Yard Dawgz Provide Offensive Threat to Vipers

Chris Yow@@ChrisYow14Analyst IMay 16, 2009

Last week Tennessee Valley struggled to find a way to put some distance between them and the Corpus Christi Sharks. The Sharks held tough throughout the game, but the Vipers defense stepped up in the 44-36 win.

This week, the offensive threats will be everywhere on the field. Tennessee Valley can not afford to allow the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz to come into the Von Braun Center and get into any type of rhythm.

Oklahoma City boasts the number three scoring offense in the league and are number one in offensive production per game.

Yard Dawgz quarterback Robert Kent has made huge strides this season with his accuracy and decision making. While completing less than 60 percent of his passes last season, Kent is, statistically, the best quarterback in the league. His 310 yards per game leads the AF2, as does his 77.4 percent completion percentage.

He has thrown 38 touchdowns to just four interceptions and can get it done with his feet as well. Kent averages over 20 yards per contest on the ground and has found the end zone six times this season.

Kent's favorite target has been the legend Al Hunt. Hunt's 565 yards and 15 touchdowns lead the Yard Dawgz receiving corps.

However, Oklahoma City has shored up theirwide outs in the last two weeks with the addition of Craig Fulton and Donta Bright. Fulton caught three of Kent's four touchdown tosses last week in the loss to Tulsa.

Tonight's contest will prove to be the toughest task yet for the Vipers number three scoring defense.

Tennessee Valley surrenders just over 42 points per game and is able to keep the opposing offenses in check for most of the night.

At home this season, the Vipers are +6 in turnover margin and have won the contests by an average of 35 points. Needless to say, the VBC has been friendly confines.

Yet another receiver emerged for the Vipers last week as Michael Johnson was a late scratch. Anthony Merritt showed his skill at Corpus Christi as he caught five balls for 60 yards and two scores, all in the second half.

Merritt joins Chris Bocage, Michael Johnson, Bradly Chavez, Jeremy Grier, and Larry Shipp on the Vipers' extremely deep receiving corps. Quarterback Kevin Eakin has no shortage of weapons at his disposal.

Eakin has been very efficient as well this season; he has posted a 119.58 passer rating and 39 scores to just six picks. Four of those interceptions came in the two losses earlier this season, both games on the road.

Defensively, Travis Blanchard should return to the secondary this week after a one week hiatus. Desmond Foster and Demetrius Derico will all have their hands full with the Yard Dawgz offense.

Oklahoma City started the year 4-0 before dropping a one point decision to Rio Grande Valley and last week's loss to in-state rival Tulsa, 75-56.

Tennessee Valley is looking to keep their win streak alive and push it to five games. The last time the Vipers lost at home was last season's final regular season game. Since then, Tennessee Valley has won five straight and will try to extend that streak as well.

Pit Prediction:
Oklahoma City: 58
Tennessee Valley: 61

Key Players:
Oklahoma City: QB Robert Kent, WR Al Hunt, WR Craig Fulton
Tennessee Valley: QB Kevin Eakin, WR Chris Bocage, DB Desmond Foster