IFL gears up for playoffs
By Josh Patterson
For The Advance Leader - Ligonier, IN
LIGONIER — It’s called the “Second Season” for a reason.
With all eight Interstate Football League teams entering postseason play Saturday, every team starts its season anew, complete with matching 0-0 records.
However, if the regular season is any indication, all roads to the John Bushman Trophy lead south - through Indianapolis, home of the top-seeded Indiana Generals, or Bloomington, where the defending champion and No. 2-seeded Indiana Cutters reside.
Noble County Wolfpack receiver Charles Gross explained that the Generals don’t rely on standout play on one side of the ball, but rather opponents must gear up for a 60-minute struggle.
“They’ve shown all year that they have a great offense and a great defense,” Gross said. “It will take ball-control offense with no turnovers, basically a perfect game, to beat them.”
Four-time All-IFL performer Faruq Ghaffar of the Wolfpack echoed those sentiments about the Cutters, a program that’s lost just two games in its two IFL seasons.
“They’re a great program, and they have a great foundation built,” Ghaffar said. “That’s the way you want to build an organization. They put the right people in the right places, and you can’t say enough good things about their program.”
That’s not to say the rest of the league isn’t capable of a surprise. Kosciusko County Mustangs do-everything quarterback Mike Whitaker is questionable for the postseason after suffering a broken collarbone in Week Two, but they still nabbed the league’s third seed and will host the Classic City Crush.
“If Whitaker’s playing, you can throw 28 points up on the board,” Wolfpack running back/All-IFL defensive end Andrew Shrock said. “If he plays, they have a legitimate chance to end up in the championship game.”
Though the Elkhart Shamrock enter the playoffs on a three-game slide, Shrock explained that their athleticism stacks up with any team in the league.
Conversely, the Wolfpack won their last three contests entering the postseason, causing many to consider the matchup in Ligonier as the best playoff opener in the IFL. A 21-14 overtime victory in the Week Five matchup lends plenty of credence to that argument. As Shrock explained, however, the offense needs to step up if Noble County has designs on lasting past Saturday.
“They have a very sound defense, a very experienced defense, and on offense they have plenty of athletes capable of making a big play,” Shrock said. “Because of that, we have to be able to score. We can’t rely on scoring just 14 points and expect to win.”
No. 8 St. Joseph County Panthers at No. 1 Indiana Generals
Regular Season: Generals, 56-0
Prediction: The Generals haven’t lost yet this season, and the Panthers haven’t won. There’s no reason to believe these trends won’t change. Expect the Panthers to battle as they have all year, but go with the Generals here, 56-7.
No. 7 Tri-County Raiders at No. 2 Indiana Cutters
Regular Season: Cutters, 38-8
Prediction: The Cutters have what every team wants, the John Bushman Trophy as the defending champions. They also have a target on their backs as defending champs. With one eye on the championship game, the Raiders score first, but the Cutters score more, 63-10.
No. 6 Classic City Crush at No. 3 Kosciusko County Mustangs
Regular Season: Mustangs, 40-21
Prediction: Whitaker’s questionable this week, but the Mustangs won’t need him. They’ll exploit the Crush rush defense for over 200 yards, winning 42-17.
No. 5 Elkhart Shamrock at No. 4 Noble County Wolfpack
Regular Season: Wolfpack, 21-14 in OT
Prediction: The Shamrock didn’t travel well in the last two weeks of the season, and they didn’t play well in losses to the Generals and Cutters. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack have come together as a team, and the three-headed rushing monster of Shrock, Matt Rupright and James Stewart proves too strong. No overtime needed as the Wolfpack advance, 24-13.
Wolfpack at Generals
Regular Season: Generals, 7-5
Prediction: Tough defense for both teams kept this one close, but a late touchdown pass from former St. Francis quarterback Jeremy Hibbeln spelled the difference in the regular season. The Generals also picked off four Wolfpack passes in the regular season. With a heavy dose of the ground game, Noble County avenges the loss, showing no problems playing on the road, 21-17.
Mustangs at Cutters
Regular Season: Cutters, 21-18
Prediction: Whitaker makes his return, giving the Cutters fits in the secondary. However, holes in the Mustang rush defense rear their ugly head again. Kosciusko County makes it interesting, but a late Israel Thompson score lifts the Cutters back into the championship game, 34-28.
Wolfpack at Cutters
Regular Season: Cutters, 10-6
Prediction: The upstart Wolfpack travels to Bloomington, accompanied by a couple hundred faithful willing to make the lengthy trek. In a battle of wills, the Cutters strike first once again. Again, it comes down to a late drive for Noble County. However, the turnover issues that plagued the Wolfpack early this season are a thing of the past, and the John Bushman Trophy heads to Ligonier, 14-13.
I agree my friend; Im going to tell you the truth the wolf pack scare the lights out of me. I hope that the
Generals win... I would rather go to Indy to play and have a chance, because the Generals are pick to win the whole thing, than to stay and home and get embarrassed. Those wolves look like they haven't eaten for weeks.
I never thought I would say this Go Generals...
we are fired up for the Generals and want the rematch, but the pack ummmmmmmm I really don't know.
All I know if the pack come to Bloomington I might have to call myself FORMER CHAMPIONS next year.
I just hope these two teams beat each other up real good. PS we are not counting out the Raiders or Crush or Mustangs.
This is what everyone has been saying all year the final four consisting of us the Generals the Pack and the Mustang we will destroy the Mustangs their second trip to Bloomington will be as unpleasant as their first Cutters by 17 this time we have something to prove and then on the 26th we will host the ship because the generals will get BEAT by the Wolfpack on Saturday WRITE IT DOWN THE GENERALS ARE DONE and who can hang with us NOBODY
ok who is this cutter fan.. who ever it is and if you are a true cutter fan please dont post anything on here.. we are taking game by game and so is every other team... we have to focus on this game against the mustangs... so please don't post anything negative on here...
Indiana Cutters #7
Bruce nothing personal just like the cop on dragnet always said "just the facts" and the facts are the Cutters are heads above any other team and you know what is in store for all these teams that think they have tape on the Cutters and inside info on the Cutters. The Cutters are going to open a huge can of whoop A$$ on the Mustangs this weekend they took their best shot in August and it wasn't enough and the Cutters have only gotten better since then, yeah one game went sour but hey DE JA VU one loss last year and took it all when it counted so same result just different year. No disrespect meant but NO WAY does the Generals beat the Wolfpack twice in the same season. I also meant no disrespect to the Mustangs but hey everyone knows their season was shot in Bloomington and all we are going to do is put the period at the end of the sentence
I don't think I need to comment on the rants of our friend in Bloomington who has obviously been watching too much WWE action between re-runs of Family Guy and reading the new Kanye West comic book "How I Threw My Career in the Trash for Cogniac" (what the hell was he thinking? Taylor Swift should of pushed his drunk a$$ off the stage)....
Anyway...5 points combined total. That is the TOTAL seperation of points between the regular season games between the Generals vs the Wolf Pack AND the Cutters vs the Mustangs. Generals beat the Pack by 2 and the Cutters defeated the Mustangs by 3.
Anyone else beside me think these Semi-final games are going to be battles??
To be honest I cannot even come back with anything here. I wouldn't place any type bet on this one or the Generals/Pack game either. It will be a great game for all involved.
Plus...And it was known after our game Saturday with the Crush... I am leaving for a long needed vacation to South Carolina to see my son. So to the delight of some I will not be there on our sidelines. But if Sid wants any part of this he can answer up. But remember...If you do happen to lose the bet, I have seen this man graze...errr,,,eat before!! Big cash just in case..A lot of it.
Good Luck and please IFL final 4. Play it on the field, not here.
So...you took a very long time to say, in essence, what I did with my first post and article? Glad to see that we're in agreement on something.
Granted, your message had a different method of going about it, but at the end of the day we're agreeing that the championship contest will be Wolfpack at Cutters. Just checking to make sure.
The Mustangs will beat the Cutters this time. Luck has gone the cutters way the last two times but this time the ball bounces the Mustangs way. Mustangs 30 cutters 17. The Wolfpack defeat the Generals 10-9.
The Wolfpack then get the last of their victims with a 24 - 16 win over the stangs. By the way #1 cutter towel boy tell your mom that my light bill needs paid & shes out of dental damns punk.
BRING ON KURT AND GILMORE! YOU CANT WIN WITHOUT THEM.
I guess that will be interesting, seeing who "COMES" out dressed to play.... Good luck to you fellas take it easy on me im winded just getting off the toilet!!!
Hopefully Mike W. will be playing so it will give me a someone to talk sshit too
The game is being held at the Fireworks Depo
Just another example of the Cutters always getting their way in this league everyone else has to notify the league and other teams and officials so that everyone knows where they will be going if they don't have a site named by today then maybe the Mustangs should be home team come on people grow up.
At least let the other team know where to have their fans go
TO IFL FAN DROP IT you don't have a clue what you are refering to would be different if you had any first hand knowledge
Sid just called me and I have it updated on the Mustang web-site and Facebook page. The Cutters have us playing at Edgewood.
I JUST TEXTED OUR COACH AND CONFIRMED MIKE'S (THE VOICE) POST.
THE GAME IS AT EDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
You talk a lot of shit Cutter, but I bet you youself can't back your mouth up. It's okay though, you can use my jockstrap to wipe your tears away when you realize how wrong you are. And when that does happen, and it will happen, I'm going to post one word on this forum in response to your verbal diarrhea...Checkmate...
I think after reading all of this I'm going to have to agree with the Cutters not having any problem at all handling the Mustangs. The Cutters beat them in the regular season and the game is at home where they have only lost something like twice in three years correct me if I'm wrong but we lost a home game in 2007 to the Indianapolis Dragons at home that was on a terrible call by an official and then we lost this season to the Generals again due to terrible officials and to many turn overs it is a sure bet that the Mustangs WILL LOSE tomorrow the only question is by how much will Coach go easy on them and be nice or will he let the offense roll. I also believe the Wolfpack will beat notice I didn't say upset the Generals the Generals are over rated and have had three weeks to sit back and talk about their bcs rankings and how they are going to Florida in January the only place they are going is home tomorrow night with their first loss of the year, which of course means that the chaampionship game WILL be in BLOOMINGTON on September the 26th how fitting that is I.U homecoming on the 26th and Cutters championship on the 26th it doesn't get any better,
I say Cutters win 30-13 and Wolfpack win 20-14 so everyone get out your paper and pen and write that down.
Now for all you Mustangs that get tired of Cutters saying you are going to get it handed to you tomorrow night remember this it is playoff time and there is no team in the world that is better at choking in the playoffs than you guys sorry no way are you going to the ship this year.
To the Wolfpack with I.U having their homecoming next weekend you might want to start looking for hotel rooms if you plan on staying overnight in town.
good luck to everyone this weekend(expect the wolfpack). the Mustang and Cutter game should be a close shoot out, contrary to what some people think, and our game with the Wolfpack will have a lot more scoring as well. It has to only 12 total points in the first game. I really think we will be on the right end of it this time because JT won't let us lose, and Plus we owe some of these guys one for what they did to us two years ago. (sorry Gross, but that 40-20 loss was one of the hardest to take because of how awful we played that night, and a lot of us Generals can seek a little redemption tommorrow night for that loss.) That said, I have a lot of respect for how the Wolfpack handle themselves as a team and how hard they compete and it is going to be a battle, no doubt, but expecting to lose? NO WAY, never crossed my mind! So for these wonderful Cutter fans hoping and praying that we lose for whatever reason I say "don't bet on it". That said, I am putting a lot of faith in my teammates because once again I won't be there for this game, but unlike the other games not by injury this time. My wife and I just had our second baby last night. an 8 lb 14oz baby girl and she is so much fun. I can tear my rotator cuff and lambrum in my shoulder two years ago and finish the season with no surgery or dislocate my finger and break my hand this year with no surgery and little to no pain, but the first sight of little Kaylee (or as my two year old daughter calls her Baby Kay) and I tear up like a baby. It is an amazing feeling and I can't leave baby and mommy in the hospital by themselves to go play football saturday, but I will be there next week, so help me out Generals and get this win this week. Alright, take care everyone and good luck this week!
Congrats on the baby girl. Hope everyone is doing well and you guys are having a ball. See ya soon.
Phil, first and foremost, congratulations on the new baby. My wife and I just had our third little girl in july. There is nothing in the world like my girls, so I think that is awesome. Now to the game, I completely understand you and your teammates frustrations from two years ago. I wouldn't expect anything less that everything you guys have, but remember, with that being said, we are bringing everything we got too. So you have a great time with the family, and I can't wait to see the rest of you generals on the field tomorrow night. Games like this is the reason we play, it can't get here fast enough.
Hey look at the predictions surprise surprise everyone picked the Cutters to beat the Mustangs and the Generals to beat the Wolf puppies been telling you all that all season but they are wrong. The scores aren't close Cutters will not allow the Mustangs to even score and will win 42-0 and the Wolf Puppies will beat the General thugs 21-17 so there you have the true story on tonights game.
I don't care who plays QB for the Mustangs they will get destroyed tonight.
Whitaker knows what we did to him first time this season I'm sure he don't want anymore
Thanks, Dave! Mom and baby are doing great. Gross I wouldn't expect any less from you guys. You guys have a lot of talent and work really hard, and I know we will get your guys best game that is why as a new father I am going to ask a favor from you. Can you just stay home for this game because YOU killed us two years ago in that playoff game and last year what you did to our secondary was just sickening at times, so please just forget to show up for the bus or fake an injury please! No, seriously. I hope you guys play well tonight I just hope we play better, so I can play next week. Wish I was there tonight but I wouldn't be in the right mindset anyways with this little miracle being at home and me at the field. Your right these little girls are the best. I wouldn't trade them for ANYTHING in the world and i'm sure you wouldn't either. Take care, and I'll be cheching in during the game tonight so make me proud Generals.
Well the Generals didn't lose so I guess you were wrong for once on here but like the Cutter Coach running off the field chasing down a firework phathom and pushing women and making an a$$ of himself in front of kids and several football fans you won't be man enough to admit it will you,,, maybe you can just say you had to pee when you were making that prediction, I'm sure everyone will buy that they bought his excuse for leaving the field maybe the Generals should schedule potty breaks for him at the halfway mark of each quarter it is terrible that the IFL Championship game has to be marred by cheap shots threats and actions of coaches in a game in August, semi-pro football will see who has class on Saturday night at Arlington High School. This whole season has been a wild ride and I'm sure the ride is going to get wilder and much more physical Saturday night.