LFL360.com, Pete Richmire
(Photo courtesy Photography Unlimited, LLC)
With so much publicity given to the Atlanta Steam, a Legends Football League expansion team for 2013, it may have been easy for some to overlook the fact that there is another team making their debut this season.
The Omaha Heart kick off their inaugural season on Saturday, April 13th on the road against that very same Atlanta squad. Mention the lack of media attention to the coaching staff and players of the Heart, and they will tell you that is just how they like it. On a recent appearance on the Commissioner’s Corner Show with the Mitch Mortaza, Marcus de la Fuente and Tyler DeHaven, Omaha WR/CB Morgan Anderson said the team actually prefers “flying under the radar.” This sentiment is echoed by Heart head coach Dontae Allen.
While the Heart may feel as if they are out of sight, simply referencing de la Fuente’s recent article on LFL360 known as “The List” proves otherwise. Listed under the “5 Certainties for 2013,” #1 is the Steam going 0-4 and #2 says Omaha makes the play-offs. Seeing Anderson on Commissioner’s Corner and following this team on various social media outlets certainly makes it easy to root for these outcomes.
To make that happen, it will take a lot of team chemistry, hard work, and great coaching. Coach Allen notes “we are the best definition of a rookie team. Other than Shawnte’ [Bunting] and Jackie McDuffey, we have no one who has [ever played] beyond powder-puff or flag-football.”
Bunting worked out with the LFL Dallas Desire team, which suspended operations a few years ago while McDuffey practiced for a year with a team in Kansas City. Neither have any game experience.
The LFL game is far from powder-puff, but these players are ready to make an immediate impact on this league. The team has already seen the emergence of leaders on the field.
Coach Allen continued, “Morgan Anderson and Jackie Smyth both have [stepped up] on the defensive side of the ball; Linsey Noble and Rayna Berryman on the offensive side of the ball. All lead by example and are always making plays. Off the field, Sarah Nielsen and Brittany Morgan have been organizing workouts to keep the team in great shape.”
As for the coaching staff, Allen is assisted by Cale Good and Ray Rose. Good works with the offensive and defensive lines as well as special teams, and Rose calls the defensive plays. Allen is the offensive coordinator as well as the head coach. All three men have played football together and have indoor football experience.
Indoor football experience makes the transition to coaching the Heart an easy one for Allen. “”We are used to playing on a smaller field and know how fast the game can be…The ladies are very coachable and with them being all rookies, they have no prior knowledge, so they are soaking in all that we are teaching them and bringing it to the field.”
The current list of players working out with the Omaha Heart looks like this:
Ally Allen CB,S/WR
Morgan Anderson CB/WR
Brittany Benson S,CB/WR
Rayna Berryman HB/CB
Shawnte’ Bunting CB/WR
Lindsay Burnham S/WR, TE
Lindsey Burse DE/OL
Sheri Heimes LB/HB
Amanda Hogan WR/CB,S
Nikki Koley DE/TE
Ashley Lambrecht QB,WR,TE/S
Kelsey Lane TE/DL
Lesley Leach DE/OL
Katie McClelland TE/DE
Jackie McDuffey SS,LB/HB
Sarah Nielsen OL/DE
Linsey Noble QB,WR/S
Macy Smoyer WR/CB
Jacqueline Smyth DE,LB/OL
Sarah Jane Thompson CB,S/WR
Leslie Wells WR/S
Omaha Heart fans will get their first chance to see their team at home at Ralston Arena on June 1st when the Jacksonville Breeze flurry into Nebraska. Omaha’s final regular-season home game is August 3rd when they host the Baltimore Charm.
After their season opener against Atlanta, the Heart will travel to Cleveland to face the Crush. If this season goes as predicted by Marcus de la Fuente, the Heart can look forward to a play-off game or three in August. In any event, the first season for the Omaha Heart should be one to remember.
For tickets to Omaha Heart homes games visit www.ralstonarena.com/events/all, call 402-934-9966 , or visit the Ralston Arena box office.
Jacksonville Breeze @ Omaha Heart – Saturday, June 1st
Baltimore Charm @ Omaha Heart – Saturday, August 3rd