ST. GEORGE – Semipro football has taken root pretty well in southern Utah and the Dixie Rebels continue to dish out punishment to the rest of the Rocky Mountain Football League. Even a team called the Mudd Ducks had no chance despite a rainy, cool night at Walt Brooks Stadium.
The Rebels shot out to a 28-6 halftime advantage before coasting to a 42-26 victory against the division rival Rocky Mountain Mudd Ducks.
“(Rocky Mountain) is a relatively new team. They have only been together for a few years,” said Dixie coach Dale Stott. “They have not had the time to gel as our team has. We were able to work on a few things tonight.”
After the Mudd Ducks turned over their initial drive on downs, it took Dixie only two plays to find the end zone. Rebel quarterback Misi Tupe found Brennan Adams for a 59-yard pass play to the Ducks 5-yard line. Running back Rimo Mapu barreled in for the first score. With less than six minutes gone the Dixie lead was 7-0 and a pattern had been established that would last all game long.
On Dixie’s second possession, Tupe drove the Rebels 63 yards, capped off with a strike to wide receiver James Thompson from 24 yards out with 3:10 to go in the first.
Dixie would double their score in the second with two more touchdowns. The first came with 5:19 remaining when backup quarterback Alec Mecham hit fellow Pine View alum Villiami Hafoka for a 41-yard TD.
“We were able to throw the ball more than we normally would,” said Hafoka, who led the team with five receptions. “Our run game is so dominant that, at times, the talent we have passing and receiving gets overlooked.”
Tupe later added to his TD total when he found Dudley Leaupepe from 30 yards with 1:24 to go before halftime.
The Mudd Ducks would get on the board with only seconds remaining when quarterback Ryan Flake found tight end William Elliott for a 6-yard strike.
The Rebels were able to go deep in their bench for the game, playing three different quarterbacks and getting several reps for offensive and defensive backups.
The Mudd Ducks scored first in the second half. Flake found wide receiver Matthew Murray from 17 yards out to pull Rocky Mountain to 28-12.
But the Rebels responded quickly. After a short screen pass, the Rebels rushed seven consecutive times, going 54 yards and culminating in a 5-yard TD run by Sione Tapuosi.
Dixie would strike again early in the fourth with the second Mecham-Hafoka connection, this one good for 15 yards. Early in the fourth, the Rebels lead was 42-12.
The Mudd Ducks would put up 14 more points, the first on a pick-six by the RMFL interception leader Tyler Konesky. Konesky intercepted third-string quarterback AJ Martinez and returned the ball 46 yards.
Rocky Mountain added the final score with a rushing touchdown by Colten Thomas with less than a minute remaining in the game, bringing the final score to 42-26.
Dixie had 488 total yards on offense with 361 coming from the passing game. Tupe completed 4 for 12 passing for 111 yards and two douchdowns. Alex Mecham completed 10 for 18 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Tupe also led the Rebels in rushing with 84 yards on nine carries. Rimo Mapu had 53 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Wide receiver Brennan Adams had 107 yards on three receptions. Hafoka had 87 yards receiving. Leaupepe had 79 yards receiving on two receptions.
The defense held the Mudd Ducks to 176 yards. RMFL sack leader Jordan Mains added three more sacks, bringing his season total to seven. Shawn Mitchell got his third interception of the year.
The Rebels remain undefeated at 4-0. The Mudd Ducks fall to 1-3. The Rebels travel north next week to take on defending RMFL champions Utah Stealth, winners tonight over the Utah Shock 37-30. The Mudd Ducks will travel to Logan to face the Stampede, who defeated Arco tonight 33-14.
Stats: S_P RockyDixStats
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