ST. GEORGE – Superman took off his cape and put on a football uniform Saturday night. He wore Misi Tupe’s No. 2 jersey.
Tupe only played two and a half quarters, but in that time he completed 13 of 18 passes for 376 yards. Seven of those 13 completions were for touchdowns. His play helped the Zion Lions beat the visiting Davis Vipers 45-13 in Rpocky Mountain Football League action in the Dixie Sunbowl.
“Tupe has really put in the work this offseason,” said Lions head coach Dale Stott. “We have simplified his reads. And he has shredded opposing defenses all year.”
To put tonight’s performance in perspective, Tupe nearly achieved the maximum rating a quarterback can score for a game — 153.935 (158.3 is the maximum). To achieve the maximum, quarterbacks have to complete 77.5 percent of their passes (Tupe completed 72.2 percent), achieve an average of 12.5 yards per attempt (Tupe averaged 20.9), achieve a percentage of 11.9 for touchdown percentage (Tupe’s percentage was 38.9) and go without an interception (he was not intercepted).
By the way, Tupe also led the team in rushing. He carried the ball five times for 73 yards.
Tupe’s only miscue was a fumble in the first quarter while reaching the ball out trying to cross the goal line.
He was sharp all night, especially with the deep ball. On the Lions first possession Tupe, drove the ball 69 yards, with a big chunk of that coming on his 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brennan Adams. With 6:38 to go in the first Zion led 7-0.
In Zion’s first possession of the second quarter, Tupe found wide receiver Tanner Wood on an option pass from 24 yards out for touchdown number two. The Vipers blocked Rob Nadalsky’s PAT to keep the score at 13-0.
Less than two minutes later, Tupe found wide receiver Dalton Groskreutz from 43 yards out. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Zion led 19-0 with 7:47 remaining in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Vipers returned the ball for 40 yards. On their next play from scrimmage, quarterback Schuyler Sherwood scrambled for 48 yards before having the ball knocked loose. The Lions took over at their 15-yard line. Once again, Tupe found Groskreutz for an 85-yard catch and run. With only 22 seconds expired in the second, Tupe had added touchdown number four at the 7:25 mark.
After a Viper punt, Tupe drove the offense 57 yards on five plays, culminating with a 7-yard pass to Michael Matalolo. With 4:11 to play, the lead had climbed to 33-0.
After the Vipers turned the ball over on downs, Tupe directed the offense 61 yards in just three plays. Fifty-nine of those came on a pass to Adams. As Adams reached for the pass he was hit by a defender. The ball popped out and into the hands of Vili Hafoka. Hafoka caught the ball and ran out of bounds at the 2-yard line. Tupe then found Wood for the sixth touchdown of the night to give Zion a 39-0 lead.
The Vipers got on the board just before halftime. Sherwood completed three passes for 52 yards and scrambled for 16 more. The touchdown came on a 6-yard slant to wide receiver Gary Green. The extra point put the halftime score at 39-7.
“My defense was mad at me for leaving in our reserves on their scoring drives,” said Stott. “They have not been scored on this year prior to tonight. But in situations where the game is out of reach, you need to not only develop players, but reward those who put in the time at practice but rarely see action.”
Tupe would see one more series in the second half. Touchdown number seven went to Groskreutz again, this one for 16 yards. The lead was 45-7 midway through the third quarter.
Stott substituted nearly all of his starters by midway through the third. “We were short-handed on our offensive line,” said Stott. “So that unit played the whole game.”
The offensive line did not allow a sack and opened up holes in the running game most of the night.
“They gave Tupe free reign in the back field,” said Stott. “And our ball carriers averaged six yards per carry tonight. That tells you how well our O-line performed.”
The Vipers added a touchdown in the fourth. Sherwood found wide receiver Sage Stireman on an 11-yard slant. The failed two-point conversion kept the finals score at 45-13.
Individually, Hafoka had six receptions for 160 yards. Groskreutz had four receptions for 160 yards. Matalolo rushed 14 times for 64 yards. Tailback Sione Tapuosi rushed 12 times for 51 yards.
For the Vipers, Sherwood completed 14 of 28 passes for 128 yards. Sherwood also led the Vipers in rushing with 48 yards on 13 carries. Brendon Aruchlete had five catches for 57 yards. Chris Smart caught four passes for 30 yards.
The Vipers drop to 1-1 in the RMFL. The Lions improve to 3-0. Next week the Lions will host the RMFL reigning champions, Wasatch Revolution. The Revolution beat the Dixie Rebels (Zion Lions) last year in the championship game.
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