Out of the gate

06/18/03 Don Yeager Jr.

Welcome loyal readers to “Out of the Gate,” my weekly article devoted to the defending NIFL Champions, the Ohio Valley Greyhounds.  Upsets all over the place this week, yet the FireAnts were extinguished.

I have to hand it to the team for going on the road and handing out a total butt kicking.  From the stat-line, the game didn’t look like we preformed up to our highest standard, but a look at the scoreboard said something closer to the team holding back.  I see the schedule with Tupelo coming to town in a few weeks.  I am going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction…even if we don’t get it in any other game this season, this will be the game that the ‘Hounds reach the 70 point plateau in…but friends, that is a few weeks away. 

Looking at the past week, there were many surprises throughout the league.  Starting off, the upsets were plenty this weekend.  Fort Wayne, Utah, and Omaha got knocked off and Lake Charles should have been.  Even more surprising, Tennessee, a team we smacked a few weeks ago that has looked really week the last few weeks, ran all over Lexington.  The Horsemen used their quick strike offense, but the ball controlling ‘Hawks ran the clock out on them.  Brandon Walker got 113 yards, and Birdie got 75.  This has got to be the best thing OV has seen all season.  Tennessee’s line isn’t even very good and those two guys went crazy on them.  Admittedly Bonner was Bonner and Yeast played the way he usually does, but they lost.  For a quick stat-pack flash-back, we turn back the clock to OV’s initial meeting with the Horsemen.  Lloyd “Big Dawg” Clemons rushed for a season high 167 yards on a season high 35 carries.  The team in total rushed 47 times for 173 yards.  The translation kids?  Lexington is like a team from the Pacific Conference.  They are very good in the air, but the strategy is score and hold on tight.  The defense is not shabby, I will give them that, but the ‘Hounds got 22 first downs and 312 total offensive yards.  That’s tied for a season high with the 63-12 shellacking we put on Tennessee…yes, we had the same amount of yards in that game.  Add to that the fact that the ‘Hounds have added Rashan Askew and the team’s prospects keep getting better for this weekend.  I do not want to sound cocky or overconfident though.  I will give Lexington their due; they have been there all season and they gave us a great game in Kentucky, but this week’s game is at the OV HomeDome.  We don’t lose at the Kennel.  We’ve won 21 in a row and we don’t plan on starting to lose now.

Here are my picks for this week; Omaha will get back to their winning ways over Wyoming, Sioux City will get knocked around by the Capitols in Lincoln, Show Me will surprise Tennessee, Austin will continue Utah’s woes, the pitiful Night Train will be beat in Bismarck by 40, Fort Wayne will enjoy their trip to the ‘Beach, Evansville will get their first win of the season versus Oklahoma, and of course, OV will beat Lexington…by 15.  The lone upset?  You owe me for this one Jerry, as I take Tupelo over Lake Charles. 

For the playoffs, here are the scenarios I have gotten from looking at the standings.  OV wins and they clinch home-field throughout the playoffs.  Austin and Beaumont not playing this week) are virtually out and will be if they lose.  Houma must hope for a Lexington or Fort Wayne loss.  That’s basically it in the Atlantic.  Omaha has locked up positioning to control the Pacific until the title game.  Lincoln, Sioux City, Utah, Bismarck, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City are left to fight it out for the final few 3 spots in the Pacific.  One will go to a division Champ, which could be Utah, Bismarck, or Sioux Falls.  It will be a tight race to watch over the next few weeks.

The Greyhounds will be efforting to clinch top honors in the league this weekend, and fans should be excited at the opportunity to see what should be an entertaining game.  Also, be sure to check out the phat shiznicks the ‘Hounds will be sporting, as they will be representing the 40th anniversary of the Wheeling Ironmen’s UFL championship wearing throwback jerseys.  Also, 25 fans will receive these jerseys right off the players’ backs following the game.  This is a great idea by the main office as once again the ‘Hounds will be getting fans even closer to the action. 

Well, my time is up.  Questions?  Comments?  Picks?  Anything?  E-mail me at: 

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