Good Morning, SupaNation. It's difficult to believe that we stand on the precipice of the month of August- a time when the rest of the football world will wake from its long slumber and join those of us who have braved the boiling summer months. But that's where we find ourselves, and it is clear that teams across the region are beginning to find separation from one another. If the first two (plus) months of football have told us anything, it's that the football landscape has changed a great deal over the offseason- a time when it is clear that some teams organized and prepared much better than others. But now is the time for measuring those differences, not preparing for them- so let's get down to business.
Madison County Pirates @ Kosciusco County Mustangs
Many of us expected the Mustangs to finally get over the hump this season and claim their expected place as the odds-on IFL favorite. As it turns out, that scenario is looking less likely with each week. No one should under any circumstances sleep on the Stangs, but it is clear that they are not at all where they'd hoped to be at this point. The Pirates are a bit of a different story. While dealing with some important personnel changes and a fairly fluid roster, the team has performed well against a very solid schedule thus far. Down in Pendelton, it might be a different story, but the Mustang offense will be too much for the Pirates.
Miami County Blitz @ Indiana Patriot
This game is, in many ways, a study in opposites- as well as a study in similarity. The Blitz have been nothing if not consistent over the years, while the Patriot have been up and down and up and down again. Last week's extremely lopsided Patriot win over the hapless Knights tells us very little about the victors, and weather robbed us all of a opening look at the Blitz. It's hard to tell what we'll find beyond two teams with a very focused core of athletes going hard from whistle to whistle. Home field and the experience of a tune-up contest makes me favor the Patriot- though not by anything like last wee's margin.
Midwest Force @ Ohio Outlawz
This game should be a great one of two very well matched teams. These two squads feature some of the best defensive athletes in the league and are both capable of the big play on defense. Neither team has really gotten it going consistently on offense- but both teams (especially the Force) have the talent to put up big numbers. Given the relatively short trip, one has to believe the Force will travel well and will bring with them the experience of a tougher schedule and will win the day. Look for this one to develop into a full-fledged grudge-match in the future.
Noble County Wolfpack @ St Joe County Panthers
In a year that has seen fairly little hopeless futility, the Panthers seem to be carrying the flag of the forlorn. No disrespect to the squad, but there's not much to say about this North Division battle except that the Panthers are hopelessly overmatched. The Wolfpack will have twice as many points as the Panthers have first downs. And you can quote me on that.
Indiana Hitmen @ Wanee Hurricanes
It's clear that both of these teams competing for supremacy in Michiana have gotten a lot better over the course of the first few weeks of the season. Both teams, it's fair to say, have exceeded expectations in the IFL at large- leading one to conclude that there is a lot of quality talent in the region. The Canes, however, have yet to come close to their potential. The Hitmen are a very good team and capable of getting better, but the Canes could well make a lot of noise in the north division. Particularly at home, one is hard pressed to bet against them.
Battle Creek Blaze @ Elkhart Shamrock
In the crowded North Division of the IFL, it's difficult to see a clear favorite. Unlike the dominance of the Generals in the early IFL season, the North has been full of great close battles and is likely to be at least a three way race late into the season. But I am happy to go on record here saying that the Blaze are my pick to with the division. The team is well organized and very well prepared. Any team who has faced them this season will tell you that- win or lose- they felt like the Blaze were much better than they expected. And the Blaze will tell you that they've not yet come close to reaching their potential. The Shamrock are holding strong to the philosophy that the team was born with, but a short bench and poor practices leave the team ill prepared, even at home, for what the Blaze will bring.
Indiana Cutters @ West Central Wildcats
It's difficult to imagine two teams that have been up and down more than have these two squads this season. Both teams feature a history of dominance, and both have at moments (or more) this season wondered how they ended up here. Saturday night in Brazil is a good example of the kind of dog-eat-dog contest that will pace most of the rest of the year for those hoping for second place in the Division. The Cutters bring a solid offense that has underperformed and a defense that has, despite having given up points, made big plays. The host Wildcats have thrived on the big play and looked hapless without it. All things being equal (which they are not) , the Cutters have a much better offense- and that will win the day.
St. Louis Spirit @ Ohio River Bearcats
It's hard to see this season as anything other than a rebuilding campaign for the tough-nosed Bearcats. The team ownership knew that they were leaving a relatively comfortable situation for a much tougher road in the GMFL and 2010 has been all they could handle. The team still features very good defensive play, but is competing against offenses much tougher than any it had seen in the past. The long trips have not always been kind to the Bearcats, but this weekend provides the IDEAL confidence builder: a game at home against the lowly Spirit. The boys from Evansville handled the Spirit back in June and there is no reason to think that this week will be anything different.
Okey Dokey- I put in the order for a cooler weekend and it looks very much like mother nature has decided to cooperate. You can thank me later- but please make sure that every time you strap on that helmet and step between those white lines and onto the field- you treat this game like what it is: a gift. Leave it all out there on the field and make your mommas proud, gents.
Canes win 28-22 over the hitmen good clean game...
Stangz win 17 ta 7, game stopped with 1:50 due ta fighting!
Wildcats 17-0 Cutters.
Early scoring, defensive battle in the 2nd half. Good game Cutters!
Ohio Outlawz 20 Midwest Force 7
Battle Creek Blaze - 34
Elkhart Shamrock - 6
Noble County Wolfpack
Lima Warriors 28
Akron Jagz 0
Corey Minnfield throws 2 touchdown passes to Ladon Coleman and Travis Lewis. Kaene Runion throws one to Deondre Holt. Isaac Melton leads defense with 2 sacks and Brandt Huttis has 3 interceptions.
Dark Knights 25