River Kings Close out Home Schedule with Blizzard
After a blowout loss to the top team in the league in the Arizona Rattlers, the upcoming game against Green Bay has promises to be much closer. Although Green Bay is coming into Cedar Rapids after a big win themselves, the River Kings have something to prove to their home fans after being shut out 56-0.
In the air, Cedar Rapids thought they found their guy in Dalton Oliver. That being said, his performance took a big dip from his first outing against Quad Cities. Against Arizona, he was pulled after the first half when he went 5-13 with 31 yards and an interception. Ben Wilkerson came in during the second half, and although his throwing stats were not jaw-dropping (4-9, 49 yards, 1 interception), it’s what he was able to accomplish on his feet that wowed the crowd.
On the ground, Wilkerson was the team leader with nine rushes and 64 yards. Nate Chavious, who is on a bit of a dry spell, rushed six times for only 14 yards. The River Kings will need to find a way to get Chavious back to what he was doing in the beginning of the year if they want to find much success against Green Bay.
The recipients of Oliver and Wilkerson’s passes were relatively spaced out, but Marquel Wade was the top receiver with five receptions and 41 yards. Behind Wade was Ezell Ruffin. Ruffin was able to catch two balls for 37 yards, although 33 of those yards came off of an Odell-like catch towards the end of the game. Lastly, Jordan Smith caught two balls for a measly two yards. There will need to be higher production from both the quarterback, whether it is Oliver or Wilkerson, as well as the receivers if the River Kings want to get a win against Green Bay.
One of the major issues that Cedar Rapids had was their special teams. They had a couple of their field goals blocked, which would have caused them to at least put some points on the board, which could have swayed the momentum to Cedar Rapids.
Another issue that Cedar Rapids found themselves committing was shooting themselves in the feet in crucial ways. There were two scoring chances that got botched due to a lack of discipline and fundamentals. The River Kings fumbled three times, which ended in two turnovers. Had those two fumbles not been recovered, or happened in the first place, this is a completely different game. The score on the scoreboard is not indicative of how the River Kings played, although their performance was not one to look back on.
This week’s opponent, the Green Bay Blizzard, is coming in off a win against the Bismarck Bucks 40-10.
In the air, quarterback Lenorris Footman, what a cool name, completed about 60% of his passes (13-22) for 146 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Footman was able to split up his passes pretty even between two main recipients.
The lead receiver for Green Bay in the contest against Bismarck, Levi Copelin, was able to reel in six balls for 58 yards and a touchdown. The other main receiver for Green Bay was Keshaun Taylor, and he reeled in five balls for 43 yards and a touchdown. Nick Brassel and the rest of the Cedar Rapids secondary will hope to shut these two guys down in their matchup.
On the ground, Anthony Philyaw, another cool name, rushed the ball 12 times for 58 yards and a touchdown, and Lenorris Footman turned five rushes into 22 yards and a touchdown. Although in the quickie stats, it might look like Footman was a threat on the ground, one of his five rushes were for 21 of his 22 yards. Hopefully the River Kings will be able to keep Mr. Footman contained in this Week 16 matchup.
To catch this Week 16 contest between the Cedar Rapids River Kings and the Green Bay Blizzard, head on over to the U.S. Cellular Center on Saturday, June 8. If you’re unable to see the game live, you can catch the game on the IFL’s YouTube Channel starting at 7:05pm CST. This will be a big redemption game for the River Kings, so make sure not to miss it.