ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOOTBALL LEAGUE GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Wasatch REVolution (9-1, 9-1) at Zion Lions (11-0, 10-0)
Tonight, 8 p.m., at Stewart Stadium (Weber State) in Ogden
Previous Meeting: Zion 27, Wasatch 21, in their only meeting this season April 11, 2015. After a high-scoring first half, the defenses dominate the second. Misi Tupe had 314 yards of total offense. The Rev’s Charlie Peterson has probably his worst game of the year, completing only 15 of 34 passes. Bryant Eteuati caught seven passes for 142 yards. Dalton Groskreutz caught six passes for 98 yards. Sione Tapuosi led all rushers with 80 yards on 15 carries.
Head Coach: Dale Stott (11-0, 19-2 overall)
Defense: Pro 4-3, Nickel
Last Game: Beat the Idaho Mustangs 40-0 in the RMFL Semifinals
Players to watch: Before this season, the key to stopping the team from St George was to crowd the box and force Misi Tupe to pass the ball. This year, teams have been scorched with Tupe’s arm. He has completed 52 percent of his passes for 219 yards per game for a quarterback rating of 103. He also led the league in rushing with 610 yards. The league awards are to be announced at halftime of the all-star game to be played prior to the championship. Look for Tupe to add RMFL MVP to his trophy box. His cadre of receivers, Josh Ford, Dalton Groskreutz, Tanner Wood, Brennan Adams and Viliami Hafoka, can all separate, catch and gain yardage. Sione “Rambo” Tapuosi (587 yards) leads the league in rushing at running back. Matt Feula has seen a lot of action at running back the past two games. The Lion defense has held opponents to 11 points per game. That has stiffened more in the playoffs as the Lions are outscoring opponents 35-3. Doug Roberts and Vince Feula are the best DE combo in the league. Joe Feula anchors at noseguard. Kaleo Teriipaia, Andrew Misa and Isaac Katoa will start at linebacker. Ryne Wall, Brandon “Smashmouth” Thompson, Trey Smith and Dom Vargas comprise the league’s best secondary.
Trend: Last week, the Lions did not get much of a test from the Mustangs. But what other team in the league can prepare the Lions for the REV? That being said, the Lions are in good shape both physically (only one serious injury all year when running back Rimo Mapu sustained season ending broken leg in opening game) and mentally (the Lions have decreased steadily in penalties and turnovers). The Lions led the league on both sides of the ball. While it has been a work in progress for the offense, the defense has shown continual domination from day one. While Tupe can take much of the credit for his play this year, some credit must be given to the offensive line. The starters are Logan Stott (RG), Leon Wade (RG), Trevor Stott (C), Russell Hunt (LG), and K.J. Piula (LT). The line did give up a sack against the Mustangs —because Tupe held the ball for about 15 seconds. Otherwise, the line has played flawlessly in the playoffs, in both the pass and run attacks.
Coach: Jeremy Williams (9-1)
Last Game: Beat the Laurel Loco Express 29-14 in the RMFL Semifinals
Players to watch: Quarterback Charlie Peterson was the RMFL MVP last year and for good reason. The man can play. He again leads the league this year in quarterback rating at 119. He has completed 64% of his passes for 226 yards per game. Bryant Eteuati (40 catches, 517 yards) and Joe Mapson (31 catches, 578 yards) are in the top five in league receiving. Zach Gurts (49 carries, 301 yards) leads the team in rushing. On defense, linebackers Ian Eyre (52), Don Johnson (35) and Jeremy Hendrickson (30) lead the team in tackles. Defensive tackle Dustin Reid anchors the line. Defensive back Angel Castillo (3) and Harold Regin (2) lead the team in interceptions.
Trend: Peterson did not have quite the success against the Lion defense that he has imposed on all of the other teams. The REV also did not play remarkably last week against Laurel. But they always show up against the Lions. The teams have split the last four games, but the REV have won the two that counted. They won last year in the season to take the No. 1-seed in the playoffs, then took advantage by hosting the RMFL Championship when they won again. This year, the Lions won and it was clear that the REV defense is not the same without Misi’s brother, Levine.
The two best teams in the league. The two best offenses. Two of the top three defenses. The two best quarterbacks. The two best receiving corps. These two teams deserve to be here and will give the fans a very exciting game. In the earlier season match-up, the game was not decided until late in the game, when Peterson threw four straight incompletions to turn the ball over on downs in the Lion red zone. Expect the game tonight to have similar nerve-wracking suspense all the way to the end. “The key to our win earlier in the season, and it still holds true for today’s game, is pressuring Charlie Peterson,” said Lions head coach Dale Stott. “We kept pressure on him for the entire game. And if you don’t do that, he will pick you apart.”
Prediction: While these are the two best teams, there has clearly been one that has edged the other. Not only did the Lions win the season match-up, but they have dominated all other teams, usually pulling their starters after the initial series of the second half. The REV is the only team that kept the Lions starters on the field for the whole game. The Lions would have dominated in every statistical category had they played their starters the entire game and not had an opposing team forfeit a game. Coach Stott was emphat: “We are going to win.” The Lions bring home the RMFL Championship tonight. Lions 28, REV 21.
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