ST. GEORGE – The Dixie Rebels (6-1) will host the Utah Shock (6-0) today at Dixie High School with a kickoff time of 7 p.m. This game has turned out to be the most critical game of the regular season. The winner of this game will earn the top seed in the playoffs, which means a bye the first week of the playoffs and home field advantage in the semifinals and in the Rocky Mountain Football League Championship Game. Due to the significance of the game, the Rebels are hoping for a huge crowd and are calling for a blackout from their fans.
If the Rebels lose on Saturday they will still get home-field advantage in their first game, but it will almost certainly be as the fourth seed. A Rebel loss would probably leave the Rebels, Treasure Valley Spartans, and Utah Valley Stealth, with two losses each. The three-way tie makes it so that head-to-head doesn’t get you anywhere – as the Spartans beat the Rebels, the Rebels beat the Stealth, and the Stealth beat the Spartans. In the RMFL, the next tie breaker is points-per-game allowed. Based on the current season statistics that means the seeding would likely be the Stealth number two since they will likely have allowed the fewest points among these three; and since the Rebels will probably have allowed the most points out of these three teams they’ll likely be seeded fourth. However, all of this will be avoided if the Rebels beat the Shock on Saturday to secure the number one seed.
The Shock are an incredibly talented team. First of all they are the only undefeated team left in the RMFL. Second, statistically they have the best offense in the RMFL. Their offense is led by quarterback Jordan Kjar who leads the league in quarterback rating. Jess Peterson, RMFL Head of Officials, joined Blake’s Take radio on Thursday and told the audience that Kjar is the most athletic quarterback in the league. Not only is he an incredible passer, but Peterson mentioned that Kjar will also rack up a bunch of yards with his feet. Currently Kjar has the second most rushing yards in the league.
Their team owner, Kyto Khouangrasvongsay, is also an incredible defensive player and leads the league in interceptions as he averages almost one interception per game.
The Shock are essentially playing with the same roster that they played with last year, yet for some reason they are playing at a significantly higher level than they did last year. The Shock certainly have the drive to win today as a large percentage of their players, including owner Khouangrasvongsay, are planning on retiring at the end of the season.
The Rebels had been getting plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season, until their last game against the Stealth, who had an incredible offensive line. The Shock’s offensive line is not as strong as the Stealth’s which is good, because in order for the Rebels to get a victory they will have to make Kjar uncomfortable. Currently Wayne Alofipo leads the league in sacks and Vince Feula comes in fifth. The Rebels also have five of the top ten players in the league in terms of tackles for a loss so there is no excuse for a lack of pressure on Kjar.
Another key element that will have to change for the Rebels to beat the Shock is their offensive production. Last week they only scored 17 points against the Stealth and it was enough to win, but 17 points will not be enough to beat the Shock. With Diarra Fields out and Andy Stokes far from 100 percent, the Stealth played man-coverage on the Rebels’ receivers in order to stack the box against the run. It was very effective as it held the Rebels to only one offensive touchdown. The Shock are also likely to stack the box against the Rebels, so they are going to have to either push the single coverage on the receivers with some deep completions to guys like Brennan Adams and Dallas Irvin, or their running backs are going to have to find a way to be more efficient. This is certainly a possibility as the Rebels unquestionably have the best core of running backs in the league with Sione Tapuosi, Kyle Coop, Stephan Cook, Misi Tupe, and Dallas Irvin.
If you miss the game, be sure to tune into Blake’s Take Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. to hear sports commentators Patrick Black and Leo Wright break down the action from the game 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.