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Written by Cliff Grizzly and Matthew Slinn

Images by Jonny Law

The Slate

Keys to Victory

#4 Baltimore Vultures (11-3) @ #3 Sioux Falls Sparrows (11-3)

Baltimore – Offense (31.08 PPG/3rd in SFL) Defense (21.92 PPG/6th in SFL)

Well, this is it. The big show has finally arrived, and the Vultures just pulled off, arguably, the most impressive win in all of season 15 of the SFL. On the road, in the snow, facing off against the league’s finest team (in terms of record), Baltimore was able to overcome the odds and earn their way into a championship game. The final game of the season will be a great, physical matchup. Baltimore better come prepared to play a violent game of football on defense. The Sparrows are going to do what the Sparrows do: run the football. Baltimore must be ready to slow down Hart and Wells when they carry the ball. That one-two punch has been the heart and soul the Sioux Falls offense, and they will rely, once again, on them to be successful. How do you slow down such a lethal run game? Stack the box on early downs, and preach to the d-line that keeping blockers from reaching the second level is huge. On offense, TRoy Gaines needs to be active early and force the defense to slack off in coverage. The new Baltimore QB, Jack Wigmore, has done more than enough to prove he can take the top off a defense, especially when the opposing team is worried about Gaines. In games where Gaines is playing well, Baltimore has found major success. There’s never been a more important game, so finding motivation should be very simple. Win this one, and Baltimore can officially say that they are the best team from season 15.

Sioux Falls – Offense (28.58 PPG/7th in SFL) Defense (21.5 PPG/4th in SFL)

Last week, the Sparrows showed just how great they are. To be a team that relies heavily on one offensive scheme, it’s very impressive that they are able to dominate, even against the league’s elite teams. In the final game of the season, the Sparrows’ run-game will have to be firing on all cylinders. Sioux Falls will need to make this a rough, physical game, and wear down the Baltimore defense. Keep that clock running and don’t allow the Baltimore offense to spend substantial time on the field. On downs where the Sparrows must pass the ball, keeping a look out for the play-making safety, Giovanni Bolt, is going to be key. He can pick the ball off and put six points on the board in a hurry. The Vultures offense is well-balanced, and Sioux Falls must be prepared to stop a dangerous run game as well as a very threatening pass game. Will the new QB in Baltimore be prepared to play in such a big game? This is the perfect game for the Sparrows to turn the pass-rush dial up to 10 and get in Wigmore’s head early. Don’t allow Gaines to gash the front seven, and get heavy pressure on Wigmore, that’s the ideal scheme for Sioux Falls to pull off a victory in the season 15 championship game. It’s going to be a great game, and everyone will be tuning in. The Sparrows can cement themselves in SFL history with a win this week, so expect fireworks from first whistle to final whistle.

A short message from Beat Writer, Cliff Grizzly:

Since this is the final addition of the Season 15 “Keys to Victory”, I wanted to personally thank specific people for allowing me to have this opportunity throughout my rookie season. Slinn Shady, Jeff Gagne, and all other members of the content team who have welcomed me with open arms, thank you. When I subscribed to the SFL, I was simply a fan with big aspirations. This process has allowed me to learn so much about the different teams and individual players, while also getting to know several well-known figures throughout the organization. It has been my absolute pleasure to work with you guys. I look forward to learning more and continuing to be involved with the content team.
To the entire SFL, thank you so much for putting on such a spectacular season this year. It was an honor to write about each individual team and learn more about them. It has been a blast, and I can’t wait to join you in the ranks of the SFL. This truly is the best simulation football league a person be a part of.

-Cliff Grizzly