(OMAHA, NE. – April 29, 2017) One of two scenarios were going to play out in America’s heartland, as the Eastern Conference opened play. Either two of the LFL’s lower ranked teams would show why indeed they are ranked lower or one was going to surprise.

The latter happened, Omaha with a revitalized roster headed by the re-hiring of former head coach Dontae Allen, the signing of key former Heart players Lindsey Burse and Jaqueline ‘Wolverine’ Good as well as landing the one of the most coveted Quarterbacks in free-agency, Alex Drake – dominated play from whistle to whistle.

The Heart coaching staff devised a scheme that played to the team’s strength, develop a run game and bring Drake along slowly. Drake is not yet polished enough as a Quarterback, to win games with her arm.

In fact, Drake opened scoring with a 1yd touchdown run, Omaha ran off the first three touchdowns of the game with Drake, Shalynn Durham’s impressive 14yd touchdown run and in the 2nd Quarter, Arriyana Williams 21yd Morgan Spencer fumbled returned to the house.

Pittsburgh with its unproven roster, showed some signs of life, especially 2nd year New England free-agent wide receiver Jolie Efezokhae connecting with Spencer on a 34yd touchdown pass with less than a minute to go in the half, en route to a 19-6 halftime Omaha lead.

The Rebellion’s primary concern in the first half, was the lackluster play upfront, their frontline was often overwhelmed by a 4 to 5 person blitz scheme by Omaha’s defensive coordinate Kale Good.

In the second half, the front line of Pittsburgh did a 180, becoming far more aggressive and opening up running lanes for Sonia Osselborn, who finished the game with a mere 26 yards on 10 carries. Osselborn will need to greatly improve, especially with a faster start the remainder of the season, if Pittsburgh is to be competitive.

Despite some growth in the 2nd half by Pittsburgh, Omaha kept their foot on the gas, mainly on the ground. Drake adding 2yd and 1yd touchdown runs to extend Omaha’s lead to 32-6. A safety of Osselborn who replaced a struggling Spencer, on the final play, provided Omaha a 1-0 start to the season with a 34-6 win.

Taking two years away from the game, showed the rust on Spencer, only competing 5 of 17 attempts and throwing 2 interceptions as well as the late in the first half fumble. Proving why finding a franchise Quarterback, is any successful franchise’s first move. Spencer could be the band-aid solution for 2017, while Pittsburgh seeks out a younger Quarterback for the future, this off-season.

Defensively there were a number standout performances by Pittsburgh, Jessica Johnson made a few big plays from the corner position as did Remy Olinzoch. Tracey Wilmer who also had taken a number of years away from the game, showed flashes of becoming an attack-oriented defensive end / linebacker.

The schedule does not get easier for either team, as Pittsburgh licks its wounds headed home next week for a May 6th match-up with the Atlanta Steam. Omaha is headed to Los Angeles to battle the Ashley Salerno-led Temptation on May 12.

Pittsburgh Omaha
Score 6 34
First Downs 7 13
Rushes-Yards (Net) 19-10 31-144
Passing Yards (Net) 64 10
Passes Att-Comp-Int 17-5-2 8-1-0
Total Offense Plays-Yards 36-74 39-154
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 1-21
Kickoff Returns-Yards 1-25 0-0
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 2-1
Fumbles-Lost 5-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-39 4-40
Possession Time 16:12 23:48
Third-Down Conversions 1/8 2/5
Fourth-Down Conversions 1/6 0/2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 0/1 3/6