RMFL GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Dixie Rebels (6-0, first place, Utah South Division) vs. Utah Cobras (3-3, third place, Utah South Division)
Saturday, 7 p.m., at Dixie High School’s Walt Brooks Stadium
Previous Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Rebels and the Cobras, who moved up from the RMFL AA Division last year.
Head Coach: Dale Stott
Defense: Pro 4-3, Nickel
Last Game: Beat Great Falls Gladiators 61-0
Players to watch: QB Misi Tupe is unquestionably the star of this team, accounting for 1,318 yards of total offense and 16 touchdowns. When Dixie needs a drive, they usually eschew the passing game and let Tupe run the read-option with either Rimo Mapu or Sione Tapuosi at his side in the backfield. When the Rebels do throw (about 35 percent of the time), they’re not super efficient, completing just 39.6 percent (53-134). But the passing game provides just enough of a threat to keep teams honest and Dixie does have eight passing TDs in six games. Brennan Adams leads the team with 15 receptions for 360 yards and four TDs. On defense, Jordan Main has been spectacular, averaging more than one sack per game. Brandon Thompson leads the team in tackles.
Trend: The Rebels have played just one game in the last four weeks and that was a laugher over Great Falls, so the players have to be itching to get back on the field and hit somebody. The close victory over the Stealth on May 3 seems like it was a year ago, rather than a month ago. Plus, it’s been five weeks since Dixie had a home game. The bottom line is this: If the Rebels win tonight, they will clinch at least a tie for the division title. Dixie is the only undefeated team in the RMFL AAA.
Last Game: Beat Logan Stampede 28-20 on May 16
Players to watch: The Cobras strive for balance on offense, having rushed 159 times and passed 143. Hans Hatchett and Ty Talbot share the QB duties, with Hatchett attempting twice as many passes, but Talbot being much more efficient (completing 48 percent to Hatchett’s 39 percent). The two have combined for 621 yards (103 per game) and 7 TDs, but also 12 interceptions. Talbot leads the team in rushing with 413 yards and 4 TDs. Former BYU safety Preston Hadley leads the team with 22 receptions for 273 yards and 5 TDs. On defense, Cole Clark is a force with 28.5 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Hadley is also extremely dangerous in returning kickoffs and punts.
The Cobras are fighting hard to try and get out of the rut of mediocrity and make the playoffs, but the fact remains that they are a very average team. Dixie, on the other hand, leads the league in points, yards, first downs and rushing yards per game. The Rebels are better on defense as well. But the Cobras are no pushovers and have quality wins over the Mudd Ducks (30-6), the Arco Anarchy (22-0) and the Logan Stampede (28-0). Still, there’s no reason to believe that Dixie’s running game won’t have plenty of room to roam against the Cobras. Hadley may be the wildcard in the mix as he averages 33 yards per kick return and has taken both a kickoff and a punt back for touchdowns this year.
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