Warriors grill the Beef

07/21/03 NIFL Fan Article by Philip J. Rogich, Syracuse, UT

The Warriors traveled to Omaha Nebraska for the Pacific Conference Championship game this past Saturday. The Beef’s home arena is dubbed the Slaughterhouse and many people thought that fate would befall the Warriors. Experts had picked the Warriors as a 8.5 point underdog, despite the fact these two teams have identical regular season records. This game would showcase two different playing styles. The Beef rely on a running game and a strong defense. Utah on the other hand, uses a high powered passing offense, who only uses the running game inside the red-zone.

The Warriors got off to a fast start which is trademark for them. Utah drove 42 yards. The drive was capped off by an Omar Bacon 1 yard touchdown run. The Beef then slowed the game down by running the ball to get a score.. Their drive took 8:09. Kicker Chace Long missed the PAT. 1st quarter ends with the Warriors up 7 - 6.

Utah starts the quarter by scoring on a Emmitt White 3 yard touchdown run, which was set up by a 22 yard pass interference call. Omaha answered back with a score of their own. Ragsdale then hits Jason Quinn for a 10 yard touchdown pass to end a 44 yard drive. The Beef then make the first mistake of the night. Tory Travis is intercepted by Jay Hill. Ragsdale makes them pay by throwing another touchdown pass to Quinn for 4 yards. The teams trade touchdowns to end the half Utah’s score comes on a 1 yard Omar Bacon run. Half time score Warriors 35 - Beef 20.

The Warriors defense start the second half by holding the Beef offense. Utah then gave the ball back on a Emmitt White fumble. Utah’s defense stepped up once more and the Beef had to settle for a field goal. The rest of the quarter would be all Warriors. Cody Weight comes up big-time when Ragsdale hits him with a 33 yard touchdown pass. Utah’s defense then shines once more. Linebacker Bart Amundson picked up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. 3rd quarter ends with a commanding Utah lead of 49 - 24. Many of the Beef faithful start to leave the arena.

In the final quarter the Beef fight back, however it’s a little to little, a little to late. The Beef only manage to get with-in 11 points. Ragsdale does throw two more touchdown passes to end the game. One of them is to Quinn for 14 yards and the other is to Emmitt White for 11 yards. Final score Utah 62 - Omaha 51.

The key the Utah’s win, was the outstanding play of their much criticized and often injured defense. They came up big with two turnovers and several stops. The defense only gave up 6 points in the 1st quarter and 3 points in the 3rd. The defense was lead by Trevor Bell with 7.5 tackles and a pass deflection. Dee McCormick and Bart Amundson had 5 tackles each. Bart also returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown. Jay Hill had 2 tackles and a huge interception he returned for 34 yards. The defense was also glad to see the return of Garrett "Wild Man" White and Kautai Oleveo, who combined for 5 tackles.

Leading the Warriors scoring machine was Danny Ragsdale. On the night he was 21 of 30 for 5 touchdowns and one interception. Three of the touchdowns went to Jason Quinn, who also had 60 yards receiving. Emmitt White lead all players in catches (with 9), receiving yards (with 79) and total yards ( with 179). He also had two touchdowns. Omar Bacon had two touchdowns as well, along with 60 all-purpose yards. Cody Weight only had one catch but it was for a 33 yard touchdown. Kicker Pete Garces was 8 of 9 on PATs. The Warriors were without the services of Cory Grow who was out with a foot injury. They hope to see his return in two weeks.

In two weeks the Warriors travel to Wheeling for the NIFL bowl. They will take on the defending NIFL champions. The River Hounds have only lost one game in two years and that was by forfeit. Must people do not think Utah has a chance but must people have thought that all year. The Warriors seem to keep proving people wrong. The players and fans believe they will do so once more.

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