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Austin Outlaws Prep for '09 Season

Austin's women's football team is ready to bring it

By Ashley Moreno, 3:24PM, Tue. Feb. 3, 2009

Austin Outlaws Prep for '09 Season

Well the Steelers won … again. But I would hardly call it disappointing. It was a fun game. (And I, for one, always welcome the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of an aging musician’s love affair with self-tan and Botox.) Besides, the end of the NFL season means another championship opportunity for the team that really matters: the Austin Outlaws, our own professional women’s tackle football team.

Overall, the Outlaws had a good 2008 season. Rushing more than eight yards per play, they shut out the New Orleans Blaze in their home opener, as well as the North Texas Rage (twice). And with 15 sacks and 425 tackles, they also had a great defensive showing — despite the “Dark Side” defense’s multiple injuries. But they finished the 2008 season 5-3 and fell short of the playoffs. The team lost twice to the 2008 National Women’s Football Association champions, the H-Town Cyclones. And a frustrating 3-30 loss to the previous NWFA champions, the Oklahoma City Lightning, took them out of the wild-card race.

Bringing home a championship this year will depend on the Outlaws’ ability to strengthen their taxed defense while elevating their passing game to match their unparalleled running game. After recruiting this fall, the Outlaws roster sits at 54 players: 27 rookies and 27 vets. Provided they can bring their new acquisitions up to speed quickly, the Outlaws are in a good position to play well in a tough division that houses two championship teams and two new franchises in Fort Worth and East Texas. As they were securing this year’s roster, center and General Manager Lily Messina had this to say: “The key thing to accomplish before we even start talking Xs and Os is to get the team as physically prepared as possible. This means coaches don't have to spend as much time getting the collective group into ‘football shape,’ and we can start earlier on learning skills and plays. It also means we can get into pads earlier.” The Outlaws’ rookies will no doubt benefit from the expertise of several returning star players. Eight-season veteran Monica Gauck, who last year ran for 451 yards in 73 attempts and averaged more than 10 yards per pass attempt, will play again this season – along with running back/wide receiver Shadana Hurd, who last year scored 16 touchdowns, ran 1,256 yards in 110 attempts, and averaged 8 yards per pass attempt. The Outlaws’ 2009 schedule is now available online, and their first home game is set for May 2. Click here for more.

April 18: Outlaws @ Houston
April 25: Bye
May 2: East Texas @ Outlaws (Home Opener)
May 9: OKC @ Outlaws
May 16: Bye
May 23: League Holiday
May 30: Outlaws @ Lone Star (DFW)
June 6: Houston @ Outlaws
June 13: Outlaws @ East Texas
June 20: Outlaws @ OKC
June 27: Lone Star (DFW) @ Outlaws

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