March 8, 2018
In week three, the Iowa Barnstormers will host the Arizona Rattlers at the Wells Fargo Arena after both teams got off to a fast start in their 2018 season openers. Iowa’s first win comes following a 13 win season last year, with one of those wins coming against Arizona when they defeated the Rattlers 51-47 in Phoenix. The reigning champs are looking for redemption against Iowa, and more importantly, looking to get off to a 2-0 start after turning to the first year signal caller to lead the Rattlers to victory.
Young Quarterback Battle
This weeks matchup features Arizona’s rookie quarterback Jeff Ziemba, who threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for one in last weeks win against Sioux Falls. One Barnstormer defender who hopes to put pocket pressure on Ziemba will be his college teammate, defensive end Marshall Lee-Mundin. Ziemba and Lee-Mundin both attended Shepard University in West Virginia before both players found homes in the IFL. Lee-Mundin hopes to reunite with Ziemba in the Rattlers backfield this Saturday night. The two were friends in college, but both will be putting their friendship aside come kickoff time.
Iowa’s quarterback Drew Powell, threw four touchdown passes in their convincing 41-20 win against Green Bay Blizzard, earning the second year gunslinger IFL Player of the Week honors. Powell also led the team in rushing yards in their first win, accounting for 48 of the teams 68 rushing yards. Defensive end Chris McAllister is focused on taming Powell’s numbers in week 3. The former Baylor Bear is the second all-time leader in sacks in his days wearing the green and gold. McAllister totaled 7 tackles against Sioux Falls, but he will be eager to tally his first sack against the Barnstormers Offensive Player of the Week.
Rattlers Run Game to Set the Tone
The Rattlers will rely heavily on their run game and last years leading rusher, Darrell Monroe. Monroe accounted for 88 of the teams 134 rushing yards and a touchdown in their home opener. He will collide with linebacker Zach Allen, who led the Barnstormers in tackles last week with 13. Allen has big shoes to fill at the inside linebacker position as he replaces the IFL Defensive Player of the Year Javicz Jones. The 6’2, 240-pound second-year player out of Wake Forest will be keeping a close eye on Darrell Monroe and the Rattlers ground game. Monroe and the Rattlers offensive line intend to replicate last years success using a one-game-at-a-time approach. This week, neutralizing Iowa’s dynamic linebacker will be key to their plans to ground and pound their way to victory.
The Rattlers will take the field for Iowa’s home opener in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday at 7:05 PM. The sixteenth meeting between the longtime rivals will be streamed live on YouTube.
By JD Ramirez | Contact Peter Garbow