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The Nevada Storm, Reno’s professional women’s tackle football team, will face their cross-state rival the Sin City Trojans in the first round of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) playoffs on Saturday night in Fernley.
Ranked #8 in the nation and #1 in their division, the Storm finished the regular season with a 7-1 record. Most of their wins were shutouts, and the offense scored 50 or more points in half of their games.
“We’re a very balanced team,” said Coach Chris Garza. “Right now both our offense and our defense are hot. Our offense is ranked 12th in the
nation [out of 74], and our defense is #5.”
Many players line up on both offense and defense. Garza, who grew up playing both sides of the ball in rural West Texas, acknowledges that “it’s tough.
“We call it ‘Ironman Football,’” he added, “or ‘Ironwoman Football’ in this case.”
At their final walkthrough before the playoff game, the Storm were confident.
“We have to play hard every play, and everyone has to do their jobs,” said Jesse Felker, the team’s leading rusher in the regular season. “If we play our game, we should win.”
The Storm beat the Trojans 28-12 in their regular season match-up, but the team isn’t taking anything for granted. The coaching staff and players alike studied film of the Trojans’ subsequent games, and at Thursday’s practice, they focused on adjustments to their standard offense and defense to counter their opponent’s strengths.
“I’m excited to play even better than we did last time,” promised Felker.
“I’ve played other sports before, but this is the first time I’ve been surrounded by women who are willing to take a hit, give a hit, and play hard,” said Ryia.
Catch the Storm in action this Saturday, June 15 at Fernley High School
Gates open at 6 p.m., and kickoff is at 7 p.m.