STEAM READY TO BATTLE BLISS IN SEASON OPENER
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA- SUNDAY, APRIL 5th)
The Atlanta Steam and Chicago Bliss are set to open the sixth season of the Legends Football League on Saturday, April 11 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in a game that pits the two teams that squared off in the Legends Cup last season. The Bliss used a powerful ground attack on their way to a victory over the Steam to secure their second consecutive LFL title in that game. Atlanta expects a different outcome on Saturday night.
Atlanta, the Eastern Conference champion, and Chicago, the Western Conference champs, are now both in the Eastern Conference as a result of league realignment. The Steam and Bliss are scheduled to face each other three times this season with the opener being the only home game of the three for Atlanta.
While always exciting, the results of most season openers have little impact on the season outcome but the LFLUS opener will play a key role in which team captures the 2015 conference crown. Atlanta finds itself in a must-win situation in Week 1 of the season.
Because the second and third games between the teams are in Chicago, a loss at home for Atlanta would most likely mean the Steam would have to win both games in Chicago to repeat as Eastern Conference champion-a daunting task.
Road games are tough in any league but the 18+ hour game day schedule makes it even more difficult to win on the road in the LFL. Having to beat Chicago twice on their field would make the road to the Legends Cup even longer. Coach Dane Robinson has made it clear that Atlanta believes they will beat Chicago on opening night to grab the early season advantage.
To win, Atlanta must find a way to slow down the Chicago rushing game-led by Chris’Dell Harris. She totaled 162 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Bliss Legends Cup victory on the way to a 10.8 yards per carry average. The Steam nearly doubled the Bliss in offensive plays (41/22) and time of possession (21:26/10:49), yet totaled 62 fewer yards in the loss.
In addition to getting some stops on defense, the offense must finish drives and the addition of former Jacksonville Breeze players should result in a higher scoring offense that can do just that.
Joining playmakers like last season’s Rookie of the Year Dakota Hughes (QB), Nas Johnson (RB), and Jodie Nettles (WR) on the offensive side of the ball for Atlanta will be Lauren Ziegler (WR).
The talent on this year’s Atlanta Steam has led to higher expectations which can only be met by walking away with a win in the 2015 Legends Cup. A victory over the two-time defending LFL Champion Bliss on Saturday night is the next step toward that goal.