River Kings Wrap Up 2019 Campaign at Blizzard
This week the River Kings (1-12) will be traveling to the The Resch Center to take on the Green Bay Blizzard (8-5) in the second game of a back-to-back series between the two teams. With the River Kings dropping ten straight games, they hope to find a way to end their season on a high note in the season-finale of the 2019 Season.
In the final home game of the River Kings first season since rebranding, the outcome was not how they would have liked it to go, as they dropped the first game of a two-game series against the Blizzard 56-15.
Dalton Oliver, River Kings starting quarterback for Week 16, completed about 50% of his passes (14-30) for 128 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Unfortunately for Oliver, his time ended late in the second half, as Ben Wilkerson came in to relieve the young Kentucky Wesleyan quarterback. Wilkerson was able to find success with his legs, leading the team in rushing yards for the game. Both quarterbacks have shown skill in different aspects, so it will be interesting to see which quarterback gets the start in this second matchup with Green Bay.
On the ground, Wilkerson rushed three times for 20 yards, while none ended in a touchdown, there were a few chances that could have. Nate Chavious also had a game that he would be incredibly happy to forget about on the ground, as he rushed six times for no yards. This part of the offense will need to be more productive if the River Kings want to end up victorious in the season-finale.
On the receiving end of Oliver’s passes, River Kings’ leading receiver, Marquel Wade, did not show up for the final home contest, so that did not help the already struggling offense much. However, Nate Chavious made up for his lackluster backfield performance by being the lead receiver of this week. He caught four passes for 50 yards. Drake White was the highest scoring receiver, as he caught four passes as well for 37 yards and a touchdown, which at the time of the touchdown, was a huge momentum boost for the River Kings. The next receiver, Jordan Smith, also had a four-catch game, which resulted in 20 yards, and he also had a [rushing] touchdown.
Our opponent for the 2019 season-finale is the Green Bay Blizzard again, but this game will be on their home turf.
Their quarterback, Lenorris Footman was very efficient with his passes, as he completed about 75% of his passes (10-13) for 166 yards and three touchdowns. There was a big issue with tackling receivers that Footman through to, which gave Green Bay a big advantage with their offense. The River Kings defense will need to step up and cause havoc for Mr. Footman if they want to end up victorious in this final game.
The main targets for Footman were Kezlow Smith (4 receptions, 82 yards, and 2 touchdowns) and Keshaun Taylor (4 receptions, 69 yards, and 1 touchdown). This dynamic duo is another factor that the River Kings will need to hold to minimal yards after catch if they want to find defensive success against the Blizzard’s air game.
On the ground, there was one man that had his way with the River Kings’ defense, and his name is Anthony Philyaw. He rushed the ball 18 times for 88 yards and four touchdowns. As the stats show, his performance was a big reason for the big win for Green Bay, so the defensive front will need to find a way to meet him at the line and break up his big-run capability. Towards the end of the game, his rushing numbers became more stagnant due to a solid performance by the River Kings defense, but at that point, it was too little too late. Quarterback Lenorris Footman also had a significant amount of yards on the ground, as he rushed twice for 52 yards and a touchdown.
To break it up easily, both sides of the ball must improve if the River Kings want to end up with a second tally in the “win” department. Their defense let up some big plays that should not have been as big as they were, and the offense shot themselves in the foot a few times. However, this team shows glimpses of promise, as they put together solid drives. Their downfall is being able to finish. Hopefully for the River Kings, they can find a way to finish drives with points, and finish defensive plays with tackles and turnovers.
To watch this game, you can either travel to Green Bay and watch it live in the The Resch Center on Saturday, June 15 at 7:05pm CST. If you’re unable to make the trek to Green Bay, you can watch the game live on the IFL’s YouTube channel.