JASON GEATHERS. The 6’ 3”, 205lb Geathers has been an absolute menace to opposing defenses, catching 14 balls for 194 yards and five touchdowns in two playoff games.
Not to be outdone is a Rattler defense who has been simply outstanding in the 2011 playoffs. Arizona has imposed its will defensively on opponents causing 10 total turnovers in two games, and lowering its defensive scoring average from 46.4 in the regular season to 40.5 in the playoffs.
Veteran DB MARQUIS FLOYD has been instrumental in the team’s strong defensive play, accumulating 18.5 tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
The Rattlers will look to stop Jacksonville’s number one regular season scoring offense of 64.3 points per game.
The Sharks are led by 17-year veteran, and AFL legend, QB Aaron Garcia. The signal caller has thrown for the most touchdowns in AFL history at 1,078 as well as most passing yards with 50,019.
Garcia will look to find WR Jomo Wilson and WR Jeron Harvey, who together caught 221 balls for 2,814 yards and 75 touchdowns in 2011.
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