History was going to be set in the big battle between the Red Dragons and Explorers and Coach Davis and the Red Dragons wanted to be on the right side of it. It was a long 2 weeks going into the Relo Bowl, especially after the magical way they got there. Despite making it to the championship and dodging challenger after challenger, the Red Dragons still had plenty of questions to answer and doubters to make believers.
Going into the match-up with the Explorers, the defense was questioned about the dynamic play of the talented Mr. Robinson; and from reports last week before the game they were silent on how they wanted to handle him. Early it was evident what the plan was, force someone else to beat them as they played Celestin on him and put Stone over the top. This was something that they did not show in earlier weeks but they felt this gave them the best opportunity to not give up any big plays on the outside. This game-plan decision showed up early as the Red Dragons were able to come away with 2 turnovers on the first 2 Explorer possessions as they tried to get Robinson into an explosive big play early. The play of Celestin was remarkable and earned him MVP of the game and maybe, a stamp of best corner in the RFL.
The goal for the offense in preparation for the big game was to not make any mistakes. This went for the rookie of the year in Savoy, an offensive line that struggled with pass protection and a pair of backs looking to carry the load for injured star Bobo. It was clear what the Red Dragons wanted to do, which is what they do best in controlling the game with the run. It was not certain which back
would get the start but we know Coach Davis, and whoever showed well in practice would get the nod and the chance to shine. A tough ask against a dominant Explorers defense but Ninadino III, Fender and the offensive line were up for it.
Early the Explorers were able to take away the run on 1st and 2nd downs but the Red Dragons kept at it with multiple attempts to get the edge with power back Ninadino III and quick slashing plays on the inside with Fender, this seemed to be an attempt to confuse the Explorers defense based off tendency but they were not at all biting. The Red Dragons did not give up on the running game and as the game went on the sure power and weight of Ninadino III was hard for the coaches to turn away from and he carried the ball more than 20 times. The backs might not have had the game they wanted but the execution of the gameplan and the will to keep pounding is what made the running game efficient.
Also what can make a running game efficient is the play of a QB. Savoy was well sensational. In his media availability Savoy knew that these corners were great and that he needed to be spot on if he wanted to bring home the title. In the early going you saw that he was locked in, throwing dimes (sideline TD to McIntosh was both a great pass and fantastic catch and feet work by McIntosh), taking what the defense was giving him, and using his legs. Savoy was able to convert multiple 3rd downs by scrambling and making big plays. The Red Dragons were in control of the game early from their defense and Savoy did not want to be the reason they came back so he played a little more conservative than we are used to but when the Explorers made their championship push to get back in the game, he was able to stay level and stick to the gameplan and not press. This was maturity of the young QB, in his first year we have seen him grow so much and this championship game was the synopsis of a fantastic season for him. We said last week the key factor for this game was going to be the turnover battle and the matchup of Explorer secondary and the decisions of the QB. Savoy showed everyone he was ready for this occasion.
What a season it was for the Red Dragons, stay tuned for the year end review that will wrap up the season, look forward to free agency, the draft, off season plans, and all things happening within the Red Dragons organization.