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Firecats News

2007-06-29

A Look Across the Field Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz

A Look Across the Field by Patrick Kuras

The Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz will play host to the Florida Firecats for the first time in the franchise’s history. The first game of the season saw the Dawgz travel to the ‘Cats house at Germain Arena on March 31 and come away with a loss to start their season 0-1. Oklahoma City will look to repeat what the Firecats did and pull out a big win at home on June 30th.

Oklahoma City is hoping to get back on the winning track this Saturday. Before their current 2-game losing streak, the Dawgz had won four in a row. Three of those four wins came against divisional opponents and the Dawgz are now 3rd in the National Central division standings. The main reason for the Yard Dawgz’s winning record is their stellar play at home, winning by an average of 16 points at the Ford Center.

Oklahoma City’s quarterback Stan Hill, the #1 ranked quarterback and the #1 overall offensive player, will lead the league’s top-ranked offensive team, against a Firecats team that wants to keep their winning ways going. Stan Hill is a gun-slinging quarterback who also leads the league in passing yards/game at 286.4. Hill will try to bounce back from a late-game melt down against 10-1 Rio Grande Valley in which Hill fumbled the ball on a sack after a touchdown pass was called back because of a penalty. After the fumble, Rio Grande scored a touchdown putting Oklahoma City down 11 points with less than a minute left in the game. No doubt Hill will want to atone for his mistakes and show the Firecats why he is the league’s number one quarterback as the Yard Dawgz look to make their playoff push.

The season-opening game against the Firecats saw Stan Hill share quarterback playing time with Jerad Romo, who both totaled just 187 yards and gave away 5 interceptions against the Florida defense in a 55-22 loss. Since then, Hill has locked up the starting quarterback spot and has added the much-needed stability the Yard Dawgz were looking for early in the season.

Catching the majority of the passes from Hill is wide receiver Danny Howard. Howard has hauled in 75 catches for 1046 yards for an average of 104.6 per game and 22 touchdowns. Against Florida in week 1, Howard caught just 8 passes for 68 yards with no touchdowns. Howard is like Hill in that he has improved greatly over the season and is now one of the league’s top-10 receivers.

If the post-season started today, Oklahoma City would be in, but as the 7th seed out of 8 playoff spots in the Nation Conference. The Dawgz will try to improve their seeding while ensuring they don’t slip out of the ArenaCup race. Contributing to the Yard Dawgz current seeding is the fact that they are the 4th most penalized team in the league, averaging 6 penalties for 69 yards per game.

The Yard Dawgz’ have had consistency this season, not losing more than 2 in a row all season long. After their 1st loss to the Firecats in week 1, they won 2 straight games, then lost 2, then went on a winning streak, rattling off four in a row, only to lose two in a row after that streak. Consistency is a major part of success in sports and Oklahoma City has shown that if nothing else, they can be consistent, whether it is winning or losing, and luckily for them, it has been mostly winning in this 2007 season. To add to the consistency of the Yard Dawgz, in their 6 wins this year, they have an average margin of victory of 14.8 points, and in their 5 losses, they lose by an average of 14.6 points. Hill and the rest of the Dawgz offense will have to protect the ball against the Firecats defense and score a lot of points to come out on top this week.