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IFL CHAMPIONSHIP

IFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
TRINE COLLEGE 7PM

INDIANA GENERALS
VS
BATTLE CREEK BLAZE

Well, here we are! The game we all waited for. All the weight training, lifting, game planning, driving to games/practices, buying the new gear, players fees ( for those who’ve paid them ) posting on here and all comes to this.

The Biggun!

The two teams come in shaped in very different ways and very opposite in everything from the style of their play, they way they got here down to the team colors.

Since there is MUCH to discuss, we’ll get straight to the game and break down of positions.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Generals easily have one of the best as protection for Hibblein has been excellent this year, as we had not seen a sack on him since week one.
Veterans Appleby, Matt and Johnson anchor this squad and their leadership, disciplined action and ability to not false start make them the best at their jobs. They are consistently keeping pressure out, even against blitzes and can make holes in Gibraltar if need be.
This game they face a quicker opponent that they have seen yet, but something tells me they will be up to the challenge as they have been all season.

The Blaze sport a large and athletic line, and do something that is a bit alien style to the IFL. Their forte is zone blocking and misdirection that fools you and gets D lines to overpursue and make holes for their backs.
Decker, Edmonds, Nick Kover round out this group and are another group that induces very little laundry on the field. The will also face an aggressive D line, but not unlike the one in the Wolfpack they recently handled on the road in a hostile environment. This is not their first big game together and have done a pretty good job all season.

In the end, both squads have played well, and tough to call, but the General O has it, slightly….

Advantage=Generals

DEFENSIVE LINE

The Blaze are not as large as many, but again, they are very, very quick. Last game, they made is very tough for the usually steam rolling Wolfpack to run inside or outside and at times, had pressure n the QB, forcing errand throws, a BIG int and disrupting running schemes.
Price, Storey and Adams are amongst the names you will hear called out by ‘the voice’ of the game announcer, but hands down, Price is the head of this squad. An excellent pass rusher, but smart enough not to get caught up field on sweeps and he will need to be on his game this week.

The Generals have a very large and agile line that can basically do what they want, when they want. Pressure on the QB is almost automatic and they stuffed the run on a very good, strong Wildcat O line last week.
We didn’t get a name, but it appears #98 is one of the leaders, although not much of a talker, he does this with his play. And mentioned previously, their D line had an INT returned for a TD 3 weeks ago vs the Hitmen.
Yes, the D-line
This group is good, boys.
At the end of the day, not even head to head, strength of who’ve they played get the nod in this, as based off their performance last week, and all year around, the Blaze have the edge here.

Advantage=Blaze

LINEBACKER

Ahhh, here we go!

The Blaze have a good group. Fast, smart and actually, sort of large. They love to gang tackle and actually play as I did when I played. If they have a shortcoming, is that they can be overaggressive at times, but they make up for it usually during the game if it happens.
Nathan Kiefer may be one of the best not only at this position, but in the league itself and is one of the most sure tacklers we’ve seen in a long time.
They don’t usually blitz allot, but when they do, they make sure they get there.

The Generals have probable the fastest LB group in the league, but don’t think for a second that this means ‘undersized’. There’s a reason for all those shut outs- and these guys have allot to do with that.
Bobby Asbury may be the fastest of these and to say hard hitter is an understatement.
What I like about these guys is that they will take on anyone, and anything on their paths and annihilate it. They almost seem to enjoy hitting and contact, which is what a LB core is supposed to do, but what they also do better than most is drop into coverage.
We’ve counted at least 4 picks they got from simply being in position on slants and disguising blitzes.

When all said and done, this one was way too tough to call in one direction.


Advantage=Push


DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD

There are many, many stars out here on both teams, some of which will need to shine Saturday!
The Blaze were criticized in this area, but I can say with all honestly that I don’t know why. They are exceptionally disciplined and fast, but they also – like the LB’s in front of them, like to hit. They get off WR blocks well, and also are pretty good tacklers.
Wadley and Reed are among the leaders here, but the guy to watch out for is Hughes.
He is known for making going across the middle a treacherous way to go for WR’s and the entire core will pick you off, even if you throw the ball well.
This may be the most underrated group in the IFL, but certainly not by me or anyone on our staff.

The Generals have a great group that been spectacular all season. Without a doubt, this is the most agile and flat out fastest group in the league.
#6 Robbie and #23 are extremely aggressive and have no issue playing right up in any WR’s grill all game. In all honesty, this is the only tandem that will do this against anyone, anytime with no fear of getting beaten deep, and that due to #2 being behind them to pick off any throws made that miss their mark and take it straight to the house. (well, maybe a zig or zag along the way)

The two groups are different in some ways and same in others, but again, I personally think that THIS group for both sides may ultimately decide this game.
Hats off to both sides, but I do give another sliiiiiiight nod to one..

Advantage=Generals


OFFFENSIVE BACKFIELD

Again, both groups here are great.

The Generals have a great running game, despite the extreme success they have through the air each game and have the backs to prove it.
Darren Dougthit is a great back, shifty, fast and a great amount of power, he is a threat each and every time he touches the ball. They do have a good all around backfield, but this is the guy that usually hurts you the most if you’re on D, especially heading around the corners.
If he gets going, it will certainly spell curtains for the Blaze unless the D stops the Pass.

The Blaze have; in our minds here, the very best TB in the league in Robbie Crockett and we’ve had no argument that can be supported through numbers or film.
Not only is this man a threat with speed and power, he is a surprisingly great pass catcher from the backfield as well. Another one who is a threat to go all the way, but a rare back who actually gets stronger as the game goes on and is great in pass protection.
As good as the Generals backs are, this one was not as close.

Advantage=Blaze


WIDE RECIEVERS

Though being a strong running team, the Blaze have very, very good wideouts. They catch well, are good route runners and block well. No fear over the middle, they show that they are not to overshadowed by the mountainous reputation of the run game.
Look for the entire group of White, Wells, Chad Drake, But the guy we think may be wthe wildcard is #5 Van Dam. He is not a blazer, but he is often the check down guy and has excellent hands.
Quite often, he is the Austin Collie for this offense and even with the talent they posses, he seems to be a main factor in moving the ball, if not always changing the scoreboard.

The Generals easily have the best group in the league here. But the “man’ we love most here is #89 TE Kyle Regan. If you look up TE in the dic…..I mean, Google Tight End, his pic is there.
As we said last year, this is the best TE in the league and maybe one of the best semi pro TE’s in the state (from what we’ve seen) in every area. Blacking, catching, hitting – you name it.
If they do get him involved early, it’s a long day for the Blaze.
And everyone watching knows this.

Advantage=Generals


QUARTERBACK

Alex Hakes is another very quiet leader who has led this Blaze team this year. If you looked at him off the field, he reminds me a bit of when I met Kurt Warner 2 years ago. Very nice guy, humble, yet you don’t say “Ill bet he’s the QB.”
Then you see him play.
He is pretty agile and can move out of trouble when he needs to. An occasional toss into coverage is about the only flaw he may make, and he will need to make sure he does not this week, or he may be responsible for a TD pass- courtesy of the General D.
If he takes care of the ball, they will be in this one.

We all know Jeremy Hibblein (sp?) is about the best there is and will be a huge key in this game. O hate to sound to blunt, but if he is on, there is little anyone on the defense can truly do to stop him. However, that is not to say this will be an automatic win for the Generals.
Few, if any teams have put pressure on him this season, but in recent past, it hasn’t bothered him much. He will have to make sure visions of last season do not dance in his mind as they can on any player. All he need do is be the same QB he is year around, and this will be his biggest/best game of his career.

Advantage=Generals


SPECIAL TEAMS

Its hard to say how important this area is, but I will say that it was a huge factor in the Blaze game last week.
You remember above I said that a DB/SS to look out for is Hughes, well here is yet another area he is to be dangerous.
Last week, he returned a punt 68 yard against the Pack that was in my mind, THE turning point in the game. A return in this game early could very well swing the tide and direction of this contest, and maybe for the entire outcome.
Kicker Bartman and Punter Haggerty are both strong legged and accurate. And to be sure as will be on both sides, they will HAVE to be Saturday, no doubt.
As far as coverage, they do a pretty decent job on both sides, and returns usually average out to the 33 yard line.

The Generals have “the undertaker” who gets that name for being able to simply bury the opposition with punting, and I’d like to add, deadly accurate kicking as well.
A fierce competitor, as times I’ve wondered if he actually is a LB with a strong leg.
The return squad is a god one, averaging out to the 38, and like the Blaze, they have a very dangerous return man in #2 Monsanto Love.
I actually predict he may have one go the distance, which if it’s true and happens early, this will open up the game.
Their coverage teams are excellent and punt coverage gunners are good.
But sorry, Ill never go against the undertaker.

Advantage=Generals


COACHING

Well, the two men here are no strangers to success and wins, and close calls.
Both have won championships, yet also lost on close ones.
J.T. has many wins, a strong falling of fans and players, a candidate for the next level, and I’ll admit, I could’ve, and would’ve played for him. The no-nonsense, take it or leave it, in your face coaching style is right up my alley, especially if that alley leads to wins which it does.
Problem? Yet to win the IFL ship, so most of the growling you hear from him now is from his and his teams gut, hungry. And the only thing that will satisfy it is a Bushman trophy, and an IFL championship ring. No one prepares like this guy and his staff, and it will show come Saturday.

Jason Doubleday is a great guy. Very concerned about off field things and put together a pretty good program up there.
He can get fired up, but I like that his players believe in him. When things go wrong, he very good at settling his players and talking to them. And since the Hitmen game, they have not lost.
Of course, much credit goes to the Blaze coaches and leaders on the field who many times are coaching themselves.

This is always a tough area to call, especially since I like both men and this one came to a vote here.
As I refused to vote, it ended in a kiss to your sister.

Advantage=Push

SOOO – that’s it, good luck!

Oh wait, I gotta pick the game..

The long road ends here and its so safe to say its been day and night for the teams involved.
The Blaze have had several dog fights, punched and clawed their way to this game, battle tested and come in healthy both mentally and physically.
The Gen squad come in having un defeated record and have not had a more than tow games in which they have not breezed through the competition.
The only time they have ever trailed was at the Cutters, a team that did one main thing. Didn’t fear them.
The Blaze don’t either, quite frankly, they don’t know how to.
That can be a good OR a bad thing.

But in the end, the hunger for what was within their grasp and a single point last year has the Gen-squad ready, and although there is a very reasonable, even plausible chance for an upset, I don’t think so.

On a 5-2 vote here, we think J.T. and the Generals finish what they started.

Generals 24
Blaze 14


That’ll do it folks, gotta head outta town and get back for the game in time. Packing up kids is always so much fun!!!

Hope to see some friendly faces up there, although I miss my boys from the Sherman tank!
Looks to be good weather and I expect a good crowd.

Anyone heading up should have a good time and se a great game. To be sure, this was one of the more exciting seasons in the IFL and look forward for more in the years/seasons to come.

Good luck to both teams, and we hope to be able to catch a few interviews before it’s all over with.

And with this being the last game of the year of the teams, and it being the single most important game of the year for everyone, play hard, play clean and as I overheard a Shamrock player say early in the year “Don’t do nothing you don’t want to admit to at the end of the game.”
Simple, true and wise words!

See you Saturday!!

Ya gotta love this game!


Vince