Semipro football: Utah Shock at Dixie Rebels, tonight, 7 p.m.

Utah Shock (0-1, 0-1 Utah North Division) at Dixie Rebels (2-0, 1-0 Utah South Division)
Tonight, 7 p.m., at Dixie High School

Previous Meeting: Dixie will meet the team that gave them fits in 2013 as the Shock swept the Rebels in two meetings last year, including the Rebels home opener in overtime, 27-20. The Shock finished the season with the top seed but were upset in the semifinals, denying Dixie a rematch.

H6SN_Dixie_Rebels_Semi_ProHead Coach: Dale Stott
Offense: Multiple
Defense: Pro 4-3, Nickel
Last Game: Beat Boise Generals 31-0.
Players to watch: The Rebels beat the hapless Generals without their top three running backs and starting quarterback Misi Tupe arriving to the game just before halftime. It is hard to gauge any progress though they did put 24 points up after halftime and they kept the Generals out of the end zone. Dixie is one of the top rushing teams with Tupe and Rimo Mapu in the backfield. Tupe’s passing consistency did not improve in Boise, but he did not have to throw the ball much. Defensively Jordan Main has been a beast, leading the RMFL in sacks. The Dixie defense has forced four turnovers in each of its first two games.

Trend: It was hoped that the Rebels could take last week against the Generals and get some on-field practice. (The Generals have a porous defense and a starting quarterback with a 4.6 rating.) But some key players missed all or part of the game. They have had another week of practice, though. While the Shock were upset last week, they had an offense that was able to move the ball outgaining the Sting 311-268. Two costly turnovers in the red zone and a blocked punt were the reasons for the Shock’s opening loss. Their noted defense shut down the Sting’s running game, but had trouble against the pass. Dixie brings arguably the best ground attack in the league, so it will be an interesting clash.

helmetCoach: Jared Emerick
Offense: Multiple, mainly split-back
Defense: 3-4
Last Game: Lost to the Brigham Sting 20-14
Players to watch: The Shock are quarterbacked by Jordan Wager, who started for the Cobras in 2013. Wager completed 12 of 26 passes for 188 yards in their loss last week. George Allums had an impressive game with 146 total yards, 71 rushing and 75 on two kickoff returns. Defensively, the Shock are led by Kelon Brooks and Troy Peterson. Peterson, who led the league in sacks last year, had six tackles last week while Brooks led the Shock with nine.

The Shock’s loss last week was truly an upset. Offensively, they may not be as good as last year, yet. But defensively, they are playing well, only giving up scores on two short fields and one broken play (74-yard touchdown pass). It was also their first game with a week to clear the cobwebs. Dixie faces a much tougher opponent this week. The Rebels offense will need to play with precision and the offensive line will need to handle Brooks and Peterson. Of note, one of the rental vans carrying Dixie players home from Boise last week rolled over during a snowstorm just north of the Utah border. Several Dixie players were shaken up, including Tupe, but fortunately no one was seriously injured.

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