Barnstormers at Rattlers Game Preview

Photo Credit: Matt Hinshaw
Photo Credit: Matt Hinshaw

The league-leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) host the Iowa Barnstormers (7-2) on Sunday, May 20th at 3:05 P.M. at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Playoff implications are at stake as this game features the top two teams in the IFL standings.

With only four games left, Arizona holds a slim game and a half lead over Iowa, but the Barnstormers beat the Rattlers in week three, so the winner of this game will be in the driver's seat for the top spot in the playoffs. 

The Rattlers are planning to commemorate their 300th victory with a banner before Sunday's kickoff. Two weeks ago, the Rattlers defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans 84-83 to win their 300th game as a franchise.

Last Saturday, the Rattlers defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) behind QB Jeff Ziemba's six touchdowns, five passing and one rushing. The Arizona offense jumped out to a 28-0 lead early and didn't give up the lead all game. The defense dominated, holding the Blizzard to 13 points each half, while forcing three interceptions and five sacks. Linebacker Justin Shirk led the defense with 14 tackles and 2.5 sacks while the Rattlers secondary of Arkeith Brown, Allen Chapman, and Dillion Winfrey all had one interception each to help the Rattlers win 62-26. Wide receiver Dezmon Epps had 68 yards and two receiving touchdowns and was named IFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

The victory tied General Manager and Head Coach Kevin Guy with Danny White as the winningest Rattlers coach of all-time with 141 wins. Since taking over in 2008, the Rattlers have never missed the playoffs under Coach Guy. As Head Coach, he has led the Rattlers to four championships and has never had a losing season while winning two Coach of the Year awards in 2011, and 2016.

The Barnstormers defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-9) last week 48-21. Iowa quarterback Drew Powell rushed for three touchdowns and threw for 142 yards. After jumping out to a 28-14 lead in the second, the Titans would cut the deficit to seven at halftime with a late score. The Iowa offense would score 21 straight in the second half, while the Barnstormer defense held Cedar Rapids to only 77 yards in the second half and forced two fumbles to secure the victory.

Arizona has since won eight straight games since the loss in Iowa. The Rattlers have yet to beat the Barnstormers since joining the Indoor Football League.

This game will feature two of top ranked teams in the IFL. The Rattlers bring in the top ranked offense, but the Barnstormers have the number one ranked defense. Arizona also has the top ranked rushing attack by a wide margin, while the Iowa defense has a commanding lead in rushing defense. 

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:05 P.M. at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday, May 20th. The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Go app, YouTube Live (Search Keyword "IFL") and on the radio on 1580 the Fanatic.