The War Between the Walls #9

05/08/03 Josh Stein

The season’s halfway over!  As usual, everything’s a mess in NIFL Land, with no less than 15 teams within two games of their division’s lead, let alone the wildcards.  How’s that work?  Oh well, there’s still way too much football to be played before anything can be decided.  Let the games begin!

This will be the third week I have carried the OHSAA standings, with a few complaints and queries from teams (Why do I pick on Rapid City?).  Well, I can’t pick on anyone anymore, because there’s plenty of teams with 6-7 games played thus far, and none with eight.  So, the standings will look more realistic (save Lexington, who’s only played five games).

Team Points
1) Ohio Valley 4.80
2) Utah 4.39
3) Lake Charles 4.23
4) Beaumont 3.98
5) Rapid City 3.62
6) Lincoln 3.52
7) Wyoming 3.47
8) Omaha 3.42
9) Sioux City 3.42
10) Houma 3.27
11) Lexington 3.16
12) Billings 2.70
13) Bismarck 2.70
14) Sioux Falls 2.70
15) LaCrosse 2.55
16) Austin 2.40
17) Fort Wayne 2.35
18) Show Me 1.73
19) Tennessee 1.58
20) Tri-City 1.58
21) Myrtle Beach 1.53
22) Tupelo 0.87
23) Evansville 0.00
24) Oklahoma 0.00

This scenario, if used, would create some interesting matchups.  Houma’s fans have always had bullseyes on the Ohio Valley Greyhounds.  Well, here, they’d get their chance.  Beaumont @ Lake Charles would be interesting, because of the close proximity.  As would Wyoming @ Utah.  Lincoln @ Rapid City is another tasty looking matchup.  Maybe we should use this system.

On to the games that really are happening.


Problem is, anyone interested in this game would have already seen it…(4-3) Lincoln Capitols @ (4-2) Omaha Beef

The game starts shortly, but it has anything but “shortly” importance.  This game is huge.  The Caps were humiliated by Omaha in their house.  The defense has come together, and it all did quite well in a 20-0 (yeah, shutout) win at the Sioux City Crackerbox.  What does this mean?  Well, they’re not the Caps of last year, for one.  Winning away from Pershing?  No problem.  And the Beef aren’t the Beef of last year, either.  Winning at home?  Na’ah, we’ll lose there every now and again, too.  Well, here’s thinking coach Collins Sanders is finally going to use the plethora of receiving talent he has and let the home fans go home happy.  Very happy.  Even though the Caps aren’t the team Omaha whacked, I can’t see them coming within 10 when the final horn sounds.


(3-4) Billings Outlaws @ (3-3) Bismarck Roughriders

61-18?  Right, that was well in the past.  Both teams are not quite like what that game showed.  Billings fell apart, to the tune of 1-4.  Then QB Albert Higgs got benched for a game.  They’re 3-4 now, and he is back with a vengeance.  Bismarck offensive coordinator Chris Schwab saw enough from the one game, and became the quarterback.  Good move.  This is a huge game for the playoff picture, and both offenses are humming again, just like last year.  Both teams have also revamped their defenses, but it hasn’t done any good.  Not against the offenses out west.  Home teams win the unknown games like this more often than not, so I’ll say Schwab one-ups Higgs in the first ever matchup against these gunslingers.  Riders by 6.

Big time quarterbacks play in big time games.  Here’s the biggest of them.  Yep, it’s the touchdown watch, back by popular (in this case, my) demand.

Name Team GP TD Pace
Danny Ragsdale Utah 6 36 84
Chris Schwab Bismarck 5 26 68
Dusty Bonner Lexington 5 22 62
Antoine Taylor Fort Wayne 6 26 61
Matt Strand Wyoming 7 29 58
Albert Higgs Billings 7 27 54
Ted Robison Lake Charles 5 18 50

Remember kids, Chris Schwab can only play 13 games.

(5-1) Lake Charles Landsharks @ (4-3) Houma Bayou Bucks

Payback time in southern Louisiana?  Sharks fans would like to think so.  A week after drilling Beaumont in Texas, 61-20, the Sharks came back home, triumphant, to get beat by these Bucks.  After everyone wrote them off, Houma was back, just like that.  Now, this game is for a lot more than just playoff positioning, there’s pride involved in Louisiana.  Both teams have good defenses, but Houma’s offense has started to come around, albeit slowly.  QB Herb Tyler is getting used to his surroundings, and the run game is strong, as usual.  You’d like to think the payback will lead the Sharks to a win, but not here.  Houma is gunning for a division championship.  Bucks by 7.


(4-3) Rapid City Red Dogs @ (3-4) LaCrosse Night Train

In an important game like this, the football is secondary.  After a while of not being paid and not having health coverage, there’s a chance the Red Dogs don’t play the game.  You hate to see something like that, but it could happen.  Here’s thinking they will.  But, their minds aren’t on football.  It’s a mess, but the Night Train fans go home very happy.  Train by 27.

(4-3) Sioux City Bandits @ (3-4) Sioux Falls Storm

Sioux Falls has had some serious trouble with their offense.  I saw in an article that the AF2’s Green Bay Blizzard cut a few players.  No, sorry Storm fans, last year’s QB, Ryan Aulenbacher, he wasn’t one of them.  Stuck with Ryan Johnson again.  And now they get to play a team that is NOT happy.  Sioux City got shut out last week.  At HOME!  Someone has to be the sacrificial lamb.  Sorry Storm fans, it’s you.  Bandits continue feeding the tale of the Sioux Falls slide, this one by 14.

(6-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds @ (2-4) Show Me Believers

Don’t believe the record, this team might be the best one the Hounds have faced all season.  With all of the player turnover, you have to wonder if the Hounds are going to have problems.  Well, if everything goes right with that offensive line, the run game should be fine.  Lloyd Clemons had a good first day.  If Shane Franzer can’t go, the quarterbacking situation should be fine, especially if new signee Butchie Washington learns the indoor game.  Show Me has a good offense, but the Hounds defense will give them trouble.  This will be a good one, but the Greyhounds will move to 7-0 with a 6 point win.


(2-5) Tri-City Diesel @ (4-3) Wyoming Cavalry

The Diesel have lost five straight, but at least they have a decent quarterback in Marrial Shields.  Wyoming’s offense has been spectacular with plenty-o-scoring all around.  And heck, they are going to want to make up for last week’s loss, especially after a 20 point lead at Billings.  Right, Tri-City’s gonna win.  You just keep thinking that.  Wyoming by 18.

(0-6) Evansville BlueCats @ (4-1) Lexington Horsemen

Wehrle hit 6 field goals at Evansville.  That tells me there’s no penetration, especially with all of the blocks and tipped kicks that happen in the NIFL.  Dusty Bonner can make teams pay with his arm, and Dougie Allen can make teams pay when he receives kickoffs.  The Bluecats are better than 0-6, but they’re not better than Lexington.  Horsies by 14.


(2-3) Tennessee Riverhawks @ (0-6) Oklahoma Crude

Do you care about this game?  Good, consider yourself one of few.  Oklahoma is an awful team, they really don’t stand a chance at winning a game this year.  Riverhawks big, then they plaster the media showing they can score big points.  Oklahoma has a good college football team or two, maybe the fans will believe it and think the Hawks are the real deal!

(1-5) Tupelo Fireants @ (3-3) Austin Concrete Rockers

Austin can score at will, and they’ll give up more.  Well, not against this offense.  Concrete Rockers by 18.

Another week, another bunch of games.  I hope the Rapid City Red Dogs can sort out their problems, and I hope they play.  Until next time, long live the NIFL!  Oh wait…this is the War Between the Walls.  Yeah, let’s not miss a single snap…That worked well.

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