Zion Lions back in 1st place after dumping Vegas Trojans

The Zion Lions have open tryouts Saturday | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The recipe for success continued Saturday night for the Zion Lions, who played tough defense and pounded the rock on offense in a 23-14 win over the Vegas Trojans in the Dixie Sunbowl.

Lions_logo_large (1)trojansThe Trojans came into the game tied atop the Rocky Mountain Football League’s Big 9 South Conference with a 4-1 record. But Vegas never led and succumbed to the physical style of the Lions.

The Lions scored on their first possession of the game to gain a lead it would never surrender. Starting from their own 40-yard line, the Lions ran the ball three times to get a first down. Then, quarterback Josh Ford found wide receiver James Thompson for a 49-yard TD reception on his first pass.

Zion Lions' Josh Ford (1), Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Zion Lions’ Josh Ford (1) and Trojan Jermaine Stephens, Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Josh Ford has gotten better every game,” said Lions head coach Dale Stott. “He is athletic and his arm strength is awesome. He is a potent weapon in the backfield.”

The teams traded turnovers on the next two possessions. The Trojans took over the ball at their own seven-yard line. The Lion defense came up big on the next play, tackling Trojan quarterback James Cammack in the end zone for a safety and 9-0 lead.

The Trojans got a break late in the first quarter when the Lions muffed a punt deep in their own territory. The next play, running back Mike Ball found paydirt on a 15-yard run and pulled the Trojans to within 9-7 with 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Misi Tupe pinned the Trojans deep in their own territory with a 41-yard punt. Three plays later, the Trojans fumbled at their own 19-yard line. It was recovered by Lion strong safety Dave Bishoff. Two plays later, Ford scored on an option up the middle to give the Lions a 16-7 lead.

It's a safety! Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
It’s a safety! Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Having Misi at punter creates problems for the defense,” said Stott. “If they put someone back to field the punt we will run it on them. And the other teams know that Misi can run.” It turns out he can also punt. And the Trojans did not send a return man back to receive the punt.

The Lions would get the ball again before halftime and take it to the Trojan 11-yard line. But Nick Hafen’s field goal attempt was wide right and the Lions had to be satisfied with their 16-7 lead at the break.

The teams traded possessions to begin the second half, with both teams turning the ball over on downs. On the Trojans’ second possession, Cammack threw a perfect pass to Gerryl Bennett, who had run a crisp out and up for the 46-yard touchdown completion. With just under nine minutes gone in the third, the score was 16-14.

“They have some good talent at the skill positions,” said Stott. “Give credit to our defense. They scored on a short field and on a perfectly executed big play. We kept them out of the end zone the rest of the game.”

Before the quarter was out, though, the Lions would answer. After taking over the ball on downs at their own 14-yard line, Ford completed two consecutive 31-yard passes. The first went to Bailey Glass, who made the catch in heavy traffic. The next was caught by Kaipo Hurtt at the Trojan 24-yard line. The next play, Rimo Mapu bounced outside and followed two huge pulling offensive lineman untouched around the right side.

Zion Lions' Bailey Glass (81) nearly pulls in a long pass, Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Zion Lions’ Bailey Glass (81) nearly pulls in a long pass, Zion Lions vs. Las Vegas Trojans, Football, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“I saw them pinching in earlier,” said Stott. “I felt like that would be a big play. Turns out that Rimo probably did not need the escort.”

The touchdown gave the Lions a two-score buffer once again that they would not relinquish. The fourth quarter saw the Trojans move the ball, but were unable to finish.

Mapu led the Lions on the ground, gaining 46 yards on nine rushes. Ford completed 7 of 14 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Glass led the Lions with 51 yards receiving and four receptions.

For the Trojans, Cammack completed 14 of 21 for 185 yards. Bennett had 113 yards receiving on six catches. Mike Ball led Vegas with 34 yards on 10 rushes.

The Lions move to 4-1 on the season. They will play against rival and defending RMFl champion Wasatch Revolution next week at Woods Cross High School Saturday. The Trojans fall to 4-2 and will have a week off before hosting the Utah Wildcats on May 21.

Stats: TROZIO5716

RMFL Week 6 Scores
Zion Lions 23, Vegas Trojans 14
Utah Wildcats 16, Brigham Sting 7
Utah Shock 29, Davis Vipers 12
Vegas Hawks 40, Las Vegas Raiders 0

RMFL Big 9 South Conference Standings
Zion Lions  4-1
Wasatch Revolution 4-1
Vegas Trojans  4-2
Utah Shock  4-2
Brigham Sting  3-2
Davis Vipers  2-3
Utah Wildcats  2-3
Vegas Hawks  1-4
Las Vegas Raiders 0-6

RMFL Week 7 Schedule (all Week 7 games are at Woods Cross High School)
Sting vs. Vipers (Friday night, 6 p.m.)
Wildcats vs. Raiders, noon Saturday
Hawks vs. Shock, 3 p.m. Saturday
Lions vs. Revolution, 6 p.m. Saturday

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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