Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Outlaws a really really good team

My compliments to Outlaw fans and players.  You know the 2013 Outlaws are a really good football team.  You aren’t letting the Dallas Diamonds games cloud your vision. 

(I don’t know how the Diamonds and a half-dozen other teams in the league got so good.  I just know they are.  The Diamonds outscored all opponents 411-20!  They scored 391 points more than opponents.  They averaged 58.7 points scored per game while giving up only 2.9.  They are ranked in the top four of the 49 teams in the league. )

Forget the three games against the Diamonds. 

Against all other opponents, the Outlaws scored 261 points, allowed 38.  That’s a 223 point advantage.   Among the 49 teams in the league, the Outlaws ranked #18 in points scored, #16 in points allowed. 

Their games were fun to watch.  Offense is fun to watch and the Outlaws had a lot of offense, averaging 37 points per game.  I love hard hitting defense. The Outlaws defense held opponents to an average of 5 points per game. 

I’ve been posting action photos in this blog and I have a couple hundred more to share with you in the coming weeks.  Cool action shots because of the outstanding play by Outlaw players.

The Outlaws had five players make the league All American team.  They are (in order of jersey numbers:

Toni Fuller, #1, Defensive Back

Joy Barry, #9, Wide Receiver, Kicker

Charmaine Jackson, #22, Running Back

Shadana Hurd, #24, Running Back

Sasha Avila, #62, Center

As I worked on this blog post, I noticed I have shown you lots of photos of Toni, Maine, and Shadana.  Backs get all the glory.  Not so many of Joy and Sasha.   I resolved to fix that with today’s post.  I searched my photos and found a lot of shots of Sasha, very few of Joy.

Joy is listed on the roster as a wide receiver.  It is a weakness of this photographer that I focus on the center of the field, trying to follow the ball from center to quarterback to running back.  I rarely get good shots of the outliers, the players farthest from the middle, the ends.   But then I noticed Joy Barry kicks the PATs (points-after-touchdown).  And I did have a photo or two of her doing that.  Although even in the PAT plays, I, being a former lineman, tend to focus on the line play.

Kicking Points-after-tochdowns is much much harder
than it looks.  Center has to get the ball to holder,
holder place it for the kicker...
Kicker has to time her approach, starting before the ball
is down, then has to hit it squarely.  This kice split
the uprights - one more point for the Outlaws.
So is the PAT kicker important? 

Remember the Houston game that was suspended because of bad weather and had to be finished here in Austin?  The score at the time of the suspension was Houston 14, Outlaws 12.  Two point differential.  Two missed PATs?  I’m speculating here; anyone who knows better please straighten me out in the comments section of this post.  But on the season, Joy hit 24 PATs in 26 attempts.  Missed only 2 out of 26.  I wonder if those 2 were in the first Houston game, still early in the season.  

Kicking PATs looks easy.  It isn’t.  It takes coordination between center, holder, and kicker.  The kick must travel about 27 yards, clear the goal post cross bar, and sail between the uprights.  Don’t be fooled by the way it looks in the NFL and college games.  It takes skill and practice. 

And it affects the outcome of the game.  We were losing to Houston 12-14.  We went on to win but those missed PATs could have cost us a win.  I only saw a couple Outlaw games this season.  I didn’t see a single missed PAT.  Joy kicked 24 of 26.  That is good.

Now to Sasha Aguila, #62.  The roster shows her as Offensive Line but I know she played center.  The center is generally the best athlete in the line.  The center starts each play bent over with one had reaching out to grip the ball, then handing or passing the ball back through her legs to the quarterback.  All the other line players have hands free and focus on attacking their opponent.  The center is delayed in attending to her opponent because first she has to get the ball into her backfield. 
I can't read the number on the player lined up against
Sasha.  But she's big.  And she doesn't have to worry
about getting the ball back to the quarterback.  When
the ball moves she has one msssion, attack.

Centers have to be quick and strong.  Quick enough to compensate for the time involved in snapping the ball.  Snap the ball and then fire forward to establish a block.  Strong enough to avoid getting knocked over by a hard charging defensive line player.  Sasha is 5'5" weighs 205.  Most of the defensive line players she faces are much bigger.

My photos of Sasha give you a good idea of how she won a spot on the All American team. 

Sasha is 5'5" and weighs just over 200 pounds.  Here she's taking on a larger opponent,
and clearly she is in control.  No way #62 is getting anywhere near the Outlaw ball carrier.
Following is a three photo series.  Sasha taking on 280 pound Erica Williams - and keeping her away from running back Shadana.
Sasha taking on 280 pound Arkansas Erica Williams.
Sasha is giving up nearly 80 pounds of weight
Sasha stays with the block.  The larger defender is going to
have to go around because she isn't going through Sasha.

And Sasha is successful.  The runner (#24) scampers away
around the left side of the field.
Imagine playing fifty plays in a game and every one pitting yourself against big strong oppoents. 
Sasha is in the middle of that mess somewhere.  Makes  me tired just looking at these shots.
Play after play after play, a physical struggle with big strong opponents.
And winning those one-on-one contests.
Viewing these photos, it is obvious to me why Sasha was named to the All American team.  She is good! 

She is one of many reasons the Outlaws are an outstanding team.

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