Well, well well!!! Vince here to start closing out the season and head into the ‘now or never-never’ land of the IFL.
Saw some surprises this past week. The largest (well, not REALLY a surprise to me) in being the Hitmen beating the Blaze; and in this reporters opinion, HAVE to be considered for real in the hunt for the IFL title.
Those who didn’t respect them before, better had now. (Those who wanna take a shot at me for picking the Blaze, I remember someone with a similar name to mine and resembling my beer gut stating the right to be wrong!)
The Cutters definitely showed up to fight/play MUCH better than expected, despite not winning against the heavily favored Generals. The ‘Cats looking better on both sides of the ball despite a slight mishap during the game and the real Mustangs show up and hang nearly 40 on the board and looked scary doing it.
Some pivotal matchups this week, so let’s get to it!!
*Game of the week!
Hitmen VS Wolfpack
Noble Co. High School 7pm
WOW!! Who’d a thunk it? Well, enough of me rubbing the respect thing in the non believers faces, ‘cause I’m not that way. (told ya so!!!)
Did I say that?
Anyway - I can’t say enough about the Hitmen and their surge to the top of the IFL North AND their inspiring 27-21 win over the Blaze.
This team came out on fire against last week from opening kickoff, and as most of you know, have now what may be the best defense in the North, and one of the best we’ve seen in the IFL period. And as a former LB, NOTHING gets me more hyped than a goal line stand; and they got one near the end of the game that sealed the win when the Blaze made a furious comeback at the end of regulation last week.
Disciplined and smart, but also athletic, as proved 2 weeks ago when a LB picked off a pass one handed. (did not get this mans’ number) this D is something special.
But what was most impressive is the emergence of their offense which has played very well, and can drive with a pounding running game.
The QB has become much more settled and efficient in the pocket v.s. earlier in the year and seems to be coming into his own.
If he remains accurate, this team cannot loose.
The Wolfpack are the quietest undefeated team in the league. Then again, the make their noise on the field.
Coming off a relatively easy game last week, they will no trouble getting up for this one and expect them to be their usual selves.
Hard nosed, smashmouth, ball control. Tough defense.
Shrock and Fears may be the difference in the offense, as the will face a defense that– in NO QUESTION - has gotten better every single week.
Dang you Hitmen, your making these picks harder than they are supposed to be!
This game features two incredibly similar teams. The Hitmen are rising, the Pack are at home.
I’ll be ringside at this one, to be sure.
However, in the end, the Hitmen proved me wrong last week, I won’t let them have the chance to do it again.
Cutters @ Blaze
Battle Creek MI. 7pm
Let’s talk about the Blaze a sec. This is still one of the best teams in the North, despite the stumble last week against a inspired and excellent opponent.
They still have all the tools to beat anyone with the Wr’s and tailback they have. They just need to put it together for all four periods. They didn’t give up last week; going down 27-7 early, and fought back to get close and almost did it. I stated they tend to fall asleep 4th quarter in games. After watching the film, I sit corrected.
Believe me, no one is more aware of this than their head coach, who will be sure to have a tough practice schedule on his boys this week to keep focus.
In come a very good and underrated Cutters team, who played on of their best games last week against the Generals.
If you remove the middle part of the game, the Cutters may have pulled it off, having done what no one has done this year against the G men- scored early.
After watching the film, the Cutter offense seems to be getting better and honestly, is one of the top ones in the IFL, but again, not always consistent. This is the main reason why they very well will be home for the playoffs.
If this game we in Bloomington, I would strongly suggest trap game. But the long trip, the knowledge of not making the post season, and a determined Blaze team looking to right their ship should spell doom for the defending champs.
However, I don’t think this will be easily done.
Wildcats @ Pirates
Another interesting matchup in the IFL south between tow teams both IN the playoffs and possibly could see one another again.
The Cats are another veeeery quiet team that is playing better each week.
But what we have noticed, like a few other teams, the Wildcats’ defense is becoming much more fierce and aggressive than earlier in the season.
They have created turnovers in many key areas, and stopping the run has been the recipe lately, as it didn’t look like the Outlaws amassed more than 60 rushing all game.
The Wildcats possess a very together team on both sides of the ball, a good coach and various team leaders.
The Pirates have gone through about as much as a team can this season. Some inside issues and dissention have caused rocky waters at the cove, and responsible for some erratic play, despite J.J’s efforts to build team unity, which actually has been better as of recent and the players that have toughed it out have rallied around one another in recent weeks.
Well rested, and posting a great RB tandem and one of the best LB cores in the South, they will still play hard and need momentum to head into the playoffs.
The Wildcats will see a RB in Brian Stacker that they haven’t seen before, and he may be the key if he is given the ball enough.
But Stacker will also see a LB core that is very agile and strong.
However, at the Cove, the Pirates can be a different team, if Sauri can keep the energy high on his teammates, which I am sure he will.
Generals @ Outlaws
Kent, OH 5pm
The Generals come off a very human ( for them, anyway) looking performance against the Cutters, showing they can be scored on, but also can overcome the rare defensive breakdown and come from behind. I have seen over the years of covering the IFL that among many things, coach J.T. is excellent at settling his group down if things go awry during a game. Its just so rare that they do, he doesn’t need to do this much.
He did it well last Saturday.
They remained resolve, in front a decent show of fans and came from behind for the first time this year that they had to, and proved they are not only a “when things go well” team.
The Outlaws have sustained an offensive blow with injuries to key players, otherwise this would be a different game to call.
They are still a very tough team that will not quit, but without many bullets, the gun isn’t all too threatening.
Not much chance of an upset here, and the two squads are headed in different directions at present.
If healthy, the Outlaws can play with anyone. But limping, it won’t be the outcome they’d like.
Shamrock @ Mustangs
Bourbon IN 7pm
The Mustangs did exactly what they HAD to do last week, play four quarters of inspired football and jumped out early, and never looked back against the Canes.
A theme of “I wont back down” was played before kickoff, and it got the crowd (A huge crowd actually) going who made it very loud and difficult for the Canes offense all night.
Mike W. was on point and the D was at it’s usual as it has been the last few contests that put this one away early.
They are still an aerial team 1st, but had some success in the ground.
The biggest thing to me was the goal line stand when the ‘Canes were attempting to slice into the lead.
A great play by #21 and the entire defense as a unit got the stands to erupt and shut the door on any hope on a comeback.
That’s D, Neil and Mr. Craft!!
They need only to win this game and they clinch a playoff spot, and once they are in and firing on all cylinders, they are definitely one of the most dangerous teams in the North.
The Rock limp in short on numbers and facing a team that is starting to jel at the best (or worst if you’re a fan of the Rock) possible time.
Although they have had numbers issues, they play hard for themselves, their fans (who are very loyal) and their owner who has seen better times.
Don’t look for them to lay down this week, or any week.
But with this being a pivotal game for the Mustang franchise - and Mike the voice whoopin up the fans, the Mustangs will finish the season undefeated at home, and
will charge into the playoffs.
With no word on the game being played between the Panthers/Hurricanes, I will not call that one much more than IF the game is played, the Canes take out some frustration on the poor Panthers.
What WILL be said is the outstanding play of WR #10 of the Hurricanes.
If you have the chance, please get out to see this humble emerging star while you can.
He is truly something special..
Well, that’ll be it for now. I’m gonna get some restaurant info for the area. I need a good Brat, boys! ( I mean bratwurst, not a disobedient 5 year old, that’s ME!) And a decent nickel beer.
Mr. Engleking – where are you?
Hey, this morning was the first sign of fall. Fog/frost on the car windows, the smell of cool air and promise of fall is here.
I always feel kinda sad when summer is over. But that also means THANKSGIVING, which is the all American excuse to eat as much as you want in one sitting with a clean conscious. (As if there is any other way to eat)
A holiday where we stuff our selves with food, with food that has been stuffed with other food!
USA! USA! USA!
Ya gotta love this game!
Well, you were right on the last week. So far, so good.
Fun to read
wildcats you guys have been playing really good since week 2 loss. sucks you guys gotta play them again on the road.
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FYI...there are 3 Noble County Highschools. I'm sure most people know, but in case someone is traveling to the game who isn't familiar I believe they play at West Noble Highschool.
Thank you sir!
I stand..well, who am I kidding..I SIT corrected.
The outlawz are more than limping I heard. Both Qbs down and 5 others on offense. Defense is beat up also. Not looking good for them heading into playoffs or playing the number one team in your league this week. If I remember right the same thing happened to them last year. Started out strong but injuries hit them hard. Tough luck fellas you guys are a well ran team. Hope all injuries are not major and you heal quick.
looks like someone is trying to bait the visiting team for tomorrows game but I'm betting they won't buy into it funny all week nothing on injuries then the night before the game the fan speak out nice try but I say the Generals come to town with game faces on and ready to play ball against the Outlawz
Get real it wasnt a post to try anything. It was a post to the outlawz to try and stay strong with what they are going through. Any team goes into a game looking to dominate. With some teams its easier cause of depth. The generals have it and the outlaws dont. Just hoping that they heel and can finish the season. Dont need know forfits now.