Well, it’s back. The third season of SteelHawks professional indoor football in downtown Allentown is set to kick off tomorrow afternoon at 4PM. Good seats are readily available and inexpensive, so come out and take in the action and cheer on the Black and Vegas Gold.
Players To Watch
#4 WR Darius Prince, Jr. The 6’1″ WR/KR out of Penn State led all receivers for the SteelHawks last season and presents a big target for his quarterbacks in close or down the field.
#1 WR Brandon Renford The speedy Renford is Lehigh Valley’s all-time leading receiver and master of the TD celebration. He’s 5’9″ and has a nose for the end zone. His quickness in tight spots is difficult to defense.
#8 QB Warren Smith Jr. The PIFL and AFL arena-league veteran QB knows where to go with the ball and can pull it down and move the sticks with his legs as well.
#6 QB Ray Wagner The East Stroudsburg product stands tall in the pocket and has a rocket arm.
#33 FB Rustin Mayorga At 6’0″ 270lb “Mayflower” Mayorga is a load with the ball in his hands. Look for him to get opportunities to move the chains or push the pile for a score in close.
#22 FB Wyreaz Bradley The veteran of the indoor game is an even bigger load at 6’0″ 290lb. He’s out of Louisiana College and can run or block.
#15 DL Tim Hume Defensive Line has always been a strength of the ‘Hawks, and the veteran Hume returns to lead the group. Look for the 6’1″ 265 lb Cheney product to get after the quarterback.
#12 LB Chris Alvarez He can put his hand down and rush or stand and cover the short zones. The veteran of multiple campaigns in the Black and Vegas Gold has been called up to the Philly Soul of the AFL in seasons past. The rangy defender is 6’3″ 245lb and played his college ball at Rowan.
#21 DB Dom Joseph New to the SteelHawks, Joseph is a veteran of the indoor game having played against the SteelHawks with the Trenton Freedom in 2015. The 6’1″ Virginia Cavalier was chosen for his size and experience.
#24 DB Rodney Hall Jr Another big corner at 6’1″ Rodney played opposite the ‘Hawks last season with the Philadelphia YellowJackets.
The SteelHawks have been known over past seasons as a team with a very stout defense, pressuring the QB up front while a ball-hawking defensive backfield looks to create turnovers. Reports out of training camp this season suggest that the offensive unit is just as good–looking to score at will with talented players throwing and catching the ball.
The Dayton Wolfpack come to town for their inaugural game as an organization. They feature a fair number of two-way players who could get worn down during the game. Watch out for 6’5″ WR Kevin McFadden using his size to score in the red zone. You never know what you’ll get with a new franchise and it is possible they’ll be overwhelmed by the veteran SteelHawks–or vice/versa if the ‘Hawks underestimate them!
Game Day Notes:
Precious Metals Dance Clinic: 7:30AM – 11:00AM
Football Skills Clinic: 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Doors For All Fans: 3:00PM
Kick Off Celebration: 4:00PM
Half Time: Liberty High School Band
Promotion: Free hat for first 2,000 courtesy Service Electric.
Questions Facing the SteelHawks in 2017
- Can they finish strong? Typically a powerful team to start the season, the SteelHawks have fallen off as the season wears on, which has cost them home field for the playoffs. They’ll look to rectify that this season.
- Can they keep their roster intact? Just like any other minor league team around here, they may be subject to injuries and call-ups which can weaken the roster as the season progresses. Depth and health will be important for the 2017 campaign. Don’t be surprised to see both QBs play in this first game so that both are prepared for the season.
- Can they help the league succeed? Playing in the AIF last season was mostly a product of the late collapse of the PIFL, in which the SteelHawks were one of the stronger organizations. The newly-formed NAL should present with some more formidable competition overall, with better quality players and an emphasis on player development for the higher levels. We’ll have to see if the SteelHawks are up to it. We’ll also have to see how the newer organizations such as Dayton fare.
- Can the defense be as good without Big Larry Ford? The physical and emotional leader has moved on and will present with High Country when they visit later this season.
See you at the arena,