by Jeremy Vega, Vancouver Scout and WR

Hello, everyone! My name is Jeremy Vega and I am a SFL Beat Writer as well as a scout and WR for the Vancouver Legion. I can be reached on Discord @JeremyV4444 and it’s truly an honor to be a part of this amazing league. This is my first article for the SFL and I am always open to criticism, so please feel free to DM me with any suggestions or concerns, but please just don’t throw me to the pit where MEE6 and company live. I hope you enjoy this preview of the Dallas Ruffnecks!

OFFENSE

Owner and head coach Steven Mullenax has really put together a promising offense in hope of returning to the Championship Game to claim SFL gold that slipped through their fingers back in Season 8. With the team hovering around .500 last season, we were able to get with the Head Coach Steven Mullenax and ask what changes this season have him excited

“Last season we focused our offense around a running quarterback and although we had some success, we were unable to return to the playoffs for the third season in a row. This upcoming season, we are bringing back a more balanced offensive attack and our high initial investment in runningback Mike Davis shows our renewed commitment to doing so”.

The return of Mike Davis, who was out of the league last season, needs to have a great season to keep this offense balanced. His fresh legs and determination should equate to just that. Quarterback Macc Wavy Jr. led the Season 8 Ruffnecks team all the way to the title game and now has returned from the recently folded Cleveland Stallions to once again lead the Ruffnecks. Macc Wavy Jr. wasn’t the only player to come over from the Cleveland Stallions as the Ruffnecks signed Prince Escobar to keep that quarterback/wide receiver combination that worked so well. It saw Mr. Escobar lead the league in receiving yards and was on top of the league in touchdowns and receptions. Offensive coordinator Macc Wavy Jr. has been hard at work putting together game plans for the defenses he will go up against. When asked what defense in his conference he looks forward to competing against, he had this to say,

“The defense that I can’t wait to get on the field with is the Alaska Storm. Behind Steven M., I think Max Paul is the best defensive minded guy in the league. They’ve had a top defense the last couple of seasons, so you know they bring it and that’s what we want”.  

This much talent on offense should bode well for the Ruffnecks when you mix in rookies, such as wide receiver Shea Carroll and tight end Luke Vidovic, gives this team plenty of weapons and help them on their quest to be a balanced powerhouse. This offense now has its leader in quarterback Macc Wavy Jr., who we asked about the pressures of replacing last season’s Rookie of the Year winner Shabazz Psynergy while playing the same position the legendary Rocco Marconi played. 

“I was meant for this job, I was the QB for the Ruffnecks and led them to the Championship Game, which we unfortunately didn’t win. That’s my lone playoff loss in my career, so I know what it takes to be the man in Dallas. As for Shabazz, me and him have a great relationship and mutual respect. I worry about getting us in the right plays and giving my team the best possible chance to win and I think we have the best offense in the league. We hold the bar high in Dallas”.

DEFENSE

With an impressive offensive unit, let’s talk about the defense that is being forged in Dallas currently. The defense finished 12th in the league last season allowing a 3rd down conversion rate of 56% which was 3rd worst and a league worst -10 turnover differential.  It wasn’t all bad last year as their secondary finished second with passing defense mainly due to a dominant season by their star safety Troy Loshaw, who ranked as the 4th in tackles last season. The Ruffnecks defense has also added talent from the Stallions, like defensive end Maxx Blitz to go alongside returning Ruffneck Tee Cabell and strong safety Brian Shark to compliment Loshaw. Tee Cabell was out of the league last season, so his return will help solidify their defensive line. With Heath McDaniel Sr. returning, that gives the Ruffnecks three top 50 players on the defensive side of the ball. There has been a lot of talk about the Daggs family all over the league, but we will get to see the father/son combo at linebacker with the signing of Heath McDaniel II to add to the defense.This is a talented team with experience which will bring on high expectations from the owner all the way down to the players themselves. We asked Head coach Steven Mullenax what his expectations are going into Season 10:

“I think the return of players like quarterback Macc Wavy Jr, runningback Mike Davis, wide receiver Prince Escobar and defensive end Tee Cabell make our intentions for this upcoming season very clear. This group, plus linebacker Heath McDaniel Sr and safety Troy Loshaw, got us to the Championship Game two seasons ago. With their return, our sights are firmly set to getting back to the big game and coming away with our first SFL title”.

It seems as if the Dallas Ruffnecks have put together a strong team on both sides of the ball and are going to be a force not only in Texas but the Western Conference as well.

SEASON OUTLOOK

With the new conference alignment in place and schedules set for Season 10 of the SFL, a couple of things that stand out immediately to me is Dallas has three back to back road games on their schedule with all but one of those games being conference rivals. The Queen City and Houston match ups will be just as hard as their Alaska and Vancouver road games which could hurt the team’s playoff chances if they don’t survive that stretch. The chance to finish the season with two home games will be helpful in pushing for the playoffs as the Ruffnecks since the start of the season only yields two home games in the first half. We asked Head Coach Steven which team he looks forward to battling twice a year in the West as well as which game, or games, really jump out to him.

“I’d have to say Alaska. They defeated us in both of our meetings last season and they scored 55 on us in our final matchup. With a more traditional team build now in Dallas, I look forward to trying to get some revenge on Mighty and his talented crew. I think the Week 2 game against the Queen City Corsairs will be great barometer for the state of our franchise and our prospects for the season. A rematch of the Winter 2017 Championship Game and a win against Queen City would be a big opening statement for us. That contest is certainly circled on our calendar.”

The Dallas Ruffnecks will come into Season 10 looking to make a statement with their new defense and star-studded offense by staying balanced and letting their coaching and play on the field take them to the promised land, where SFL gold and legends, await them. My final prediction for this team is to finish with a top 5 offense and playoff berth. I see their record being 7-5 mainly due in part to the tough road games being back to back and a lack of home games the first part of the season. It may be a challenge, but it’s a challenge this team, its players, and coaches look forward to conquering to show the league, once again, why they were at the top of the league just a couple seasons ago. With that being said, I do wish this team and its players the best of luck and I want to thank everyone involved for being a part of this article and we will see the Dallas Ruffnecks come January 7th.

 

Thank you readers, JeremyV4444