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American Football - 25. April 2007.

The National Women's Football Association opened up their fifth season on the 21st April

BRYANT SEWALL PURCHASES PHOENIX WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM


The National Women's Football Association has announced that Bryant Sewall has purchased the license to operate the Phoenix Prowlers women's football team.

The Prowlers will be playing their inaugural season this year and going up against some of the more experienced West Coast teams including the Orange County Breakers and the All Valley Attack. Sewall has extensive credentials in the sport of football. He's played competitive football for over 30 years beginning in pop-warner and continuing through Austin College in Texas. While at Austin College he won two championships. While serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps Sewall was captain of his unit team and was selected to the base, west coast and service All-star teams. After leaving active duty, Bryant moved to Arizona where he has played continuously in the Ironman Indoor football league and the Arizona Football League through 2007. In 2002 Bryant joined the staff of the Arizona Caliente and coached as their offensive coordinator through the end of the Caliente seasons in 2005. "It's obvious I love the sport of football and coaching women to play football is just a great experience. They really love the game and I love showing them how to play. The team needed some solid ownership in place and I felt with my business background and knowledge, I could make it successful," he states.

Away from the field, Bryant runs a successful Forex hedge fund and Real Estate investment company. He also continues to serve as a senior officer in a special forces unit in the Marine Corps reserve and has served combat tours in Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

"We are very pleased to have Bryant aboard as a team owner and feel that his devotion to the game and his business expertise will go a long way in making the Prowlers one of the best teams in our league," states league CEO, Catherine Masters.

For additional information on the Phoenix Prowlers, please visit PhoenixProwlers.com.

OKC LIGHTNING TROUNCES RAGE IN DALLAS

Pennington Field; Dallas, TX – The OKC Lightning opened their fifth season in the NWFA on Saturday, April 21st against the Dallas Rage in Texas at Pennington Field at 7:05 pm with an impressive 60-12 win.

After almost a two-hour delay due to a Texas high school all-star game, the OKC Lightning and Dallas Rage took the field. The Dallas Rage, coming off a close and exciting 34-33 overtime win against the New Orleans Blaze, came out with both guns blazing against the Lightning. NWFA 2006 passer of the year QB #4 Jennifer Hull managed to get the Rage to within 8 points in the first two quarters, thanks to the 2006 NWFA receiver of the year WR #88 Rachel Golston. The duo combined on several key passes to help the Rage attain that 8-point margin.

However, Hull’s and Golston’s efforts were not enough to overpower the potent OKC Lightning offense, which includes the 2006 NWFA rusher and scorer of the year, RB #33 Iliana Calderon, in their march down the field to score 12 points in the first half. With this turn of events, this resulted in a score of OKC 12, Dallas 6. From its first score in the first quarter, Oklahoma City never trailed in game, amassing an amazing 48 points in the third and fourth quarters, compared to Dallas’ final 6 points in the game.

This powerful and strong OKC Lightning offense includes RB #33 Iliana Calderon (who rushed for 98 yards in the game), rookie RB #2 Jennifer Wehr (who scored touchdowns on 70-yard or more runs and ended the night with over 200 yards), RB #23 Lisa ‘Doc’ Rorick (who also had a 75-yard touchdown run), TE #36 Shannon ‘Shay’ Ford (who caught passes for significant yardage), FB #45 T.J. Goss and last, but not least rookie QB #22 Lindsey Belcher. The double running threat of Calderon and Wehr, as well as the tandem of Rorick and Goss, made the option a breeze for newcomer QB Belcher.

On the Lightning defense, it is just as strong and solid as it has been in the past. With the return of several seasoned defensive players, such as LB #36 Shannon Ford, DB #28 Erika Briseno, DB #20 Nyala Chiers, DB #26 Kristie Smith and DE #51 Shonna Jones as well as rookie safeties #10 Jennifer Bowen and #4 Malinda Malone, things were made quite difficult for the Dallas Rage offense. Time and again Rage QB Hull was thwarted and frustrated by this talented defensive cadre of players in the passing and occasional running plays. Malinda Malone was all over the field, as well as Erika Briseno, blocking Rage QB attempted passes. The defense stayed stingy on Dallas’ offenses, allowing minimal yardage and first downs on both passing and rushing.

With this said about the offense and defense about Oklahoma City, season opener game with the Dallas Rage proved to be one of the best that the Lightning will face this season. The home season opening game against the St. Louis Slam will prove to be an interesting game, with the slam coming off of a tough 27-14 win against the Columbus Comets. The Slam also features 2006 NWFA leading tackler of the year, Kelly Kozlen, who will be out to try to stop the new option double threat running game of the Lightning.

Once again, the OKC Lightning has a quest to win once again another Southwest Division title, a Southern Conference title and eventually a berth in the NWFA National Champion to be played in Nashville, TN this year. Last year, the OKC Lightning won the Southwest Division, the Southern Conference and ended up NWFA League Runners-Up against the D.C. Divas in the 2006 NWFA National Championship in Pittsburgh, PA, closing the season with a 10-1 record (the lone loss in the national championship).

For information on the OKC Lightning, please visit okclightning.com or call (405) 760-1406

Pittsburgh Finally Wins One Against Fusion, 23-14


There have been a good many changes for the Cleveland Fusion in this new season of 2007. Beginning with new owner Jason Lehrer, who purchased the team from original owner Kelly Antal at the close of the team's fifth-and best season.

One of the first things Lehrer did was to change the colors of the Fusion uniforms. In previous years they'd been purple and gold (which prompted inquiries of 'is that the Ravens colors? (No.) The Vikings?' No, to that query as well. This season, the Fusion are wearing the brown and orange of their male compatriots, the Browns, echoing several of the other teams in the league, most pertinently the teams of Pittsburgh: the Steelers and the Passion, who both wear black and gold. According to Lehrer, "football in Cleveland is brown and orange."

In previous seasons the Fusion had won each time they played the Passion, with scores of 29-28, 13-12 and 35-33; never by much, but the win counted, all the same. Saturday night, the Fusion traveled to Pittsburgh's Cupples Stadium for the opening game of the 2007 season for each team. Unfortunately for the Fusion the result was different this time as the Passion emerged victorious by a score of 23-14.

It was a hard-fought battle, with each team experiencing players sidelined with injuries, although none are thought to be season-ending. It was good to see several veterans of previous years returing to the Fusion this season, the first for new head coach Keith Johnson, who moved up from offensive coordinator.

Mary Deitrick returned as quarterback this year, playing three quarters before going off to rest an achy knee. After Cleveland kicked off, the Passion could not maintain possession, and Cleveland then scored their first first down just five minutes into the game. Less than a minute later Deitrick uncorked a 22 yard pass to Shannon Anderson and it seemed the two were back in the groove they'd occupied the first two years of the Fusion's existence. Alas, it was not to be, as shortly after that Tiffany Adams, returning offensive lineman, went down with a strained leg muscle.

Several other Fusion players from previous years also returned, and made valuable contributions to the team effort. Running back Martina Latessa again led the rushing effort with 52 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. Tight end Lisa Heinl scored the other Fusion TD on a 6 yard pass from QB Casey Stinson. Both scores were in the fourth quarter. Erica Ware scored on a 2-point rushing conversion. Ware had 40 yards total on 15 carries. Anderson had 5 receptions for 57 yards, Shauna Nevel had 32 yards on 3 catches.

Stefanie Russo, who is new to the punting effort this year, encountered a bad snap on a fourth quarter punt attempt, and the Passion scored a safety. Pittsburgh's three TDs were at 7:43 in the second quarter on a 5 yard run by Lyndsi Hughes; a 2-yard run at 1:36 left in the third quarter by JoJo Warner and a 29-yard run by Torina Henley with 3:14 left to play in the fourth. Eden Pleva kicked the extra point on the first TD, Cristy Laudadio kicked the other two.

On the defensive side, Jen Ryba, returning to the Fusion after a season away, contributed five solo tackles and five assists; Veronica Rucker had four solos and three assists, Stephanie Balochko contributed two solos and three assists, while Peru Barber had four and one.

The two teams played aggressively, resulting in numerous penalties on either side. The most serious of these was a facemask against Pittsburgh just after the two-minute warning in the final quarter, which led directly to the final Fusion touchdown.

Next game is Saturday April 28, when the Fusion travel to Baltimore. First home game for the Fusion this season is May 5 at Bedford's Bearcat Stadium, when they take on the West Michigan Mayhem at 7 pm. For tickets, go to: ClevelandFusion.com or call 419.271.4278.

-- Kelly Ferjutz - Staff Writer - Cleveland Fusion

New Orleans Blaze Begins Homestand Against Barracudas


Kenner, LA - Coming off a bye week, the New Orleans Blaze women's tackle football team will host its first home game of 2007 with an intra-divisional game against the Emerald Coast Barracudas of the Southern Division of the Southern Conference in the National Women's Football Association (NWFA).  The Blaze (0-1, 0-0) are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Dallas in overtime two weeks ago and are looking to even their record at one game apiece.  Emerald Coast is looking to do the same after a loss this past week to Pensacola.  Both teams come into the game with something to prove.  The first meeting in two years will take place on Saturday, April 28, at 7:05 p.m. at Muss Bertolino Stadium in Kenner.

The Blaze's loss to the powerful offense of Dallas left the team feeling pretty good about itself.  The defense was able to make a statement to the league that it will be a force to be reckoned with by registering eight sacks, a safety and four interceptions against some of the NWFA's top playmakers of 2006.  Meanwhile, the offense, led by quarterback Chris Zboril, used three different receivers to put points on the board and nearly pull out the win.  After two weeks of play, Zboril's 331 yards passing in one game is still second in the league in overall passing yards, and the Blaze has three of the top 10 receivers in Jen Ludwicki, Conner Fuglar, and Lynette Kokemor, with Ludwicki and Fuglar each over 100 yards.

The Emerald Coast Barracudas (0-1, 0-1) are coming off a tough season opener taking a pounding from Pensacola, 40-0.  The Barracudas feature star player Megan Johnson who has had some stellar games in the past, both offensively and defensively.   Johnson led the league in receptions with 71 a year ago, good for 639 yards and third in the league in receiving yards behind Dallas' top duo.  She also had a 20 tackle game against Shreveport last year, seven of which were solo tackles.  Returner Teborah LaFrance has sparkled at times in the return game and is a danger to get loose at anytime.

Blaze season and individual home game tickets can still be purchased via the team's website (www.neworleansblaze.com) for only $10 each with children under 10 getting in FREE.  Tickets are also available at Cold Stone Ice Creamery located at 910 West Esplanade Avenue in Kenner.  Game times are set for 7:05 p.m.  Three home games will take place at Muss Bertolino Stadium located at 620 West Esplanade Avenue in Kenner, while the May 5th contest will take place at Buddy Lawson Field (1824 Short Street), also in Kenner.

The Blaze competes in the Southern Division of the Southern Conference.  The Blaze is comprised of women from within and beyond the greater Metropolitan New Orleans area and offers them the chance to play a game they love.  For more information on the New Orleans Blaze, visit the team's website at NewOrleansBlaze.com


AUSTIN OUTLAWS TAKE ON THE DALLAS RAGE!

The Austin Outlaws Women's Football Team will host their second game of the regular this weekend, Saturday, April 28th against the Dallas Rage. The Outlaws are coming off a 49-6 win over the Gulf Coast Herricanes and look to put another win on the books this weekend.

The Outlaws look to battle the powerful passing game of the Dallas Rage with their own dominating running game, which will most likely end up as another classic gridiron battle. The last four games against the Dallas Rage have been won or lost within 3 points in the 4th quarter. The most recent win over the Rage in 2006 put the Outlaws in Round 1 of the NWFA playoffs with a game winning touchdown in the final seconds of the game.

The Dallas Rage and QB Jennifer Hull have passed for 600 yards in their first two games this season. Coming off a loss to Oklahoma City in week two, the Rage will be looking to ramp up their game against the Outlaws. The Outlaws, having only played one game so far this season, have already posted 321 rushing yards and look to take advantage of their success on the run.

The game will be played at House Park Stadium, which is located at 12th and Lamar. Kickoff is at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online at AustinOutlaws.com. Children twelve and under get in free. Half-time entertainment will feature several dance routines by local performing group, Hip Hop Culture.

The Outlaws are members of the National Women's Football Association and the only women's football team in Austin. The NWFA is the largest full-contact women's football league in the world with more than 40 teams nationwide. The Outlaws play in the Southwest Division and will battle rival teams in the Oklahoma City Lightning, Dallas Rage, Gulf Coast Herricanes, and the Pensacola Power.

For more information about our practices or team, you can visit the team website at AustinOutlaws.com. You can also contact Lily Messina at (512) 796-0108 or lily_messina@yahoo.com.

For additional information on the National Women's Football Association, please visit womensfootballcentral.com

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