ST. GEORGE – There’s excitement in St. George today as the Dixie Rebels semi-pro team will be at Dixie High School playing the Rocky Mountain Mudd Ducks at 7 p.m. The Rebels are 3-1 on the season and, as tight end Andy Stokes said, “we are hitting our stride.” The Mudd Ducks come to town winless at 0-4. However, according to defensive lineman Wayne Alofipo, “they should be 3-1. They lost to the REVolution on some penalties and the Stampede said they got lucky in beating them.” On top of that they played the Treasure Valley Spartans closer than the Rebels did.
Early in the season the Rebels were able to put points on the board by running the ball all over their opponents, but last week, against the Logan Stampede, quarterback Diarra Fields was in the zone and three of the Rebel’s receivers: Stokes, Brennan Adams, and Dallas Irvin, really stepped up. Stokes had been getting most of the catches all season, but Adams and Irvin, who played running back last season for the Rebels, couldn’t have picked a better time to take off as Stokes hyperextended his knee against the Stampede; and it will be a game-time decision this week.
The Mudd Duck defense has held opponents to an average of 22.5 points per game, but the Rebels have an above average offense and shouldn’t have any significant problems scoring. The potential problem is the Rebels are also likely to struggle stopping the Mudd Ducks from scoring.
The Rebels running and passing game has been just fine and their run defense has been pretty stringent, but their secondary has been suspect. They have been without one of their defensive leaders in Misi Tupe who is not expected to be back until next week. Jayson Malufau is also out. They have players that have been filling in, but since the secondary hasn’t played together as a unit very long they are having some chemistry problems. David Bishoff, who had a nice interception late in the game last week, has been picking up some of the slack at safety, but they have also been struggling at corner.
Conveniently, former Hurricane Tiger, Trey Smith, has recently joined the team as he is preparing to play for Norm Chow at the University of Hawaii. According to Alofipo, Smith participated in practice this week and did a very good job. Smith could easily see some time on the field this week and will likely be fighting for a starting position over the next few weeks.
In an interview Thursday on Blake’s Take, Stokes compared the Mudd Ducks’ offense to that of the University of Oregon. He said they, “run the spread offense and have a prolific passing attack where they throw the ball 70-80 times a game.”
The Rebels may also struggle again with special teams as their kicker and punter, Steve Pulver, won’t be back in town in time to make it to the game. Last week the Stampede really took advantage of his absence and he will certainly be missed again.
The Rebels must win out if they want home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are currently tied for second place in the standings and will have the opportunity to play the only remaining undefeated team, the Utah Shock, here in St. George in the last game of the season.
Keep in mind that the Ironman will also be going on today and will impact traffic. For more info on road closures, click here.
For more REBELS talk from sports commentators Leo Wright and Patrick Black, tune into Blake’s Take Tuesdays from 5-6 p.m. on KZNU Sports Radio – 93.1 FM 1450 AM – or online streaming live on KZNU Sports website www.kznusports.com
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.