Blizzard at Rattlers Game Preview

Photo Credit: Matt Hinshaw
Photo Credit: Matt Hinshaw

Phoenix, Ariz. - The Arizona Rattlers (5-1) host the Green Bay Blizzard (0-5) on Saturday, April 21, in their second matchup of the year. The Rattlers are sitting atop the league after beating the Sioux Falls Storm (4-2) on Monday. The Blizzard, on the other hand, are looking for their first win this season after dropping their last game to the Sioux Falls Storm three weeks ago.

The Rattlers generated 248 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers which propelled them to a 48-40 victory over the Storm. The Rattlers were led by running back Darrell Monroe who rushed for 126 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Jeff Ziemba threw for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Rattlers defensive backs Arkeith Brown and Nathan Lindsey each had an interception.

The Rattlers and Storm were trading scores in the first half before Anthony Amos caught a touchdown with seconds to spare in the first half to give the Rattlers a ten-point lead at halftime. From there, the Rattlers offense caught fire and took a 48-23 lead early into the fourth quarter. Despite a late rally from Sioux Falls, the Rattlers would go on to win 48-40 and take full control of first place in the IFL standings.

The Blizzard last played three weeks ago in a matchup against the Sioux Falls Storm and fell 39-23. Green Bay held a few early leads and kept the game close throughout, but Sioux Falls eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter. Running back Serge Trezy carried the ball for 54 yards on ten carries and a touchdown. Last week's matchup with the Cedar Rapids Titans got postponed indefinitely due to inclement weather.

This game will be the head coaching debut of Green Bay's Corey Roberson. Roberson took over as interim Head Coach after Chris Williams was released after the game against Sioux Falls. Green Bay is also expected to start their third different quarterback this season, likely Bryan Hicks. This will be Hicks' first start of the season after the team released Christian Lemay and Raymond Cotton.

Arizona is looking to remain unbeaten at home on the year (4-0). The Rattlers currently have the top-ranked rushing attack in the league averaging 110.4 yards per game. In their game on Monday, Arizona produced 139 rushing yards, 126 by Darrell Monroe on 23 carries and four touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Monroe is tied for first in the IFL for rushing touchdowns with eight. Quarterback Jeff Ziemba has thrown 13 touchdowns and one interception over his last three games. He also has averaged 133 passing yards over that span and is currently leading the IFL in passing touchdowns with 18 on the season.

The Blizzard enters the game with a rush defense that is allowing 88.2 yards per game. In their most recent game, Green Bay allowed 113 rushing yards. The Blizzard have relied heavily on the run game, leading the league in rushing attempts with 153 tries. Green Bay's rushing attack averages 102 yards per game which is third in the league in that respective category.

The Rattlers have the IFL's top ranked kickoff coverage in the league and have not allowed a kick return touchdown this season. Arizona will face a Green Bay special teams unit ranked second in the IFL in kick return yards (575) that features kick returner B.J. Hill, who won IFL Special Teams Player of the Week where he had 112 kick return yards in the Blizzards week two matchup against Cedar Rapids.

Arizona will try to replicate their week three victory over the Blizzard where they won 37-31. The Rattlers struck first and held the lead all game. Green Bay made things interesting by pulling within three a couple times in the second half and had a chance to win the game in the final minute of regulation, but an Allen Chapman interception with 53 seconds left put an end to the Blizzard's comeback.

The game is scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. PDT kickoff at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday.  The game will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona Rattlers Channel, streamed on the Fox Sports Go App, and YouTube Live (search keyword "IFL"). The game will also be simulcast on 1580 the Fanatic.