Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila played for the Spokane Shock in the af2 before making his way to Arizona (Photo: SWX)
The stage is set. The Arizona Rattlers will host the Jacksonville Sharks in Phoenix on Saturday in Arena Bowl XXIV. While Shock fans are disappointed their team isn't playing to defend what's theirs, there are a number of Northwest connections to the game.
The Rattlers advanced to the championship game over the weekend by beating Chicago. The Sharks beat Georgia Monday night in a game broadcast live on NFL Network. Quarterback Aaron Garcia, who played at Washington State before being benched in favor of Drew Bledsoe back in 1989, threw for 313 yards and eight touchdowns in the win. The Sharks' win sends Jacksonville to the first Arena Bowl in team history.
Arizona is led by another quarterback with connections to the Spokane area, Nick Davila. Davila played at Cincinnati before playing for the Shock in 2008-09 while they were still members of the af2. This year, Davila led the Rattlers to a league-record 16 wins, finished the regular season with the AFL's best passer rating and threw 117 touchdown passes.