BATTLE FOR THE MISSISSIPPI
Quad City Steamwheelers @ Cedar Rapids River Kings
March 7, 2020, @ 7:05 PM
U.S. Cellular Center
What do you get when a historic franchise travels a mere 85 miles to take on a revamped, hungry team that dons the IFL’s best looking uniforms?
Short answer: A colorful blast!
Long answer: To quote a former AFL ad: a lightning fast; up and down, side-to-side, whiplash inducing roller-coaster! You’re guaranteed to enjoy the ride!
To kickoff the Indoor Football League's best season to date, it’s a battle for the Mississippi River!
Cedar Rapids prides themselves as “River Kings”, but that won’t stop the Quad Squad from seeking to Steamwheel last years’ punching bag! Cedar Rapids was shut out twice going down the stretch last year--leading to speculation that they wouldn’t be back for another year. But they are! Despite their 1-13 season a year ago, expectations are high. The signing of Head Coach Victor Mann and Defensive Coordinator Trae Ivory has River Kings fans hyped! What’s more, is the offense is expected to shine with Derrick Bernard coming over from the Omaha Beef, looking to sling the ball to the likes of the great Michael Dyer (Auburn) at running back, Tamarick Vanover and Bones Bagaunte, who tore it up for the Columbus Lions a year ago!
The defenses for both teams have improved on paper, but how that translates to the field will be revealed this Saturday night! Quad City just missed the playoffs last year, but boasted the leagues best offense, led by E.J. Hilliard. He’s back! He still has Quintin Pedroza and Keyvan Rudd to throw to, but the Steamwheelers added Speedy Noil to the squad, so this offense looks to soar again! The defense has been improved with the additions of Kafara Valentine and former Washington Redskin Ondre Pipkins to that D-line. Malik Duncan and Antonio Marshall have the secondary covered.
Match-up to watch: The battle between the River Kings receivers and Steamwheelers defensive backs is most intriguing here. Bones Baguante vs. Malik Duncan! Tamarick Vanover vs. Antonio Marshall! Wow!
Prediction: Michael Dyer could be the X-factor in this match-up, however Quad City’s offense is a superpower in this league, and Cedar Rapids defense doesn’t appear to be enough of a match. E.J. Hilliard is a football magician whose tricks dazzle the viewer leaving them to say, "How'd he do that!?" The Mississippi River trophy belongs in Moline for now.
By Ducon Williams
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