SAN JOSE, Calif---Meaningless? Hardly.
Despite locking up a playoff spot in Yakima on Saturday, the San Jose Wolves look to maintain their momentum and secure a 10-win season in Wyoming against the Cavalry this Sunday. The Wolves are also out for revenge against the only team to beat them twice.
San Jose’s 9-4 mark thus far has been comprised mainly of two streaks, a 7-1 stretch in which they established themselves as a potential threat to the defending division champs to open the season and an 0-3 spat that saw their only home losses of the season as well as a pair of heartbreaking losses.
But a nice win against the Yakima Valley Warriors and a forfeit victory pushed the Wolves over the top a week early. With the Cavalry starting 12-0 before finally falling last week to the streaking Wenatchee Valley Venom, the Western Division Championship game is set for Sunday, July 11th in Casper Wyoming between the Wolves and the Cavalry. This means July 4th’s game will be the first time in months the Wolves will not be playing for playoff position.
The game means nothing in terms of the post-season. Instead, the game will be about momentum. Wyoming has not won on the field since May 22nd when they handed the Wolves their first home loss. San Jose’s win last week was their first on the field since a last second field goal edged them over the Venom on May 15th.
Don’t be fooled, though. Despite both teams combining to receive four forfeit victories over the course of the season, they have also combined to be two of the top four scoring offenses in the entire league.
The key for San Jose has been their defensive execution. In the Wolves nine wins, they have only allowed 28.6 points per game but in their four losses they have allowed 58.8 points per game.
While Wyoming has been puzzling in the first two meetings, the Cavalry showed signs of mortality in their loss to Wenatchee. Quarterback Matt Strand turned the ball over three times, despite only throwing four interceptions in the first twelve games. The Wolves will hope to capitalize on that and hand Wyoming their second consecutive loss heading into the fourth meeting between the teams on July 11th.
When the Wolves and the Cavalry battle on Independence Day, both teams will be looking to return to the form that put them atop the Division from the start. Both squads will be looking to remove any dust left over from a tumultuous 13 game season and tune up for the following week’s do-or-die-contest.
And winning the July 11th contest means the crowning of the Western Division Championship and a shot at the League Championship two weeks later.