Dixie Rebels victory over Brigham Sting convincing, but could prove costly

BRIGHAM CITY – It was a victory, a convincing victory, but came at a high cost.

The Dixie Rebels traveled to Brigham City to take on the Brigham Sting and came away with a hard-fought 31-3 victory to advance to the Rocky Mountain Football League Championship game. They will take on the Wasatch Revolution, which held off the Utah Stealth to win their semifinal in an earlier game 20-17. But the Rebels will do so without league rushing leader and MVP contender Misi Tupe. Tupe was ejected in the third quarter for an alleged punch thrown at a Sting defender.

H6SN_Dixie_Rebels_Semi_ProSting_logo_large“We had been decimating their defense all night,” said Rebels head coach Dale Stott. “They were certainly not used to it and started to get a little chippy, throwing late hits and even stomping on one of our players earlier in the game. Grown men are eventually going to react to that type of play if the officials let it get out of hand, which unfortunately was the case tonight. On the play that Misi (Tupe) was ejected, he was gang-tackled by three defenders and one roughly ripped his helmet off his head. There were words exchanged and one of the defenders got in his face and Misi reacted. What I saw was a push to the helmet but two out of the four officials believed it was a punch, so he was ejected.”

In a quirky game for the Rebel offense, Dixie’s two rushing touchdowns were scored by receivers. Tanner Wood scored first on a 10-yard reverse to put the Rebels in front 7-0. After an Eric Brooksby field goal at the beginning of the second quarter, Wood tacked on another touchdown, this time through the air as he hauled in Tupe’s pass from 39 yards out.

Tupe then connected with Brennan Adams for a 52-yard bomb just before the break, giving the Rebels a healthy 24-0 cushion. The second rushing touchdown was a one-yard plunge by tight end Jordan Loo. Those points would be the Rebels last coming with 10:25 to go in the third quarter.

“Misi was having his best game of the year,” said Stott. “His passing accuracy has improved and he was punishing their defense on big plays when they were putting nine players in the box.”

Rebels quarterback Misi Tupe fires a pass, Utah Cobras at Dixie Rebels, St. George, Utah, May 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News
Rebels quarterback Misi Tupe fires a pass, Utah Cobras at Dixie Rebels, St. George, Utah, May 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

Shortly after the last touchdown, Tupe was ejected. From that point both teams coughed up the ball either on turnovers or on downs until the Sting scored a meaningless field goal with just under two minutes to play in the game.

The Sting defense had been stingy all year, holding teams to 10 points per game. The Polynesian trio of Tupe, Rimo Mapu and Sione Tapuosi was in full throttle, carrying the ball 28 times for 214 yards. Tupe added 286 yards and two touchdowns passing to his totals, finding five different receivers.

Similarly, the Sting offense had been averaging 25 points and 250 yards per game. The Rebels defense held them to 148 yards and only three points on a late field goal against Dixie’s backups.

“I know that we frustrated them both offensively and defensively,” said Stott. Stott plans on appealing the ejection and ruling to hold Tupe out of the championship game.

“He is probably the league MVP and we have the two best teams whose only losses have been to each other,” said Stott. “When not even the entire officiating crew could agree that it was a punch, the decision to eject Tupe became arbitrary and capricious. But to then punish the team based on that arbitrary decision for the championship game not only hurts our team, but the league itself. Can you imagine Peyton Manning being held out of the Super Bowl for a similar reaction?”

Stats: rebsting52114

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Karma June 22, 2014 at 1:02 am

    A team player wouldn’t have reacted like that when you are 31 points ahead!! Don’t compare him to Peyton Manning. Manning has so much more class and he cares about the team as a whole and what they do as a team. Anyone one can build their stats when they throw interceptons and run the ball themselves. You need to recognize that you have a successful team with or with out Tupe. It takes more then one person to make a team.

    • Ansel C June 23, 2014 at 11:37 am

      I think if you knew the player you would realize he has a lot of class. And I don’t believe he was comparing the two players, but the two situations. But if he threw a punch–I think the league should let the ejection stand. Surely there is game film that will show who did what.

  • momma D June 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    If seems as if the officals have had it out for Our Dixie Rebels all season, not making calls that are clear to even the people in the stands, calling a one sided game. Im not sure where we are getting these refs from but maybe we should ask for new ones for the championship game, And kicking Tupe out of the game and saying he cant play the championship game, all that tells me is the refs want the Wasatch to take the title. Stout has done an awesome job this year along with the other coaches and the veterans on the team, to bring our young players up to and past college level, Lets end this season on true morals and passion and let the MVP of the year play the Championship game. On a good note I am so proud of the Rebels and the Heart and Passion they play with. Love Ya Momma D

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