The War Between the Walls Special
Indoor Bowl III
07/28/03 Josh Stein
AT A GLANCE:
Utah Warriors (13-3) vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds (16-0)
Date: Saturday August 2, 2003
Site: Wheeling Civic Center (5834)
Tickets: 866-694-6863, 304-233-4470 or any Ticketron outlet
National Anthem: TBA
Radio: Utah, 1280 KZN, The Sports Zone, Ohio Valley: TBA
Webcast: Utah, 1280 KZN, The Sports Zone Ohio Valley None
Coaches: Ohio Valley, Head Coach, Mark Bonar, Asst. Coach, John Magistro, Asst. Coach, Greg Bonar, Special Teams, Mike Sherwood, Defense, Lance Mehl
Utah, Head Coach, Lee Leslie, Offensive/Defensive Line Coach, Bob Main, Fullback/Linebackers Coach, Sonny Sudbury, Offensive Line/Defensive Line Coach, Feliz Muai, Player/Coach, Danny Ragsdale, Fullback/Linebacker Assistant Coach, Chad Torgensen
Ohio Valley John Blackmore
Utah: Doug Jentzsch 801.973.7311
As with any league, months and months of preparation, games, wins, losses, successes failures...it comes down to one thing. The championship. The NIFL is no different. We've played 19 weeks of football, and it all comes down to this. Indoor Bowl III. Utah Warriors @ Ohio Valley Greyhounds. Let's take a look at this game.
Warriors offense vs. Greyhounds defense
The best vs. the best. Utah has the NIFL's most prolific offense, scoring 59.2 points per game. Ohio Valley has the NIFL's best defense, giving up only 25.6 points per game. Something has to give. Utah's offense is led by QB Danny Ragsdale, who in the regular season had a field day with all of his opponents, throwing for nearly 4000 yards and 77 touchdowns. RB Omar Bacon was money in the red zone, as he scored 38 touchdowns on 112 carries. The receiving corps is very balanced with four guys with over 60 catches, and three guys over 800 yards receiving. Cory Grow and Jason Quinn are the deep threats, both getting over 12 yards a catch and having over 20 touchdown catches apiece. If there's any defense that can handle this, it might be the Greyhounds. The Hounds have given up some deep balls, but with the offensive-minded game indoor football is, it would take an NFL Pro Bowl defense to stop that...maybe. But, they can be slowed down a bit. The key to stopping Utah is, obviously, keeping them out of the end zone. The Greyhounds run defense is extremely strong, and can keep Bacon honest. With the smaller end zones in Wheeling, the opened up pass game is out the door when it gets close. The home field advantage will definetly help the Greyhounds cause.
Greyhounds offense vs. Warriors defense
This is where it could get a bit hairy. Utah's defensive numbers aren't all that astounding. Is it because they have to play such strong offenses, or is it because they're not so good. I say it's a combination of both. Utah has one of the Pacific's better defenses (but is that saying much?). But, they've never seen anything like what the Greyhounds do. With the best offensive line possibly in indoor football history, the Greyhounds will shove the ball right down your throat, whether you like it or not (and most teams don't). However, Shane Franzer and a host of pretty good receivers have brought a passing dimension to the team that wasn't there before. Franzer threw for 1784 yards and 38 touchdowns, a number quite surprising considering the Hounds/Smash (IFL) ran the ball more than anyone...ever. But, they still run it. Over 1500 yards in the regular season, about 110 yards a game. They also scored 46 times on the ground. Can Utah stop the best trio of running backs in the NIFL (Lloyd Clemons, Rayshawn Askew, Chris Schneider)? If not, they're going to have a very very tough time winning the Indoor Bowl.
Utah kicker Pete Garces has made a nice name for himself, being one of the better kickers in the league. However, reports say that he likes to kick high floating kicks, because Utah has a nice big arena with a nice tall ceiling. It allows kickers to kick more naturally. Welcome to Wheeling. The ceiling is short, there's a huge scoreboard at the middle of it, and well...you don't kick high floaters in the Civic Center. On the other side of the coin, John Wehrle has become a master of kicking field goals at the Wheeling Civic Center. When it's fourth down, you know you've got a chance at three no matter where you are on the field. If Wehrle's on his game, he's better than any kicker in the NIFL...especially in Wheeling.
Who's gonna win
It's going to be a tough tough game. Neither team has seen the other's offense this year. But the Hounds have an advantage. They saw a lot of these Utah players last year when Billings was in Indoor Bowl II. And they have seen the general offensive style. The winner is the team that can slow down the other's offensive style more. And defense wins championships. But none of that matters. Garces is going to have trouble in the cramped Civic Center, and John Wehrle is the best kicker in the NIFL...and he knows the Civic Center by heart. He gets a few more good kicks in, and his leg proples the Greyhounds to a 6 point championship win, and 17-0 season.
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