ATLANTA READY TO COMPETE AGAINST OPPONENT OTHER THAN CHICAGO AND OMAHA
The Atlanta Steam (1-0) will host the Los Angeles Temptation (2-1) at the Infinite Energy Arena on July 9 in a non-conference match-up that will be the first meeting ever between the teams.
In their last eight games, the Steam have played only the Chicago Bliss and Omaha Heart, dating back to the 2014 Legends Cup Championship. In that span, the Steam have a record of 4-4, as they beat Omaha four times and were at the losing end of all four contests with Chicago. Finally the Steam will have an opportunity to face off against a team besides the Bliss and Heart, as they will face the LA Temptation who are a long-storied franchise in the LFL.
After opening the season in Week 8 of the season with a 77-0 pounding of the Omaha Heart (1-1), Atlanta is eager for the opportunity to improve to 2-0 against a Los Angeles team that will be much more competitive than Omaha.
The season opener for Atlanta was an impressive performance that put the league on notice that the Steam is the team to beat in the East. Outstanding individual efforts on both sides of the ball resulted in a team that smothered their opponent on virtually every snap of the ball.
A look at the final stats for the night reflects Atlanta’s complete domination of an Omaha team that came in believing they were going to earn their first win in the series after going 0-6 since the Heart joined the league in 2013.
The Atlanta defense held Omaha to 85 yards of total offense, including -4 rushing on 21 attempts, forced five fumbles (recovering four of them), had an interception, and four sacks. On 40 offensive plays, the Heart averaged just 2.1 yards per attempt.
In addition to the individual effort delivered by Hughes, a number of players had outstanding efforts in the blowout win.
Dakota Hughes was 16-21 passing for 176 yards with 7 TDs and no INTs. She also ran three times for nine yards.
First-year Steam player Brittany Demery led the ground attack with 61 yards on seven carries (8.7 Average), and scored a touchdown in her first LFL game. Tiara Elvin, another rookie, scored a TD while totaling 23 yards on three attempts (7.7). Jessi Locklear, in her second season with Atlanta, scored a TD on her one carry-a 15 yard burst. Lauran Ziegler got a goal line carry, and responded with a 1-yard TD run.
The air assault included seven players making receptions, including four that pulled in TD catches, with Ziegler leading Atlanta with five for 57 yards and three scores. Locklear was next with three (39 yards) followed by Adrian Purnell (29 yards), Dina Wojowski (18 yards), and Theresa Petruziello (17 yards) with two catches each. Both of Petruziello’s receptions were TDs. Demery (10 yards) and Amanda Ruller (6 yards) each had a catch as well.
Locklear led the Steam in All-purpose yards with 72 (15 Rush, 39 Receiving, 18 KR).
Ziggy was named the Player of the Game after a night that saw her impact the game on both sides of the ball in a major way.
Los Angeles will be a much better gauge of just how good this edition of the Atlanta Steam is. The Temptation comes in on a two-game win streak, averaging a little over 31 points a game while allowing 28 per game on the season. Add to the mix that two key parts of the LA team, Nasira Johnson and Jayne Caldwell, have spent time with Atlanta and you have the makings of a very good game.
Johnson was Atlanta’s No.1 RB for three seasons, but now wears the black and silver while Caldwell, a veteran of the Australian league, spent some time with the Steam working with Hughes, head coach Dane Robinson, and QB coach Dominique Robinson ahead of last season. Johnson is currently the top rusher in the LFL with 156 yards on 32 attempts and two TDs while Caldwell is No.3 in rushing with 116 yards on 18 attempts with five TDs. The Aussie native has also passed for 116 yards (11/25) and two more scores while sharing time behind center with Kiara Patterson.
No doubt that Los Angeles will be a more competitive game than the season opener, but look for Atlanta to emerge 2-0 as they head to the final half of their season.