Greg Croshaw knows how actor Gary Cooper felt in his famous 1950s flick "High Noon."
The Dixie Junior College coach is set to lead his 14th-ranked Rebels (7-2-1) into an old-western, high-noon gunfight against the 4th-rated and unbeaten 10-0 Garden City Bronc Busters in the Dixie Rotary Bowl today at Hansen Stadium.Like Cooper, who faced a lonely high-noon showdown, Croshaw will go into his 10th bowl game short-handed: Not enough bullets.
Dixie has suspended a dozen players for the game following a brawl last week. The college would not release the names of the suspended players.
Four Rebels were arrested in connection with the incident - running back Archie Amerson, defensive back Clifton J. Williams, quarterback Marcus A. Williams and running back James W. Williams. All were arrested, booked into Washington County Jail and later released on bond.
Amerson was booked for investigation of felony riot and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. James Williams was booked for investigation of felony riot and misdemeanor disorderly conduct and intoxication charges. And Clifton Williams and Marcus Williams were each booked on misdemeanor riot, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct counts.
A two-time JC All-American running back, Amerson was the nation's leading rusher with 1,691 yards for a 6.2 average per game and 20 touchdowns.
With Amerson suspended, it leaves former Cyprus star Iioa Vakapuna, a 5-foot-9, 208-pounder, in his slot.
Gordon Jolley, the Rebel offensive coordinator, talked of the exploits of Vakapuna.
"Vakapuna fit right into our offensive scheme this year," said Jolley. "He's had an excellent year for a freshman.
"He's the type of runner who reminds me a lot of Fine Unga. He's built low to the ground and is a good north-south runner. He's a tough runner to bring down. He's really done a job for us when given a shot.
"Vakapuna is very capable and we expect him to have a good game."
Unga, of course, was an All-American in 1986 and became one of the finest running backs in Weber State history.
In backing up Amerson, the former Cyprus star rushed for 496 yards on 85 attempts for a 5.8 yards per carry average.
The Rebels will also be relying on the passing attack of another freshman Jamon Taylor, the former Payson all-stater.
The 6-3, 200-pound Taylor completed 113 passes in 218 attempts for 1,539 yards, a 51.8 percentage, nine touchdown passes, and a 116.5 quarterback rating. "Jamon has been very consistent for us this year, especially for a freshman," said Jolley, the former Utah All-American offensive tackle and NFL player with the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks.
Taylor's performance has moved another freshman former Alta quarterback Cale DeHart to the other side of the ball at free safety. And DeHart, a 6-4, 200, was an all-stater at quarterback for Alta last year.
Brian Veazie, the former Kearns all-stater, who played on the Cougars' 1989 4A championship team, returned from a LDS mission this fall and has had an outstanding season at offensive guard. The 6-3, 295-pounder also doubles as a long snapper.
Still, now is not the time to be facing one of the nation's powers - Garden City - in an old-fashion western gunfight without all your bullets.
But Croshaw, whose teams have been in nine bowls and won seven, will have a solid tradition on his side. He has been one of the nation's winningest coaches with a 104-36-1 record in his 12 years at the Rebel helm.
Croshaw will try to find a way without his nine suspended players to win. He will do it with the same type of grit that Cooper showed in "High Noon."