You are here
The Red River DI Club Conference title may well come down to this weekend's game between New Orleans and the Dallas Reds.
While the two teams have not, technically, clinched a playoff spot, it is virtually assured that these are the two clubs who will vie for 1st once the dust has settled.
And the carrot for these clubs? The national quarterfinals. The losing team won't be out of it - that club will face the winner of the West (Utah Islanders, Provo, or Boulder) in a play-in match on May 3. But the winner of this weekend's Dallas v New Orleans game will almost certainly win the conference, and will move directly to the national quarterfinals.
"This is the biggest game, by far," said Trip McCormick, Head Coach of the home team, New Orleans. "The Reds are an excellent side."
Dallas president Jeff Kolberg agreed: Obviously this is a big game for both clubs with the winner probably getting
the first conference seed."
So, that's settled. New Orleans and Dallas played to a 12-12 tie November 23 in Dallas. Playing at home should help the Louisiana side. New Orleans has essentially the same points for and against for homes games and away games. However, the records are different, as they are 6-0 at home and 6-1-1 on the road. That's because, the team they tied, and the team they lost to (HARC) have not visited the Big Easy yet.
If NOLA wins these last two games, they will have from 70 to 72 standings points - just about enough to hold off the Reds, who have four more games to play.
"We need to be patient and trust our systems to do what they do," cautioned McCormick. "We have improved most of all in the contact area. Our rucks are cleaner, and we are making more pre-gainline tackles. Our captain, Jarrett Falcon, has taken the
team on his back for the past several games and led by example playing with the kind of physicality that we will need to beat a team like the Reds."
Meanwhile, Dallas doesn't want to think that a loss would be acceptable, but they can live with it, especially if they deny New Orleans four tries, and get a bonus point or two on their end.
"We have seen them play since we played them in the fall and they are much better," said Kolberg. "They are very organized, run hard, tackle and kick very well. Our goal will be to hold on to the ball, eliminate stupid penalties and hope we are in a position to win the game in the last 20 minutes."
A large home-town crowds is expected, and Kolberg said that means his team will have to communicate better and concentrate even more than usual.
"The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win," said Kolberg. "Hopefully that will be Dallas."