Outlaws Douse Blaze in Home Opener

Some 500 fans stuck out last Saturday’s thunderstorm (and the subsequent 45-minute lightning delay) to watch the Outlaws’ first home game of the season against the New Orleans Blaze. No one left disappointed. Running back Shadana Hurd ran for 217 yards in the first half (274 total) and scored five touchdowns. Fellow running back/defensive back Monica Gauck averaged 4.5 yards and intercepted the ball twice. And in the final minutes of the first half, wide receiver Becky Lahmann scored a touchdown off a pass play from quarterback Julie Wilke. By the end of the record-length game, which Coach Narlen Baker rightly called “very physical,” the Outlaws killed the New Orleans Blaze 42-6.

If you missed Saturday’s game – or just want to relive the glory – please view the highlights video provided. (Oh don’t make that face. You know it’s awesome. It has theme music and everything!)

The Outlaws owe the bulk of their points to their solid running game, and more specifically to Hurd’s amazing yardage. Hurd scored her first touchdown with about nine minutes left in the first quarter, and then her second four minutes later. With about six minutes left in the second quarter, she scored her third touchdown off a 73-yard run, and with just 28 second left in the first half she scored a touchdown off a 75-yard run. Hurd returned in the fourth quarter for her final touchdown off a 49-yard run. For the game she averaged 25 yards-per-carry.

The high-scoring game placed additional pressure on the Outlaws' defense, which was already short on players due to injury. But the team responded well. Following the second touchdown in the first quarter, the defense forced the Blaze to kick on fourth and 10. Gauck caught the kick for a 42-yard return. She came through for the Outlaws again in the second quarter with an interception in the end zone that prevented a potential Blaze touchdown. She ran the ball for a 30-yard return before the Blaze defense brought her down illegally. The Blaze scored their only touchdown with just four seconds left on the clock, and the Outlaws blocked the extra point. Fittingly, the Outlaws play the Lightning (wink!) this weekend in Oklahoma City. The girls then return home the following weekend for their second home game of the season against the Houston Cyclones on May 24. Austin previously lost to the Cyclones in their season opener back in April. But of course, back then the Outlaws weren’t yet averaging nine yards-per-carry and 11 yards per-pass-attempt.

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shadana hurd, monica gauck, austin outlaws, new orleans blaze

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