RMFL GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Vegas Hawks (1-1) at Zion Lions (0-0, 0-0)
Tonight, 7 p.m., at the Sun Bowl, St. George, UT (The game is the second of a doubleheader. In the first game, the Brigham Sting will play the Vegas Trojans.)
Previous Meeting: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Head Coach: Dale Stott (0-0) (8-2 overall)
Defense: Pro 4-3, Nickel
Last Game: June 28, 2014 — Lost to Wasatch Revolution, 26-21, in 2014 RMFL Championship game
Players to watch: Offensively, the Lions are led by quarterback Misiovala Tupe. He is joined in the backfield by former RMFL rushing champion Sione Tapuosi at fullback and Rimo Mapu at tailback. Also former NFL running back Fahu Tahi is in the mix. Tahi played five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, opening up holes for Adrian Peterson. The veteran receiving corps is led by the returning Tanner Wood and Brennan Adams. Joining them will be newcomers Finau Lomu, Dalton Groskreutz (Snow Canyon) and Kaden Hosner (Pine View). On the defensive end, the line is bookended by Vince Feula and Doug Roberts, two of the team leaders in sacks last year. The linebackers return Andrew Misa and will have the Katoa brothers from Pine View, Isaac and Thor, on the outside. The secondary has Hurricane alum Trey Smith at cornerback.
Trend: This is the first game for the Lions. They finished last season strong despite the disappointing loss in the league championship game. Coach Dale Stott believes that this year’s team has improved on both sides of the ball. Tupe has proven to be very dangerous running the ball and showed marked improvement last year passing as the season progressed. The new additions at the skill positions give him some great options both running and passing the ball.
Coach: Malcolm Ballard (1-1)
Offense: Multiple, mainly I-formation, shotgun
Defense: 4-3 Cover 2
Last Game: March 14, 2014-Beat the Vegas Panthers 28-0.
Players to watch: The Hawk offense is led by quarterback Willie Brisco, a Utah State product. Brisco has passed for over 600 yards in his first two games and is equally dangerous with his legs. He is joined in the backfield by Jeremy Haywood at the scatback position. Haywood is a local high school star in Las Vegas. Brisco’s favorite target is deep threat Ky’Riell Davis. The defense is anchored by middle linebacker Will Postell who played for the CFL’s Winnipeg Bombers and spent two years on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. Assisting him at linebacker is Thomas Bradford, who played for UNLV. In the secondary is Brandon Bowling, a shutdown corner who played collegiately for Texas. On the front line is defensive tackle Justin White, who played at Miami.
Trend: This will be the third game for the Hawks in their first year. After getting beaten soundly in their first contest, they gelled much better last week against the cross-town Panthers. The Hawks are pretty even in their pass/run play calling. They have run a basic 4-3 defense with very little blitzing and a deep cover 2. “We are new but talented,” said Will Postell. “The more experience we get playing together, the better we are going to get. This game will definitely help us grow.”
The Hawks are quick, but will be comparatively very undersized against the beef the Lions will have on the interior on both offense and defense. The Lions are anxious to get back on the field against someone other than who they have been practicing against each week. The Lions lost last year against the Trojans from the same league. But in this game, expect a mismatch in favor of the Lions, especially in experience together as a team. The Lions will win the game up front decisively and usually that is the key to victory as well. The game will not get too out of hand though as Coach Stott usually tries to improve in weak or new areas once his team has the game in hand.
Prediction: Lions 48, Hawks 14
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