The War Between the Walls #13

06/05/03 Josh Stein

Now let’s look at this objectively.  The first time I talk about a certain player (no names here Marquette Smith) that signs on with a team, that player’s team gets whipped 59-6.  Well, now we know LaCrosse isn’t a good team…is it the coaching?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that there are 22 teams battling it out this week for bragging rights…for at least a week.  Myrtle Beach is actually playing a weekend game at home.  Fallen apart Beaumont is playing at the Believers, where they need a win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

With it getting down to the near-end of the season, where everyone’s played roughly the same number of games, it’s now an appropriate time to take the NIFL ratings as provided by Ohio High School Sports more seriously.  Maybe even up to the level of what the guy in the bar who drank a keg himself had to say…woohoo

Team Points
1) Ohio Valley 8.11
2) Utah 8.06
3) Omaha 7.30
4) Houma 7.24
5) Lake Charles 7.24
6) Bismarck 5.97
7) Lexington 5.87
8) Rapid City 5.82
9) Sioux Falls 5.77
10) Lincoln 5.46
11) Billings 5.05
12) Fort Wayne 4.95
13) Austin 4.90
14) Sioux City 4.49
15) Beaumont 4.39
16) Wyoming 3.88
17) Tennessee 3.21
18) Show Me 2.86
19) LaCrosse 2.70
20) Myrtle Beach 2.65
21) Tri-City 2.55
22) Tupelo 1.02
23) Oklahoma 0.77
24) Evansville 0.00

Those Greyhounds have a visitor right behind them, and worse yet, their visitor doesn’t have two wins against a winless foe (remember, you get points for teams you beat getting wins).

Even with there only being five weeks left, there’s plenty to be decided in the football world, as to playoff spots and pairings and everything else.  No one has clinched a playoff spot yet.  Let’s look at the eleven games that will help us determine one of those said playoff spots.


(5-6) Billings Outlaws @ (6-5) Rapid City Red Dogs

Let’s see here…how can these two teams make the playoffs?  Win out and ask for some help.  More help for the Outlaws…as teams would have to lose twice (a number of them) for Billings to sniff the postseason.  They can do it, as parity rules in the Pacific.  It might be too little, too late, but Albert Higgs is really starting to catch fire, throwing more touchdowns and less of the interceptions that have killed him in the past.  Rapid City’s offense has been fairly strong all year, but their defense is starting to hurt them.  The season’s turmoil (no paychecks, new ownership, etc…) is showing it’s ugly head up in the Black Hills.  Billings comes in and shows theirs.  Outlaws by 10.

(8-1) Utah Warriors @ (6-4) Sioux Falls Storm

With looking at the previous meeting in Utah, a waxing by the Warriors, you might be asking why this game gets five stars.  Well, Sioux Falls signed this running back Andy Traetow, and he’s the real deal, he can get the team back on track, and…oh, yeah.  Ryan Aulenbacher was also signed.  Now that the Storm has an offense that has two very good cogs (to go with pretty good receivers), and a defense that just needed some help from that offense, we have some trouble in Tornado Alley.  Big trouble.  The Storm end the season with four home games (none of them that easy), and they’re in if they win out.  Aulenbacher might still be bummed out from that joke in Green Bay (AF2’s Blizzard), but some of those frustrations will go away once he remembers where he’s at.  Storm win a HUGE one by 10.


(8-2) Lake Charles Landsharks @ (6-4) Austin Rockers

How do they rate?  I keep making fun of them and everything.  Well, it’s no secret, Austin has awful turf.  But, they’re starting to do a little bit on the road (yeah, yeah, it was Oklahoma…at this stage, a win’s a win).  But, they’re at home.  Lake Charles comes in ready to try a new quarterback…we think.  Will Freddie Harrison stay?  Or will Johnny Johnson get the start?  Lake Charles’ defense is pretty good, but everyone said the same about Utah when Austin put 70 up on ‘em here.  The only difference in this game?  Lake Charles doesn’t have the offense to put 91 up.  It’ll be another barnburner, and with it comes a suggestion.  Austin staff, I know at least one of you read this article.  You really should try to go to a local Wal-Mart or something and show tape of some of those barnburners at the door…I know scores like 91-70, even if a loss, would get my attention.  Welcome to upset land in the NIFL.  Knights keep the hopes alive, this one by 9.

(4-7) Wyoming Cavalry @ (6-4) Bismarck Roughriders

Sorry Cavs fans, your defense still stinks.  Luckily, so does Bismarck’s.  Matt Strand appears healthy, and Chris Schwab has been all year.  This game has ALL the makings of one of those 79-76 type barnburners.  And if need be, both teams have quality run games.  So, what does this one come down to?  Home field advantage.  Bismarck has it, and they’re good with it.  Put them down for a 10 point win where both teams hit 60 or more.

Why does it always happen that the touchdown watch goes after a Pacific Conference game?  They have the high-flying offense, where the Atlantic has more of a defensive presence.  Here it is.

Name Team GP TD maxGP Pace
Chris Schwab Bismarck 9 60 13 87
Danny Ragsdale Utah 9 50 14 78
Dusty Bonner Lexington 9 41 14 64
Albert Higgs Billings 11 42 14 53
Matt Strand Wyoming 10 37 13 48
Antoine Taylor Fort Wayne 7 27 12 46


(4-5) Tennessee Riverhawks @ (6-3) Fort Wayne Freedom

Fort Wayne is one game out of a playoff spot, running toward a home-and-home with the team they’re one game behind, Lexington.  Tennessee beat the Freedom in Knoxville (in front of less fans than the combined score of some Pacific Conference games).  Sorry, this Freedom team is for real, and that won’t happen again.  Fort Wayne by 14.

(6-5) Lincoln Capitols @ (3-8) Tri-City Diesel

On again, off again.  You know a team is inconsistent when they lose to someone 81-14 and then lose to them just two weeks later 54-52.  I don’t care where the games were, Tri-City is inconsistent.  Lincoln is becoming quite consistent, after whipping the Believers.  Diesel fans have something to look forward to.  Their old QB (Justin Coleman) is a Capitol.  He shows the home faithful why they lost a lot when he left, as the Caps win by 14.


(5-5) Beaumont Drillers @ (3-7) Show Me Believers

The meteoric fall of Beaumont continues this week…they have nothing left in the tank, as they just keep getting smacked around and around.  Show Me gives the fans something to come back next year for, as they beat Beaumont by at least 20.

(8-3) Houma Bayou Bucks @ (1-9) Oklahoma Crude

Sorry Crude fans, this isn’t Tupelo…and Houma has a better defense than to let you get ahead of them like they let Myrtle Beach.  The Crude have to start thinking about next year, if there is one.  Bucks by 18.

(3-8) LaCrosse Night Train @ (8-2) Omaha Beef

They’re finally not taking anyone for granted…at home, at least.  Even with Marquette Smith, the Train have fallen WAY off their tracks.  Maybe next year?  The Beef beat the snot out of the hapless Night Train (could they beat Tupelo?) by 31. 

(7-2) Lexington Horsemen @ (0-10) Evansville Bluecats

The Battle of I-64 takes some other weird turns…like saying I-64 never really hits Evansville (it’s I-164, but that connects to I-64, too).  Evansville plays on a very small 42 yard field with small end zones.  The crowd will still come in some capacity, but this team hasn’t played very well at all recently.  Poor Akili Roberson and Mike Cosey, two of those guys who just can’t get anything right (and what’s sad is, they’ve been playing indoor football since 1999, when they were in Topeka).  Horsemen by 20.

*  EEK!

(9-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds @ (3-6) Myrtle Beach Stingrays

MB held serve against Houma at home a little while ago.  Houma lacks a good offense.  Ohio Valley doesn’t.  Yeah, right, they have a chance?  Greyhounds move to 10-0 with a dominating 30 point win.

This article is dedicated to those who have lost loved ones at any time in their life.  I know how tough it is, and it takes a lot out of those who have lost, especially ones who have recently been lost.  Jerry, Hammerhead, Chaslong, and any others who have lost and don’t care to discuss it on the NIFL message board…my thoughts and prayers are with you all, as are the thoughts and prayers of every other person that reads this article and read the message boards.  This is the War Between the Walls.  Don’t miss a single snap.

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