The Edge

04/23/03 Coach John Bronkhorst

This week I decided to take a step on the wild side, the wild Pacific West that is.  This week Sioux Falls Storm (3-2) travels to the land of the bee and take on the Utah Warriors (4-1) in this very important Pacific West Showdown.

OFFENSE

Sioux Falls: 

This offense is averaging 37.6 yards/game

QB Ryan Johnson is completing 54.2% of his passes.  He has a QB rating of 99.34.  He has thrown for 648 yards with 10 TD’s and 6 INT’s.

Johnson has carried the football 44 times for 179 yards and 6TD’s. 

He accounts for 819 yards of total offense – which is almost 75% of his teams’ total offensive output.  His favorite targets are:

Corey Walker – 18 rec. 193 yards 3 TD’s

Matt Holmlund – 16 rec. 207 yards 2 TD’s

Casey Veenhof – 13 rec. 139 yards 3 TD’s

Their running game is made up primarily by RB Justin Bivins, who has carried the ball 63 times for 259 yards and 6 TD’s.  Bivins is averaging a respectable 4.0 yds/carry.

This team has struggled in the 4th quarter, where most games in the NIFL are decided.  The Storm have been outscored 71-40 in the deciding quarter. 

Johnson is the point man for the Storms offense.  The 2 losses they have this season, Johnson has completed less than 50% of his passes and has thrown for less than a 100 yards.

I know this team is 3-2 and just a game and a half out of 1st in the West, but if they don’t start balancing out the offense and getting more people involved, I just don’t see how this team can compete week in and week out in this division.  They are not explosive enough on offense and Johnson is just an average Quarterback at best, in my opinion, he is not someone who can put a team on his back and win a Conference Championship

Utah:

This offense averages an astounding 52.0 pts/game.  The name of the game in Warrior Territory is Offense, Offense and more Offense.

Danny Ragsdale leads this explosive attack and is essentially The Offense.  He has completed an outstanding 70.7% of his passes.  Has a QB rating of 113.11 He has thrown for 919 yds with 19 TD’s and only 4 INT’s.  He is also the 2nd leading rusher on the team with 14 carries for 63 yards.

His favorite targets are:

Cory Grow – 26 rec. 289 yds. 5 TD’s

Jason Quinn – 19 rec. 237 yds. 7 TD’s

Eugene Mirabar – 16 rec. 139 yds. 2 TD’s

Emmitt White – 13 rec. 145 yds. 3 TD’s

Of the teams 1109 total yards, Ragsdale accounts for 997 yards of total offense, which is just over 90% of the Warriors total offense.

The running game is handled by Omar Bacon, he assumes the role of token running back in this pass happy offense.  He has carried the ball 29 times for 97 yards and 6 TD’s. 

If you are going to jump on this team, do it in the 1st or 3rd Quarters.  This team is notorious for slow starts, but when it warms up, watch out, they have outscored their opponents 97-34 in the 2nd Quarter.

Sioux Falls and Utah are very similar in the fact that their QB’s are their offense.  However, that is where the similarities stop. Ragsdale is the type of QB who can carry a team on his shoulders and win consistently.  Johnson is not.  If you are a Warriors fan, the only concern you might have is, will Ragsdale be around the entire season?  Rumors have been circulating over the past couple of weeks that Ragsdale is being courted by a certain other league that plays football indoors.  Will this be a distraction for this team?  It’s a wait and see proposition.

FAVORITE 

UTAH – Too much Offensive firepower and too much Ragsdale!!

DEFENSE

Sioux Falls:

This unit surrenders a respectable 33.6 points per game.

Team is led in tackles by:

Shaun Poppinga – 23 Total Tackles

Nate Fluitt – 21 Total Tackles

Kendric Shaver – 20 Total Tackles

This team is stingy against the run, only allowing 49.6 yds/game.  It surrenders 152.2 yds/game thru the air, which explains why 2 of the teams’ top 3 tacklers are DB’s.  When you are surrendering that many yards per game thru the air, your DB’s are going to have a lot of tackles. 

Unfortunately, Sioux Falls is playing a team that does nothing but throw the football. 

DL Wes Chubb and DB’s Bobby Perkins and Mark Blackburn lead the team in INT’s with 2 a piece.  What does it say about your defense, when a DL is leading your team in INT’s?

In their 2 losses this year, the Storm’s Red Zone defense has been horrible.  Against Rapid City, the Red Dogs were inside the Storm 20 6 times and came away with 3 TD’s and 1 FG.  Against Bismarck, they were inside the Storm 20 5 times and scored 5 TD’s.  Not effective defense.

If this defense can somehow, either by playing tough man or somehow confusing Ragsdale with some Zone schemes, they will be successful.  They won’t shut Ragsdale down, but if they can contain his down field passing and limit him to underneath stuff, they find themselves in this ball game late.

Utah:

The Warriors give up a whopping 42.5 pts/game.

The team is led in tackles by:

Rob Love – 22 Total Tackles

Shawn Kojima – 21 Total Tackles

It surrenders 63.8 yds/game on the ground and 152.8 yds/game thru the air. 

The defense is the polar opposite of its offense.  This is a leaky vessel.  Lucky for them, they play a non-explosive offense in Sioux Falls. 

Dee McCormick, 3 INT’s, Garrett White and Trevor Bell, 2 INT’s apiece, lead the defense in picks.

If Sioux Falls can move the ball and get inside the Warrior Red Zone, they are almost certain to come away with some points.  No matter if it’s in Utah’s wins or its loss, they can’t stop anyone inside the 20.  They have allowed 19 TD’s and 3 FG’s in 30 trips inside the 20.  Last week, Rapid City was an incredible 8 for 8 inside the red zone.  The good thing for the Warriors is that all they have to do is contain Johnson and they won’t have any trouble. 

FAVORITE

Utah – Sioux Falls offense is just what the doctor ordered for this defense. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Sioux Falls

Return Game:  Bobby Perkins is a very good return man.  He is averaging 16.1 yds/return and has amassed 242 yards in returns.

Kicking Game:  Adam Hicks is 41.7% in FG attempts this season, but has been outstanding from the 40-49 yard range, he is 4-5.  He has made 20-22 PAT’s.

Utah

Return Game:  Trevor Bell is also a very good return man.  He sets up the offense with his 17.6 yds/returns.  He has 9 returns for 158 yards.

Kicking Game:  Pete Garces has only attempted 6 FG’s and is 50% in those, 3-6.  He is 15-20 in his PAT’s.

FAVORITE

Sioux Falls - I think their return game will help them offensively and their kicker is better.

Utah Warriors - 54
Sioux Falls Storm - 38

Utah has too much offense for Sioux Falls to handle


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