After effectively displaying the combination of a hard-charging offense alongside a lock-down defense at their season opener last weekend, the St. Louis SLAM women’s professional tackle football franchise are aiming for a repeat performance at their home launcher this Saturday.
St. Louis (1-0) hosts the Madison Blaze (0-1) for a 7 PM kickoff at Lindenwood University’s Belleville campus (2600 West Main, Belleville, IL).
The Gateway City’s gridiron gang were dominant in last Saturday’s 31-6 road victory against the Indy Crash. In the contest (recapped by Arch City Sports), the SLAM scored all their points before a late touchdown in the fourth quarter broke their shutout.
Overall, the defending national champions of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) Tier II Division executed the type of play that they wanted.
“I loved the energy that was brought to the game,” reflected SLAM defensive specialist Jelani Kelly of the team’s topper. “Everyone was ready to taste their first hit of football for the season and the anticipation paid off.”
Quarterback Jamie Gaal had a pair of touchdown passes in the game as veteran receivers Keyonna Smith and Kaylee Neutzling each had six-point snares.
The SLAM’s 2017 additions also made an impact in the 25-point season-opening victory. Rookie running back Mary Altepeter notched her first WFA touchdown from ten yards out and defensive newcomers perpetually hounded Indianapolis every time the Hoosiers held possession.
“Our rookies did an amazing job this first game,” assessed Kelly. “There were many who really stepped up and showed that they were ready to be on the field. Altepeter scored her first touchdown and Tammie Moore played an awesome first game as an offensive lineman. They both are strong and aggressive and they’ll only become better as they learn the game.”
The SLAM’s special team units were almost flawless last weekend. Running back Taylor Hay converted 4-of-4 PAT kicks, Neutzling booted a 20-yard field goal and Danielle Price pounced on a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown.
The output from all aspects of play will need to be in place again this Saturday if the SLAM wishes to remain undefeated, win their eighth consecutive WFA game and continue their upward trajectory.
“The defense will be very important to our success this year,” said Kelly of her sistren. “This season, we face sound teams who will challenge us offensively as well as defensively. It will be up to our defense to position the team in a way that will allow the offense to put up more points than our competitors. That means keeping the opposing team scoring ability to a minimum.”
Saturday’s adversary, the Madison Blaze, is a new addition to the WFA this season after a tenured run in the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL), where they made appearances in the league’s “Founders Bowl” games in 2015 and 2016.
Their bump up to a more competitive level of play was evident in their season opener last weekend, a 44-0 home loss to the Minnesota Vixen, another WFA addition that finished their 2016 regular season undefeated in their former league.
The Blaze has numerous IWFL 2016 All-Teamers back in the fold this season including running back Kara Haines, two-way line-lynchpin Ali Bjelopetrovich and wide receiver/linebacker Pam Close. Quarterback Stef Brettingen-Nash and running back Nat Brettingen-Nash also contributes to the offense.
Although the opponent is unknown to the SLAM, the locals do not plan to take them lightly and Kelly is hoping for a solid, local crowd at Saturday’s home opener that will lend vocal support.
“It’s like playing the first game of the season all over again,” she said. “Our fans are a huge part of the SLAM organization. They’ve been supporting us and growing since our inaugural year in 2003 and it’s a privilege to get the chance to play in front of them. I’m sure I speak for many when I say we are eager to play at home this weekend.”
For more information on SLAM Football, go to their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
Arch City Sports will be attending Saturday’s SLAM game and will have a full report on Sunday.