Stampede seeking Elite Bowl I titleBy the luck of a coin toss, the Superior Stampede will have home field advantage against the Eau Claire Crush in Saturday’s NEFL Elite Bowl I championship football game, but after that there is not much separating these two teams. Both teams are undefeated at 9-0, they run similar offenses and are loaded with veteran players.
By the luck of a coin toss, the Superior Stampede will have home field advantage against the Eau Claire Crush in Saturday’s NEFL Elite Bowl I championship football game, but after that there is not much separating these two teams.
Both teams are undefeated at 9-0, they run similar offenses and are loaded with veteran players.
“The Crush will run a spread option type offense that focuses a lot on short routes by the receivers,” Stampede coach Matt Krivinchuk said. “They’re fast, efficient and they have a nice screen game.”
The Stampede and Crush will square off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ole Haugsrud Field, a place where Superior defeated the Chippewa Valley Predators 20-14 in last weekend’s semifinal game.
Eau Claire defeated the Upper Peninsula Arctic Blast 28-3 in the other semifinal game.
Like the Stampede, the Crush also boasts a very big and veteran offensive line.
On defense the Crush run an almost identical formation to the Stampede. Although a little undersized on their defensive line, the Crush has a great linebacking group that they depend on heavily. Also, another interesting facet to this weekend’s game should be the Crush’s special teams units.
Coach Krivinchuk said that they will run everything from onside kicks to fake punts.
“They’ll do whatever it takes to win.” Krivinchuk said.
The Crush, who have outscored their opponents 345-16 this season in the Eastern conference, are led on offense by quarterback Ben Luehrs (UW-Eau Claire).
Luehrs hit his stride in last week’s win over the Arctic Blast, going 9-of-20 for 176 yards with two scores and an interception.
After misfiring on 10 of his first 15 passes, Luehrs hit on four of his last five. He also threw a 40-yard touchdown to Josh Gawrysiak and a 15-yarder to Joe Salter.
Crush running back Wyatt Schneider rushed nine times for 39 yards and a touchdown and Joe Mapson cemented the Crush’s win by returning a punt 84 yards for a touchdown.
“They’re (Superior) undefeated and we’re undefeated, so it’s going to be a great game,” Schneider said, “and we’ll see who comes out on top, East or West.”
The Stampede, meanwhile, have outscored opponents 274-94, including the Chippewa Valley Predators, three times.
In the Stampede’s latest win over the Predators, quarterback Dave White led the way by completing 12-of-17 passes for 166 yards, including a touchdown throw to LaShawn Bullock.
White has thrown 13 TD passes with only four interceptions.
Kevin Guillory also had 21 carries for 106 yards while Joe Dupree rushed 12 times for 60 yards and two scores.
Superior’s defense is led by All-American linebacker Tim Manns (Minnesota State-Moorhead).
NOTES: Playing cornerback for the Crush is former Northwestern Tiger Dave Hildebrandt. ... The Crush are currently ranked No. 19 in the July 25 Minor League Football News rankings, while the Stampede are ranked No. 27. ... Saturday’s game will be broadcast by The Fan 560 WEBC radio and www.Ifan.tv.