The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 15, 2013

Joplin, Enid clash in championship game rematch

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— The championship of the non-pro Central Football League again has come down to Joplin vs. Enid.

Joplin again has the home field — Fred G. Hughes Stadium at Missouri Southern State University — but that didn’t faze the Oklahomans in 2012. They visited last season and rallied for a 28-21 win.

Kickoff is at 7 tonight between the Crusaders (10-0) and Enforcers (6-1).

The Crusaders, just like 2012, have in their favor a regular-season win against Enid. This time, though, Joplin needed a late field goal from Jason Bromley to prevail 31-28 on April 13 against the visiting Enforcers.

Enid and Joplin had little trouble last Saturday night in winning their home playoff semifinal games.

The Crusaders were stout on both defense and offense in defeating the Northern Oklahoma Ruffnecks 42-6. The Enforcers handled the Kansas Cougars 31-8 at D. Bruce Selby Stadium after stopping them 34-0 on May 18 in the regular season.

Joplin head coach Dave Pitts, also its defensive coordinator, didn’t mince words on Friday about the rugged assignment facing the Crusaders.

“They (the Enforcers) have no weakness,” Pitts said. “It should be the toughest test of the season for our defense. Their quarterback presents a difficult challenge.

“We expect an intense, emotional, competitive game,” Pitts said. “Our guys have been waiting for this game. Anything less than reaching the championship game would have been disappointing.”

Pitts has watched the film of this year’s regular-season meeting several times.

“We turned the ball over five times, I believe, and three times the turnovers came in the red zone,” Pitts said. “They scored after those three turnovers in the red zone. Of course, they also had two scoring drives on us.

“They’re an outstanding team,” Pitts said. “We can’t give them a short field.”

Joplin offensive coordinator Brenden Gubera echoed Pitts.

“We expect a test,” Gubera said. “It won’t be easy to beat a team like Enid two times.

“But I do believe we’re playing much better,” Gubera said. “We had problems with little things on offense the last game.

“We have more chemistry. We’re spreading out the ball more (on offense),” Gubera said. “Everyone on the offensive line has been playing well and they’re doing it at the right time.

“Enid defensively is very fast,” Gubera said. “They have a tackle who’s one of the best in the CFL. They’ll put pressure on our quarterback.”

Tonight’s game is a benefit for Hope 4 You Breast Cancer Foundation. A donation table will be available. Adult admission is $8 with no charge for military with ID. Also, there’s no charge for 16-and-under. Cost is $2 for college students with ID.