Regina Rage looking to break through in 2013
LFL360.com, Mark Staffieri
On the heels of a breakthrough 2012 season in LFL Canada, the Regina Rage are ready to build on that remarkable momentum for 2013. After missing the postseason by one game last year, the ambitious franchise is ready for a strong run towards the title.
The 2012 season for the Rage saw LFL US legends Nikki Johnson and Tessa Barrera do more than just suit up for the franchise. Both contributed as members of the coaching staff with Johnson as offensive co-ordinator and Barrera on defense.
Heading into 2013, former Jacksonville Jaguars competitor and Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL) defensive end Brent Hawkins is looking to add stability to the coaching situation. Having grown up in Godfrey, Illinois, Hawkins was named as Rage head coach on May 22, 2013.
A key weapon for Hawkins on offense shall be running back Kylie Rossler. The 2012 season was her coming out party as she emerged as one of the premier running backs (and one of the faces) in LFL Canada. Along with teammate Ashley Richter, both had a background in NCAA hockey.
With the absence of LFL US stars for 2013, Rossler will be counted on for leadership. Statistically, Rossler’s 266 rushing yards were second overall on the Rage (while ranking among the top five in LFL Canada); while she helped Regina average an LFL Canada-best 144 rushing yards per game.
Another player that will be expected to continue to contribute is defensive end Andrea Cecchini. Not only did she lead the team in sacks, but she ranked second in tackles. One of the most charismatic members of the team, she is also a fan favorite.
As a side note, Cecchini, a mother of two is also the wife of Hawkins. The two met when he played for the Jaguars. Although he still played for the Roughriders when she began her sojourn into football, he provided her with a lot of advice on hand moves and footwork.
His passion for the game is evident and should yield positive results for Cecchini’s teammates. One of the teammates that should benefit is Andrea Stengler. Having ranked fourth on the Rage in tackles, she is another promising Canadian star that will need to step up her game.
With the animosity against the Saskatoon Sirens serving as the league’s signature rivalry, any success for Regina will depend on their play against Saskatoon. The Saskatchewan Bowl Series in the football mad province embodied the intensity and excitement that is LFL Football.
With fans jamming into Regina’s Brandt Centre during the inaugural season of LFL Canada, 2013 must give them reason to believe that a brighter future for the team lies ahead. As Hawkins is proud to call Regina home, there is no doubt that he may be the one that can transform the franchise culture into one of championship caliber.
Saturday September 14- Regina Rage @ Calgary Fillies
Saturday September 21- Saskatoon Sirens @ Regina Rage
Saturday October 5- Calgary Fillies @ Regina Rage
Thursday October 24- Regina Rage @ BC Angels