On the hunt: Revamped Arizona Rattlers return hungry for IFL title in 2024

The Arizona Rattlers enter the 2024 season fueled by determination to make a return to championship contention with a blend of seasoned veterans and fresh talent. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Rattlers)

MESA – The Arizona Rattlers are entering another season of arena football, and they are looking to earn the title once again. The last time they won a championship was in 2017, the first season they joined the Indoor Football League. They earned a trip to the big game in 2019 and 2021, yet failed to bring home another trophy.

Rattlers coach Kevin Guy, in his 15th season, has had lots of success bringing four championships to Arizona. Guy knows how to build a championship contender and is confident in the group for this season.

“We have had a great training camp,” Guy said. “Guys seem to be focused, I like this group of guys.”

Arizona worked overtime this offseason to produce a different outcome for the 2024 campaign. The Rattlers finished last season short of expectations after high hopes of winning it all. Finishing the regular season 11-4 and ending on an eight-game winning streak, Arizona believe it could contend for a title. The Rattlers faced off against their rivals in the first round, the Northern Arizona Wranglers, but lost a 62-53 heartbreaker to end the season.

The long season starts on Saturday in Prescott against the Northern Arizona Wranglers at 6:05 p.m., when Rattlers fans will get their first look at the new 2024 roster. While the Rattlers have a chance to seek revenge against their rivals, Guy is treating the season opener like any other game.

“We want to beat them all,” Guy said. “Last year is over and we’re focused on this team.”

The start of a championship run helps when you have guys who know what it takes to not only get there but to win it. The Rattlers coaching staff has experience that will help prepare their players for the ebbs and flows of pursuing a championship. Offensive line coach Kevin Ashak, a lineman on the 2017 IFL title team, says he’s excited about the roster this season and even sees shades of the 2017 team.

“I see a lot of similarities from that ‘17 team to this year,” Ashak said. “A lot of good character guys in here.”

New Rattlers quarterback Dalton Sneed also brings championship experience after signing in free agency. Sneed, who won the championship and the championship game MVP last season with Bay Area, understands the work required before game days to earn a win each week.

“You got to practice like a champion,“ Sneed said fiercely. ”Ninety-five percent of the work we do is in the dark.”

Sneed, a Scottsdale native, returns home with hopes of helping put a historic franchise back on top while carrying over the momentum from last season. New faces paired alongside longtime coaches give the Rattlers the belief they can do well in the regular season and make a run for the IFL title.

“I’m gonna attack it every single day, that’s the mindset you have to come out with,” Sneed said. “With anything in life, any facet of life, if you don’t attack it you’re going to be mediocre.”

Mason Byers(he/him)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Mason Byers expects to graduate in December 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Byers has contirbuted to the East Valley Tribune.