AUSTIN LOOKS TO SPOIL SEATTLE’S CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER CELEBRATION ON SATURDAY NIGHT (OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEW)
(LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA- Thursday, April 7, 2016)
The 7th season of LFL Football in the US will get underway in the same city where last season ended- Seattle. It has been nearly seven months since the confetti fell on the Seattle Mist after defeating the Chicago Bliss in the 2015 Legends Cup Championship at home on their own turf. Last season marked the sixth straight time that a Western Conference team has won the Legends Cup. Will this be the season where a team in the East can win it all or will the West continue its dominance?
As Mist fans celebrate their team’s first Legends Cup Title with the unveiling of a Championship Banner, the Acoustic will be eagerly waiting for the opportunity make a name for themselves by defeating the champs. A win for Austin would earn them respect from every team across the league.
Watch LFL Football Night weekly on CW, MyNetwork TV or Regional Sports Networks (check local listings), also on the LFL’s official YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com Saturdays 9p/8c
Las Vegas Betting Line
Seattle- 13 points | Over/Under 44 points
In a town dying for a winner, the Austin Acoustic could deliver the excitement that has been missing in the City of Austin for years, as the Texas Longhorns have struggled. This franchise will be built around two incredible leaders, football players and most importantly, great character people, Quarterback Teshay Winfrey and Middle Linebacker Steph Wickett. Neither Wickett nor Winfrey have missed a single off-season practice or workout. The team also has one of the most vast coaching staffs in the league, led by first-year head-coach, Jericho Harris.
Offensively, the team’s success will be determinded by the play of Quarterback Teshay Winfrey. Winfrey has tremendous upside, but is still building on her technique and mechanics as a passer. The surprise of the 2016 season across the league could be rookie Running Back Jess Powers, with brute strength and soft-hands out of the backfield, Powers could contend for ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors if the front line can hold up. At the wide-receiver position expect the coaching staff see what they have with Chasity Morales, Tiffany Zimmermann, Leilanni Lopezand, and Renee Shepard who will get some targets Saturday night.
On the defensive side of the ball, the rookie-filled Acoustic will have their hands full defending the Seattle Mist. Austin will find out quickly how well the d-line will hold up with Emma-Lee Thomas, Tiffany Zimmermann, and Steph Wickett facing the strong front of the Mist’s offense. Kyler Hurt, Selena Fudge, Michelle Marshall, and Jess Power will be tested in the secondary defending Seattle’s stellar passing game.
Key for Austin
The key for Austin will be to surprise Seattle by playing extremely physical and delivering hard hits. Teshay Winfrey will need to protect the ball offensively, as turnovers would diminish any chances for the Austin to stay in the game. The Acoustic will need players to step up on both sides of the ball, know their assignments and make plays. Defensively, filling their gaps and getting pressure on KK Matheny will lead to success for the young team.
Players to Watch
Head-coach Chris Michaelson pieced together a dream team last season, bringing in key free-agents KK Matheny, Danika Brace, and Bryn Renda, that went on to win Seattle’s first Legends Cup. As the off-season questions surround Seattle’s ability to keep the team intact, Michaelson again impressed fans across the league by adding even more depth and talent to his roster. Acquiring 2015 Rookie-of-the-Year Dominique Malloy and 2014 League MVP Saige Steinmetz, will be a huge addition to an already electric offense. Also the return of former Mist veterans Shea Norton and Christine Moore will add to the team’s depth and versatility.
In 2015 KK Matheny had an as she completed 56-of-113 passes for 532 yards and throwing 18 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions in Seattle’s seven games. With all of the weapons surrounding Matheny this season, there is no reason she can’t duplicate those numbers if Seattle makes a playoff run. Saige Steinmetz and Dominique Malloy, when healthy, will add firepower with the running game as well as the passing game. Look for Stevi Schnoor to get plenty of carries and expect receivers Bryn Renda and Jessica Hopkins to get their fair share of targets on Saturday as the Mist offense should be able to extend the field and give Matheny plenty of time against the inexperienced Acoustic.
Defensively, a big off-season concern for Seattle was their secondary. The safety position, specifically pass coverage, was a need for improvement in Seattle which nearly cost them the Western Conference Championship, if it wasn’t for a few dropped passes on LA’s end. With the loss of Lily Granston and Kadi Findling, it will be time for some players to step up. Lashaunda Fowler and Mele Gilmore will be playing the corner positions with Jessica Hopkins at safety and Danika Brace in a ‘rover’ position. Seattle’s defensive front will have the most depth in the league with Katie Whelan, Stevi Schnoor, Saige Steinmetz, Shea Norton and Christine Moore.
Key for Seattle
The most important thing for Seattle is to not underestimate Austin. Overlooking the Acoustic could be a huge mistake, as the new franchise’s ability is untested. Offensively, the key for Seattle will be to control the line of scrimmage. With time, Matheny will be able to distribute the ball to her open receivers. On the defensive side of the ball, getting pressure on the rookie quarterback Winfrey will really put the test on Austin’s play making ability.
Ashley Baker- Knee – Probable
Danika Brace – Ribs – Questionable
Dominique Malloy- Out