The South Carolina Bulls have their work cut out for them heading into this weekend’s National Developmental Football League Championship game.
The Bulls head into the contest at 10-2 and are 15-point underdogs to the undefeated Dalton Danger. The Danger are the new dogs on the block as far as the NDFL is concerned, but they are without a doubt the favorites heading into this title bout.
That doesn’t mean the Bulls are planning on rolling over. It simply means that they’ve got to play fundamental football. Co-owner Jovan Hyman believes it comes down to mindset as well.
“The main thing coming in is that our team and the coaches on our side are under firm belief that we match up pretty well with the Danger,” he told Developmental Football USA. “Some of the things we’ll look to do is establish the running game and try to get our heavy backs going, and we look forward to doing that and playing clock management, sound football.”
“That’s what it’s going to take to beat a team like that.”
The Bulls know that the Danger is riding a ton of momentum at the moment. They’re coming into the championship game hot off a 34-15 beatdown of the Augusta Ducks. That won’t stop South Carolina from preparing to win all three phases of the game, though.
Offensively, running backs Thomas Smalls and Mario Ford are expected to play a huge role for the Bulls.
“They’ve done an excellent job carrying the load for us,” Hyman said of his running backs. “We’ve kind of gravitated this season to being a really aggressive running type team. Last year was a little bit different, we were more of a high-powered passing offense and this year we’ve gravitated away from that. Those guys have been two of our standouts on the offensive side of the ball.
Quarterback Jeremy Green will obviously be an important offensive standout for the Bulls as well, though Hyman did say that it’s hard to pick out just one or two players to mention.
Defensively, players like defensive back C.J. Mack and linebacker Chris Wright will be called upon to stop a high-powered Danger offense. Hyman is expecting his defensive line to step up and control the line of scrimmage, which is something they’ve been doing all year. He also knows his team won’t fold if the going gets tough.
Hyman is in his fourth season coaching with the Bulls, and he knows they’re mentally strong enough to face anything the Danger throw at them.
He related a story about a schedule change earlier in the season that forced the Bulls into a situation where they had to face an opponent, the Augusta Ducks, on only three days notice. The Bulls lost, but they put up a fight. They also learned that anything can and does happen in the game of football, so despite their opponent, don’t expect South Carolina to come out and play scared.
“The guys are really looking forward to this matchup, looking forward to the challenge,” Hyman said. “We’re coming into the game, from what we hear as 15-point underdogs, which is pretty unheard of for a championship game. But at the same time we know the Danger is not a team that’s going to come out and allow us to do what we want.”
“They’re going to come out prepared,” he went on to say. “We think they’re coming in not giving us any type of respect so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
“They beat the Ducks, they beat the Wolves…they’ve pretty much beat every team in this league that’s won a championship in the last couple of years, so this is going to be one of our biggest tasks,” Hyman said. If we’re able to overcome this, it’s going to be one of our biggest accomplishments as a program.”