STEAM WILL HOST REVAMPED HEART, AS THEY TUNE-UP FOR THE PLAYOFFS
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA)- Tuesday, July 7, 2015)
Atlanta is scheduled to host Omaha on Friday in the team’s final home game of the LFL 2015 season. While this will be the third meeting between the Steam (2-2) and the Heart (0-4), Omaha is a different team than the one Atlanta played earlier in the season and the Steam must guard against a letdown that could result in an upset en route to the Eastern Conference title game with Chicago.
The Week 12 meeting with Omaha will be the final game for Atlanta before a showdown with Chicago that will determine which team advances to the Legends Cup. The Steam needs a W against the Heart to build momentum heading into the game with the Bliss, but teams can be rusty coming off an extended layoff and a slow start could result in a tighter than expected game. Atlanta has outscored Omaha 141-0 in the two earlier meetings, but the talent recently added to the Heart roster makes them a better team.
Quarterback Dakota Hughes leads an explosive Atlanta offense, an offense that leads the league both in points scored (178) and points per game (44.5), that has the ability to score from anywhere on the field. The reigning league MVP (and last season’s Rookie of the Year) has thrown a league-best 13 TD passes this season and hasn’t been intercepted in 63 attempts. She also leads in passing yards (403).
The receiving corps is anchored by Lauran Ziegler. The three-time All-Fantasy Team selection leads the team and the league in receptions (17), receiving yards per game (39.0) and touchdown receptions (6). Ziggy also contributes out of the backfield, rushing for 68 yards on 12 attempts and scoring two TDs.
Nas Johnson, one of the original Steammates, leads Atlanta in rushing with 119 yards on 18 carries-good for a 6.6 yards-per-carry average- and has scored four times.
Atlanta had established a reputation as a hard-hitting, physical defense over the first two years of the franchise and the 2015 edition has not only lived up to that rep, but has put an exclamation point on it.
Leanne Hardin has 25.5 tackles, most in the league, six TFL and one interception while anchoring the middle for Atlanta. Former Breeze standout Adrian Purnell is fourth in tackles (20.5) and has a sack and six TFL. She also has four receptions for 74 yards (18.5 Avg.) with 2 touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball. Zigler, another former Breeze player, has been a difference maker of defense as well as offense totaling 18 tackles and has a fumble recovery.
Omaha made a number of changes to their roster during the six-week break between games in an effort to field a more competitive team, adding QB Anonka Dixon, WR Heather Hudson and DE Leekplay Paye- all past All-Fantasy selections (Dixon/Miami, Hudson/ Baltimore, Paye/ Minnesota). The addition of such talented veterans should help stabilize the team, but it will take time for the players to gel (as the 40-0 shutout loss to Chicago confirmed).
With just two games remaining, Omaha must build some momentum for next season and since the Heart have been outscored 230-0 this season simply scoring would be a plus. Atlanta is the better team and should improve to 3-2 after another comfortable win over Omaha, but Atlanta must stay focused on the team in front of them and not look past Omaha to Chicago and the conference title battle that awaits them.
Steam 2015 Schedule
WK 1: Saturday, April 11 vs. Chicago (L, 27-24)
WK 2: Saturday, April 18 @ Omaha (W, 79-0)
WK 4: Saturday, May 2 vs. Omaha (W, 62-0)
WK 5: Sunday, May 10 @ Chicago (L, 29-13)
WK 12: Friday, July 10 vs. Omaha
Playoffs: Saturday, August 15 @ Chicago (Eastern Conference Title Game)
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
Be sure to get your tickets for this Friday’s game that kicks off at 8pmET at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia- July 10th Steam Tickets Here. The game will be broadcast a week later in primetime on national television via Fuse (check local listings), Saturday, July 18, 9p / 8c.
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