2024 ICFL Championship Preview

by Jeff Gunn

Championship! Matadors (8-1) @ Aztecs (9-0)

Game prediction: Matadors 27 – Aztecs 15

The Aztecs have been an awesome Cinderella story this year. They’ve captured everyone’s hearts and I’d bet the vast majority of the league is rooting for them. They have this clutch dawg in them that always just comes through when they need to. But they’ve never been to a Championship game. I remember that feeling of the 1st one. It’s nerve racking. I know you guys are going Black, cuz it looks tough, but Orange is who you are. We did it cuz it’s in our name. But you don’t see teams in Title games wearing their alternate unis. You guys are Orange. And 11AM? Seriously. We had fireworks planned for a night game too. Sigh. Fortunately for them, their QB has been to more Championships than anybody. If they win, this would be his 4th team he’s won a trophy for. Super excited to see Colt join the Savage next year to get them 1 like he did for us. Now, this is going to piss them off, but I calls em’ how I see em’. I still think the Tecs are the 3rd most talented team in the league. If you go position by position, there are teams made up of individuals more talented. Ok, deep breath Tex. That’s ok. It isn’t an insult. Because your mentality beats more talented teams that have the wrong mindset. You beat us, you beat everyone. You’ve done it all year. You are the better TEAM. (I already know who that’s going to piss off, because they all 3 approached me after they beat us to ask if I still thought they were a liability. Those 3 players combined for 4 total tackles… so uhhh you make your own assessment). But you have my heart. I WANT you guys to win. Most all of us do.


1. Force Feed your stars. Yes, they will key on Hull. He’s proven time and time again, it doesn’t matter. Colon/Barber as well. Nothing to save them for. 

2. Blitz a ton. The way to beat the Dors is to hit Jared. He doesn’t like it. We spent all last week at practice talking about blitzing a ton, then for whatever reason, we didn’t. Don’t make that mistake. 

3. Don’t react to bullshit. I can tell you straight up there will be some absolute bush league trash in this game. But the guy who reacts gets the penalty. Don’t react.

The Matadors, on the other hand, have a very familiar feel to me. A team so tired of being in second place. I relate, we been there. So close, only to slip away. This is a redemption story. If you just keep working hard and get up again and again, (oh, and recruit 10 players from the team you can’t beat to sit on your bench) you too can finally conquer Goliath. And they did it missing some of their best defensive players last week. The epitome of perseverance. So now you just have to beat a team that beat you earlier in the season. Then you’ll get to dump the water jug on your coach, for the second time this year. Jeeze, imagine finally overcoming the giant obstacle in your way, to then still end up in 2nd place. Jared, you’ll get a #wompwomp from me. You can’t let that happen. And I don’t think you will. You are the vastly more talented team. But can you play together through adversity? Sometimes things don’t go your way, and I know the feeling of “Here we go again.” You have my brain. I think you will win. Though most (57%) seem to not agree.


1. Do what you do. I don’t believe you need to get cute. Trick stuff is higher likely to result in mistakes. 

2. Set Justin Garcia loose on DL. Nothing to save him for, so let the boy go both ways at times. 

3. Keep your heads. I can tell you first hand, the mentally stronger team generally wins in the post season.

QB Comparison: Jared’s numbers were absolutely deserving of 1st team and OMVP. He also spread the ball better among several stars, and even Peyton Manning’d his way into the endzone twice. Jared picked us apart better than he ever has. He had a great year, and will disperse the credit to his big boys up front. Rightfully so, we couldn’t get to him, and he’s stayed upright all year. Colt on the other hand relied primarily on 2 guys. Whether the credit goes to Colt or to the receivers, is both debatable and interchangeable. I really like the way he’s protected the ball, and stepped up every time his team needed him to. With his legs or his arm, Colt has willed himself and his team to victory. If this were a Heisman debate, I’d say Jared has the numbers, but Colt has more Heisman moments. Close debate, but I’ll give a slight edge to the Dors here.

RB Comparison: I’ve been wondering where Blaze has been all year. I recently found out about his lacerated spleen via Mount Igeihon. It’s a different attack with Blaze there. He’s your best back at making something out of nothing, and catches the ball well out of the backfield. And having taken the last several weeks off to recover, one would presume he’s relatively fresher than most. Osmer led the team in rushing at 42 yards per game. He’s the most dangerous, assuming he’s allowed to play? And Garner is probably the best 3rd string back in the league. The Aztecs Austin Barber is far and away the best back in this game. Both versatile and durable. And his backup Donald White might be the next best, and has the highest YPC of any back in this game at 8. I’d give the RB edge to the Aztecs.

WR Comparison: In a locker room you look at them and the Dors look significantly better. They’re bigger and look more athletic. Aztecs look too short, too skinny, or too chubby. But the Dors have sooo many drops. Grant is the outlier for the Dors. Easily the best of the bunch. Lanky, fast, and ultra reliable. Btw, I saw those shirts you guys made, and that’s hilarious! Epps had a really nice year, and is at times unguardable, though sometimes inconsistent. Taylor should be the best. He has the most raw talent, but I’m not sure what’s been up with his hands this year. Kapena has had a down year. I’m not sure if it’s more due to scheme or if he’s lost a step, but he’s no longer the #1 target. Then after a significant drop off, you come up on WR’s #5-7. Zavala, Gabe Hughes, and Crutcher who have all struggled at times this season. The Dors top 3 WR’s combined for 668 yards and 8 TD. The Aztecs are a 2 man show. Hull, the top WR in the league the last few years now. How he didn’t win any awards this season is an outright travesty. And Colon, probably the most impactful pick up of any team this year. Call me crazy, but it’s MAC that has put the Tecs offense over the top. Pretty much everyone else was there last year. The only real difference is Colons league leading 472 yards. The Aztecs top 3 WR’s combine for 970 yards and 15 TD. Huge gap. The Dors have the depth, the Aztecs have the better starters. I’m going Aztecs here.

OL Comparison: Here’s where the scales really tip. The All-Star voting would make you think Aztecs (3 1stteam, 1 2nd team) over Dors (0 1st team, 2 2ndteam). All this does for me is show me that owners don’t know how to vote OL because there’s no stats in front of them, so they just go by names they’ve heard before. The Dors had the most productive OL this season in my opinion. I still maintain BT’s is the most physically talented, but was outperformed mentally by the Dors. It’s down right ridiculous the lack of respect they got in the voting. The Aztecs OL was a toss up at 3rd/4th. Across the board, Steigelmeier is better than Mason/Bishop (I’m not sure which one goes right/left) at LT. Garcia is better than Boone at LG. Emry vs Joe is prob the closest, but still going Emry (if it’s Arguello that changes things, his snaps don’t connect). Sam Favela (an honoable mention? Are you kidding?) over Wyatt Johnson at RG. And Segali, who had a huge breakout year, was better than Mason/Bishop at RT. The trench edge is massively in favor of Dors.

DL Comparison: Cole Nicholson (one of the very few unanimous 1st team, and Sacks leader at 11). Putting Sasa Pualau 2nd team makes me think owners have never watched a Dors game. He’s one of the most dominant players in the entire league. Izzy Daffer with 8 Sacks. And Ben Tautolo, one of the few D1 players in our league, that has also had a better motor than most years. They are probably the 4 best DL in this game. The Aztecs are led by Gusters who did have a breakout year and was a most improved candidate. Llamas is their best overall DL, and he actually is really good. Then like Huffstutler and Adams? DL is probably the biggest positional comparison disparity. Dors all day.

LB Comparison: This one is closer, but not a ton. Sower had a down year statistically, mostly because of the help around him, but he is still the most fundamentally aware player on the field. The Leggett bros are a matchup nightmare. And them getting 0 votes outside of ours makes me want to punch babies. Those 2 only had 4 Defensive TD’s between them. Seriously, not 1 single vote outside of mine. Figure it out owners. Then Andrew Schneider in the middle, who led all LB’s in this game, at 42 tackles. The Aztecs do tout the best overall LB with Hoffman. Donny off the edge is a serious weapon, and Ghormleys 3.5 Sacks is notable. Gilbreath rounds them out with a very down year from last season. Kleffner get’s in there sometimes and is a solid back up. This battle goes Dors as well.

DB Comparison: Unanimous 1stTeam Strong Safety Pat Hamilton has had a monster year (2nd in the league in tackles 56, 1st in INT’s 6) and he was my vote for Defensive MVP. I don’t know how a guy on a 2-6 team can win valuable anything, but I digress. Hamilton put up those numbers with other great players around him. FS Zack LaBarbera didn’t put up the numbers he would have liked to, but not because he was bad by any means. Your FS shouldn’t be putting up huge numbers. But the corners on both teams are both teams biggest weakness. The Dors Pigott and Cummings combined for 2 picks and both often gave up deep passes. The Aztecs on the other hand only have 1 liability at corner. Posey is your high risk/high reward guy. Pick 6’d the Dors last year, but also gave up a 9 ball TD to the Sabers on the 1st play of the game. He is the guy the Dors will attack. 1st Team CB Joey Driscoll is very solid on the other side. FS Trevone Martin is one of the more underrated players in the league, and Willie Garcia is a baller forced to play out of position due to the presence of Martin. Trost is your next man up. This contrast is close, but gotta go Dors in a decent edge here.

ST Comparison: It depends if Oz is allowed to play. He’s the most dangerous returner, but was ejected last week, so a committee is deciding his fate. Colon is no slouch either and is also a game breaker at return. But kicker is Dors, Punter is Dors. So again, Dors.

Coaching Comparison: This one seems simple. The Aztecs made the most significant jump from last year to this year, and I believe the credit lies with the coaching staff. (Remember the days that Alex Wilson won Coach of the Year in back to back years with almost this exact team?) They also have a full 5 man (and woman) coaching staff whereas the Dors have like 2? And 1 is a player coach. Aztecs are the much better coached team.

Intangible Comparison: The Dors are more volatile. They rack up a lot of penalties (2nd only to BT). They have more experience, which should help them, but in 80 degrees, cooler heads prevail. The Aztecs are more disciplined, and I believe more motivated.

Best Match Up – Sasa vs Eli Boone. Boone is strong, but it’s tough to block a literal bear. It should be fun to watch.

Biggest Mismatch – Dors WR vs Posey. Dors should attack that spot, and Tecs should shade Martin that way to protect that spot.

Bold Prediction – A Dors blocked kick goes a long way toward deciding the game. Aztecs get another ridiculous lucky call on ST like they have the last 2 weeks in a row. This game doesn’t feel as close as the score makes it look.

Lastly, I just wanna say, Go Colt! Go Oz, Go Tay. Go Ben, and Sam, Zack, Gabe, and Kadun. I’m truly happy for you all of you guys. This will be the last game for some of you, enjoy it, because you’ll miss it, and I appreciated all the times we had together!