NASHVILLE SUFFERS FRANCHISE’S FIRST REGULAR SEASON LOSS, AS CROUCH/GARZA LEAD HEART PAST KNIGHTS 49-25
(OMAHA, NE– TUESDAY, JUNE 11th, 2019) Omaha set a franchise record scoring 45 points against the Nashville Knights in their Week 7 battle.
In the past six seasons, the Heart never produced more than 34 points in a single game. Even those 34 points scored against the Pittsburgh Rebellion in 2017 was an outlier of a performance for Omaha. Typically the Heart’s boxscore features scores of single digits, often goose eggs. However, with the emergence of quarterback Lauren Crouch and Ana Garza, things will be different for this Heart team in 2019.
The Nashville Knights went 4-0 in last year’s regular season and fell just short of reaching the Legends Cup, losing to the Chicago Bliss in the Eastern Conference Championship. Ownership and the coaching staff have big expectations for 2019, despite a massive roster turnover that took place. After the loss to Omaha, it’s evident there is a lot of improvement needed before the Knights see any postseason action again.
In the game, both quarterbacks impressed. Omaha’s Lauren Crouch made exciting plays the entire game, which was as expected after her showing against Seattle in their opener. The energy Crouch brings to the field and her confident composure is something we haven’t seen by a rookie in the LFL at the quarterback position since Dakota Hughes’ rookie season in 2014. There is no doubt Crouch will be among the top quarterbacks in the league by the end of the season.
Nashville’s quarterback Molly Richardson is in her second LFL season after having the opportunity to sit behind KK Matheny a season ago. Richardson impressed in her starting debut as well. On the first play of the game, Richardson connected with Gabrielle Todd for a 35-yard TD pass and fans saw just what kind of arm strength and accuracy the Heart would have to defend.
Richardson and the Knights held a 12-6 lead in the first quarter after two successful possessions.
Omaha’s offense exploded in the second quarter scoring three times and holding Nashville to only one more score.
Ana Garza scored two rushing touchdowns and Crouch found Lindsey Burse for a 15-yard TD connection. Veteran Jacqueline Good had a key interception with less than 30 seconds remaining, which resulted in an Omaha score right before the half.
Omaha led Nashville 28-19 at the half.
A Danika Brace coached defense had already given up 28 points to the Omaha Heart which was a big surprise.
The second half was a lot like the second quarter. Omaha controlled the clock scoring on nearly every drive while holding Nashville to just one more touchdown to take the 49- 25 win at home.
Crouch was 5-of-11 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. She also averaged 5.4 yards-per-carry on 7 rushes and scored once on the ground.
Nashville’s Molly Richardson had herself a great outing herself with completing more than 50% of her passes (13-of-22) for 150 yards and two touchdowns in her LFL starting debut. Richardson did throw an interception in her outing.
Ana Garza had a fantastic game on both sides of the ball with 51 rushing yards, two touchdowns, 3.5 tackles, and one tackle-for-a-loss.
The Omaha Heart (1-1) host the Denver Dream next month and head to Atlanta in August for a game that will likely determine who advances to the postseason if Omaha can defeat Denver.
The Nashville Knights (0-1) appear to have a long season ahead of them. Their defense will need to improve greatly in order to have any chance at a postseason run, as they’ll likely need to run the table against Denver, Chicago, and Austin to finish their regular season.
|Passing Yards (Net)||150||81|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||36-179||39-227|