RMFL football: Ferocious Lions D dominates for second straight week

Lions quarterback Misi Tupe looks for an open receiver, Zion Lions vs. Utah Cobras, Football, St. George, Utah, Mar. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Zion Lions had their lowest total rushing in two years, turned the ball over four times, turned the ball over on downs three more times and still whipped the visiting Utah Cobras 39-2 Saturday night in the Dixie Sunbowl..

zllogoCobras_logo_large“The Cobras game plan was to stop (Misi) Tupe’s rushing,” said Lions coach Dale Stott. “They did, for the most part, but we have other weapons on this team, including Tupe’s arm.”

The Zion defensive dominance crushed any hope for the Cobras to capitalize on turnovers. Utah had gained a total of 14 yards by halftime. That decreased to eight total yards by the end of the game.

“I have never seen a game where one team’s defense just takes over the game,” said Stott. “Defensive Coordinator Vince Feula has got our defense dominating.”

Brandon Thompson (21) heads for the end zone after scooping up a Cobra fumble, Zion Lions vs. Utah Cobras, Football, St. George, Utah, Mar. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Brandon Thompson (21) heads for the end zone after scooping up a Cobra fumble, Zion Lions vs. Utah Cobras, Football, St. George, Utah, Mar. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Feula also plays defensive end. He and Doug Roberts, who plays the opposite end, combined for five tackles for loss in the Cobras first two series.

“Doug and I have competitions,” said a smiling Feula. “He has good size and speed. It is hard to run outside on us. It isn’t any easier running inside either.”

Both defenses were able to keep the opposing offense in check for the first 25 minutes of the game. The only score during that time came on a fumble return by Brandon Thompson for paydirt halfway through the first quarter. Cobra running back Wayne Loakes was hit by Lion linebacker Kaleo Teriipaia and the ball jarred loose. Thompson scooped it up and ran 64 yards the other direction. The quarter ended with the Lions up 7-0.

Zion scored its first offensive touchdown with just under six minutes remaining in the half. Taking the ball over on their 32-yard line, Tupe found wide receiver Brennan Adams on two consecutive passes. The first went for 44 yards. The second went the remaining 24 yards for the score. The PAT was missed and the Zion lead was 13-0.

Lion receiver Ryne Wall nearly pulls in a one handed grab, Zion Lions vs. Utah Cobras, Football, St. George, Utah, Mar. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Lion receiver Ryne Wall nearly pulls in a one handed grab, Zion Lions vs. Utah Cobras, Football, St. George, Utah, Mar. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Lions got on the scoreboard again shortly before halftime. After Ryne Wall returned a Cobra punt for 36 yards, Lion fullback Sione Tapuosi barreled in untouched from 14 yards out with just nine seconds remaining. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful and the Lion lead at intermission was 19-0.

Zion got a score early in the second half with Tupe’s second end-zone connection with Adams. Thew sure-handed receiver had to untangle from the Cobra defender and make a diving catch to get the score. Rob Nadalsky’s PAT had the Lions up 26-0 with nine minutes remaining in the third.

The Cobras finally got on the board when Nadalsky’s punt hit the backside of one of the Lions up-men. The ball caromed back to the Lion end zone and Nadalsky had the presence of mind to bat the ball out of the end zone for a safety. With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the lead narrowed to 26-2.

On the Cobras ensuing possession, they had their punt blocked by Thompson. The Lions took over with good field position at the Cobras 13-yard line. Tupe ran around the left side from seven yards out two plays later to give the Lions a 32-2 lead after Nadalsky’s PAT went wide left.

In the fourth quarter, the Lions played their second team personnel on both sides of the ball. In fact many starters could be seen on the sidelines with their pads off. Backup quarterback Nadalsky found wide receiver Vili Hafoka for a 10-yard touchdown to complete the scoring.

For the game, the Lions only had 51 net rushing yards. Tupe completed 10 of 21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

The win puts the Lions at 2-0. The Cobras fall to 0-1. The Lions will host the Davis Vipers on next Saturday. The Vipers are playing their first season at the AAA level in the RMFL after several years in the AA division. Game time is at 7 p.m. at the Sunbowl.

Stats: cobraslions32815

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Freds March 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the update on the team. I always love going to a few of their games. I wish I could have gone this weekend

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