By Keith Antigiovanni
Just one week after the Arena Football League (AFL) wrapped up its' 25th regular season the first of three rounds of the post-season was played this weekend.
Utah (12-6) defeated the San Antonio Talons (14-4) 35-34 in the Alamodome Friday evening and advanced to the franchises' first conference championship game or semi-final game.
Their opponent will be the Arizona Rattlers (13-5) who triumphed overthe arch-rival San Jose Sabercats (12-6) by a score of 51-48 at home. Arizona was swept by San Jose during the regular season but managed to finish on top of the Western Division over Utah and San Jose by one game.
The win helped the Rattlers advance to their 12th conference championship game or semi-final game in the past 20 years (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011). Arizona is also the defending National Conference champion.
Meanwhile in the American Conference the defending Arena Bowl champion Jacksonville (10-8) won by a slim 58-56 margin over the Southern Division rival Georgia Force (9-9) and will hit the road to face the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Soul (15-3) who dispatched New Orleans (8-10) 66-53.
The channels and times for the conference championship games will be announced during the week.