Rivals Rampage, Hawgs play for spot in SPFL championship on Saturday
WEBSTER CITY – Even dating back to the preseason, members of the Midwest Rampage have never shied away from their expectations for the season.
They want to win a Southern Plains Football League championship.
Period. End of story.
And they’re just two wins away from meeting those expectations.
The remaining road won’t be easy, however, and it starts with Saturday’s playoff semifinal game against the rival South Central Hawgs. The battle will be held at Webster City High School; kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
As always, there will be no admission charge for fans that would like to attend.
The other semifinal will feature the Southwest Huskerz (8-0) – the SPFL regular season champion – and The Panic (5-3). The championship game is set for July 18 at a site to be determined.
This will be the fourth meeting between the Rampage (7-1) and Hawgs (6-2) over the past two seasons. The Hawgs won both meetings in 2014, including 24-14 in this round of the playoffs, but the Rampage earned a bit of payback with a 23-20 victory when they met in Blairsburg on June 13.
The Rampage led the previous meeting 20-0 before a late-game rally by the Hawgs. South Central had the ball at the 1-yard line with a chance to win on the final play of the game, but quarterback Greg Gainey was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
Both teams feature an array of weapons on the offensive side of the ball and stingy defensive units.
Rampage quarterback Ben Jass has completed 62 percent of his passes this season (116 of 186) for 1,899 yards and 25 touchdowns. Wide receiver Gunnar Wyatt has been his favorite target – he has 47 catches for 832 yards and 13 TDs – but Jass has fired touchdown passes to seven different players.
Veteran tailback Ross Haren has churned out 804 yards on the ground and reached the end zone seven times. He was absent when the two teams faced off last month, but Kris Schult picked up the slack with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Stopping Gainey will again be priority No. 1 for the black and orange defense, which has allowed just 20 points in the team’s previous two games. Gainey has thrown for 815 yards and eight scores, as well as rushed for 253 yards and six more touchdowns this season.
Jeff Sipple has also seen time under center for the Hawgs and has thrown for 419 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rampage has allowed just one rushing touchdown all season. Veteran middle linebacker John Elkin has a team-high 63 tackles. Shon Osborn (51) and Tyler Kibbee (41) also have had standout seasons.
Defensive tackle Brian Miller has harassed opposing quarterbacks all season and owns 91?2 sacks. Tyler Mosbach (four) and Herb Bolden (three) have combined for seven interceptions.