The War Between the Walls #15

06/20/03 Josh Stein

Story of the week:  One week ago, four teams had two losses on the season.  Now, only one team has two losses on the season.  Yep, Omaha, Utah and Lexington all went down.  What does this mean for the NIFL?  Sure, Lake Charles still only has two losses, but if the Ohio Valley Greyhounds win this week, they will have home field advantage throughout the NIFL playoffs.

Does that mean the Greyhounds are the NIFL’s best team?  I’ll leave the playoffs to decide.  Until then, here’s the way the league would look if it were Ohio high school football:

Team Points
1) Ohio Valley 10.15
2) Lake Charles 9.49
3) Houma 8.67
4) Omaha 8.47
5) Utah 8.47
6) Bismarck 8.32
7) Sioux Falls 8.16
8) Rapid City 7.14
9) Lexington 6.84
10) Lincoln 6.58
11) Billings 6.38
12) Fort Wayne 6.12
13) Sioux City 5.82
14) Beaumont 5.31
15) Austin 5.05
16) Tennessee 4.44
17) Wyoming 4.08
18) Show Me 3.98
19) LaCrosse 3.72
20) Myrtle Beach 3.42
21) Tri-City 2.65
22) Oklahoma 1.94
23) Tupelo 1.12
24) Evansville 0.00

At least they have good cheerleaders…

The season is winding down, and there are many teams out of the picture…of course, some of those can still ruin it for others.

***** THESE ARE GOOD GAMES

(6-6) Sioux City Bandits @ (7-5) Lincoln Capitols

Last time these two faced, it was a 20-0 shutout victory for Lincoln.  This time won’t be the same, because Sioux City has more motivation.  Payback for the shutout PLUS the fact that if they win, they have just played spoiler and Lincoln is probably out of the playoff picture.  It will be a hard-fought game between two strong defenses, but the home team will come out on top, in front of a crowd that is getting increasingly raucous.  Caps by 10.

(8-3) Lexington Horsemen @ (11-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds
It’s Ironmen Throwback Night in Wheeling!  Last time the Greyhounds honored the Wheeling Ironmen of the 1950’s-1960’s, they won a division title.  That was 2001, the last home game, against the Johnstown J-Dogs.  This time, they can win home field advantage throughout the playoffs, with the Ironmen jerseys and the Ironmen players in attendance.  Sure, they’re going to let anyone, even a good team like Lexington, beat them.  In the words of, well, me…NO.  Hounds by 21.

****  IMPORTANT GAMES

(9-3) Omaha Beef @ (4-8) Wyoming Cavalry

Oh how the mighty have fallen.  Yeesh.  Wyoming was looking strong, and now they’re WAY out of the playoff picture.  Better yet, they’ve demanded different referees for this game, or they won’t take the field.  And Omaha is coming off a loss.  Perfect time to get side-swiped when you’re not expecting it.  Wyoming still has a good offense, and Omaha’s offense has been questionable at times.  Third graders can score on Wyoming’s defense, but it’s time to show the fans that they’ve got something left in the tank.  I think Wyoming BIG but I say Wyoming by 10.

** DROPOFF TIME

(4-9) LaCrosse Night Train @ (8-4) Bismarck Roughriders

A week ago, LaCrosse showed the league that they had something in the tank, and that it was enough to blow out Tri-City.  They showed that they are gobs and gobs better than they have ever been before (of course, when you are 3-25 in two years, that’s not hard to do).  But, they used up everything to get the home crowd excited about 2004.  Bismarck is going for the playoffs, and Chris Schwab and the gang will have a field day on an emotionally depleted LaCrosse defense.  Riders by 19.

Chris Schwab leads this list.  So let’s look at the Touchdown Watch.

Name Team GP TD MaxGP Pace
Chris Schwab Bismarck 11 75 13 89
Danny Ragsdale Utah 11 55 14 70
Dusty Bonner Lexington 10 48 14 67
Albert Higgs Billings 13 50 14 54
Matt Strand Wyoming 11 41 13 48

(7-4) Fort Wayne Freedom @ (4-7) Myrtle Beach Stingrays

Myrtle Beach plays teams tough at home, so this game should be higher, probably.  But the games in Myrtle Beach are so ugly to look at, even from the stats, that they can’t be fun to watch.  With that said, this game will be close throughout.  Myrtle Beach is much better than they were to start the year, and Fort Wayne is coming off a tough loss.  Antoine Taylor comes back from injury to lead the offense that was performing just fine (if not better) without him.  That’s never good on a team’s timing.  Myrtle Beach rides the uncertainty and the fact that Myrtle Beach has a few vices to keep people unfocused to deal a huge blow to the Freedom’s playoff hopes.  Beach by 10.

* NEVER HAVE THERE BEEN SO MANY CLUNKERS

(10-2) Lake Charles Landsharks @ (1-10) Tupelo Fireants

For having the best logo and possibly best uniform in the NIFL, the Tupelo Fireants suck.  They can’t get anything right, as they have a worse roster in a year where the NIFL is better than a year ago.  Lake Charles is on a run to do well in the playoffs this year, and they will win by 30.

(4-8) Show Me Believers @ (5-7) Tennessee Riverhawks

Yawn.  The Believers aren’t that exciting, and the Riverhawks offense is run run run…boring, but can be effective.  If it’s not effective, the Hawks passing game is useless.  Show Me’s defense has had issues, but they’re starting to play better as a team overall.  I see them winning by 6 in a snooze-fest.

(6-6) Austin Rockers @ (8-3) Utah Warriors

Sorry, Austin fans (the GM).  Your team just isn’t that good.  Especially on the road.  Especially all the way in Utah.  Especially against a GOOD team that will be fired up to forget about a bad loss a week ago at home to Bismarck.  Warriors by 35.

(2-10) Oklahoma Crude @ (0-12) Evansville Bluecats

Wow.  At least they have good cheerleaders.  With that said, Oklahoma is a perfect team to play for someone like Evansville.  They can’t pressure anyone, which fits right into Evansville’s plan to build a winner without a line.  Well, 1-12 isn’t much of a winner, but it’s a lot better than 0-13.  Bluecats get #1, by 5.

Well, that’s it.  This is probably the worst-looking week of NIFL matchups on the plate.  There are going to be blowouts.  But, there will be a couple of teams that probably get spoiled out of the playoffs.  Of course, I could be wrong…again…about it all.  That’s why we play the games.  This is the War Between the Walls.  Don’t miss a single snap!


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