The Cardinals linemen, from left, Dwane Wiseman, Trace Fallon, Bronc Hellander, Jesse Kurz, Jaysten Madsen and Trey Gallegos.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

The Cardinals linemen, from left, Dwane Wiseman, Trace Fallon, Bronc Hellander, Jesse Kurz, Jaysten Madsen and Trey Gallegos.

Cardinals, Steelers face off in Doak Walker championship

If you go

What: Craig Parks and Recreation Doak Walker Football fifth- and sixth-grade championship game

When: 5:15 p.m. today

Where: Woodbury Sports Complex, 350 S. Mack Lane

Cardinals team roster

Number Name Age Height Weight School

39 Jay Carico 10 4'8 69 Sandrock

23 Ryan Zimmerman 11 4'6 74 Ridgeview

20 Jesse Kurz 12 5'4 94 Home school

96 Trace Fallon 12 5'2 90 CMS

82 Tracer Hickman 12 4'5 75 CMS

77 Jaysten Madsen 12 5'1 91 CMS

90 Dwane Wiseman 11 5'5 106 CMS

44 Bronc Hellander 11 5'5 85 Ridgeview

62 Shandon Hadley 12 5'1 80 CMS

22 Kort Hathhorn 11 5'1 92 CMS

84 Trey Gallegos 11 5'1 132 Ridgeview

16 Garrett Uptain 11 4'10 75 CMS

Steelers team roster

Number Name Age Height Weight School

15 Corban Shipman 12 5'4 142 CMS

62 Trent Vernon 11 5' 90 CMS

55 Keenan Hildebrandt 10 5'3 100 Ridgeview

22 Cutter Barnes 11 4'11 87 CMS

33 Matthew Beran 12 4'10 93 Private School

17 Ed Guevara 12 5' 92 CMS

21 Peyton Jacobson 10 4'11 75 Ridgeview

77 Dusty Taylor 11 5' 83 CMS

22 Trystan Campbell 11 5'4 162 CMS

20 Gonzalo Guevara 10 4'9 60 Sandrock

39 Jacob Archuleta 11 5' 124 CMS

18 Dylan Kincade 10 5'1 92 CMS

23 Austin Flanders 11 4'8 70 Ridgeview

For the second time in 2009, the Steelers will face the Cardinals with the championship on the line.

This time, the linemen barely crack 100 pounds, the quarterbacks are in middle school and one of the toughest players on the field happens to be a girl.

At 5:15 p.m. today at Woodbury Sports Complex, the Craig Parks and Recreation Doak Walker Football championships conclude, with a pair of 5-1 teams facing off for the chance to be called the best.

The fifth- and sixth-grade Steelers and Cardinals have met before, with the Steelers riding a fourth-quarter comeback in Week 2 to hand the Cardinals their lone loss of the year.

The Steelers must forget about the earlier battle between the two teams, or they might be in for a surprise, coach Dave Derose said.

"The Cardinals are a hard-nosed football team," he said. "We played them before, and we'll have to play better."

Cardinals coach Justin Gallegos said the teams are completely different from the early season battle.

"We've changed the offense a lot," he said. "I'm sure the Steelers have improved, too."

When the Cardinals run the ball

The Cardinals offense is what Gallegos termed a "traditional set offense," but will take what the Steelers give them.

Their offense includes a variation of the "Wildcat" direct-snap offense, which the Cardinals call the "Wild Bird."

"If they can do it in college and the NFL, why can't we?" Gallegos said.

The Cardinals offense has a three-pronged attack, with Shandon Hadley, Kort Hathhorn and Garrett Uptain all accomplished backs.

Hadley serves as the quarterback with Hathhorn and Uptain running behind him.

Derose said the Steelers defense is about limiting the big play.

"We're big on containment," he said. "We're always physical and we want to control the line of scrimmage."

Because the Cardinals running attack is potent, not giving backs second chances will bode well for the Steelers defense.

"We have to tackle," Derose said. "We have to wrap them up and drive through."

Gallegos said the Cardinals will take all the yards they can.

"The Steelers run a spread defense, so it's hard to get big yards," he said. "We'll need to chip away and play the football we know how to play."

When the Cardinals throw the ball

Quarterback Hadley has options when he drops back to pass.

Hathhorn and Uptain can move the ball down the field, and add another dimension to the offense.

The real advantage may be with the offensive line.

The offensive line consists of Jesse Kurz, Dwane Wiseman, Trey Gallegos, Bronc Hellander, Trace Fallon and Jaysten Madsen.

The physical line is able to hold back blockers long enough for Hadley to get something going.

The Steelers secondary is quick and physical with Gonzalo Guevara and Austin Flanders.

When the Steelers run the ball

The Steelers run what the coaches call a "Western Colorado Offense," which features a mix of run and pass plays.

The secret to the Steelers running game is offensive linemen Trystan Campbell, Corban Shipman, Peyton Jacobson, Keenan Hildebrandt, Jacob Archuleta and Dusty Taylor.

"In this league, it all comes down to blocking," Derose said. "If you block, you can come out on top against anybody."

Leading the charge for the Steelers will be quarterback Ed Guevara, a left-handed play caller who limits his team's mistakes.

The Steelers spread it out, with multiple running backs and blocking schemes.

Running back Dylan Kincade provides the sizzle while Trent Vernon provides the steak as the Steelers' two main backs.

Guevara also is adept at running with the ball, which adds depth to the offense.

Cutter Barnes and Matthew Beran also run the ball.

The Cardinals defense can match the Steelers offense in terms of complexity and ingenuity.

Defensive coordinator Shane Hadley has the defense set up so the Steelers aren't likely to see the same formation twice.

Depending on what the Steelers run, the Cardinals are likely to put anywhere from three to six players on the line.

When the Steelers throw the ball

Quarterback Guevara is one of the Doak Walker league's top marksmen.

Throwing left handed, he can pick between Kincade and Taylor, who reeled in a long touchdown in the Steelers win against the Colts.

"The Steelers are a great team when they throw the ball," Gallegos said. "We need to know our assignments and cover all of their receivers."

When the Steelers choose to go deep, the Cardinals have a triple threat on defense with safeties Tracer Hickman, Jay Carico and Ryan Zimmerman looking for interceptions.

Shane Hadley has specialized blitz packages for when the Steelers look to go through the air.

But making sure the Steelers are down will be important.

"We need to tackle in groups," he said. "We need to finish our tackles. Last time, they beat us up because they were able to break tackles."

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