Pre-season X League play: the Atlanta Empire contain the Kansas City Force 38-12
On Saturday, April 24th, at 4pm, two teams in the X League (click HERE to visit their website) connect for a friendly game of football.
Ok, we know football is still a contact sport, especially at the highest level of women's tackle football. And in the case of the visiting Kansas City Force taking on the Atlanta Empire, it's a good way to chart their progress as they head into regular season play.
A packed and energetic hometown audience is in attendance at One Touch Soccer (3200 Atlanta Industrial Parkway NW in Atlanta, GA) to catch the action. If the words "up-close" and "hard-hitting" mean anything to fans of football, it certainly is the operative theme of the day. Likewise, the high octane approach (touchdowns are 6 points and teams have to go for a 2 point conversion) surely keeps fans and all in attendance locked in, let alone having their heads on a swivel.
The fast pace and high tempo gets up and running in the opening series of the first quarter. The Atlanta Empire start with the ball (on offense), but an outstanding play by the Force defense creates a turnover (fumble). A few plays later, their offense hits pay-dirt to take an early 6-0 lead.
The next two series see the Empire get into a rhythm on offense and defense. Their offense responds on the very next series to tie the game and on the very next series, their defense forces a turnover (fumble), giving their offense solid field position. A few plays later (along with a 2-point conversion), the Empire finds themselves ahead 14-6.
The last three series of the first half continue at a high level and pace. The Force offense scores on an outstanding play call, catching the Empire defense off-guard to cut the deficit to 14-12. However, to close out the half, the Empire offense puts another touchdown on the scoreboard; combined with a half-closing defensive stand (forcing another fumble), they have a 20-12 lead going into the half.
In the second half, the Empire begins to pull away from the Force (who only have 6 practices leading into today's game). Their defense sets the tone by forcing another Kansas City (fumble) turnover, and the subsequent touchdown run (featuring an impressive stiff-arm) pushes their lead to 26-12. A stout defensive effort combined with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter give Atlanta a 38-12 win.
Fast-paced and intense game play are key takeaways from the game. For the Kansas City Force (a first year franchise), there are some things they'll focus on and fine-tune as they prepare for the regular season. As for the Atlanta Empire, it's telling of where they are at this stage prior to the start of the season, as they look forward to making some headway during the year.
Notes: All photos and video by Andrew Snorton
First video: a compilation of pre-game and first half action between the Kansas City Force (all black) and the Atlanta Empire (multi-colored practice jerseys and mainly shorts).
Second video: a compilation of second half action between both teams.
First grid: the top row (left/right) catches the Atlanta Empire during warmups and on offense. The first row from the top (left/right) catches the Empire on another offensive drive along with some hard hits doled out by both teams. The first row from the bottom (left/right) provides a snapshot of the player focus (Atlanta Empire) and focus (Kansas City Force) coaching both teams look to build on. The bottom row (left/right) sees both teams map out their strategy as it's a 20-12 score at the half.
Second grid: the top row (left/right) shows Kansas City on offense against a stout Atlanta defense. The first row from the top (left/right) shows the Empire offense getting locked in, as they score 38 points in yesterday's game. The first row from the bottom (left/right) catches the intensity the Force brings to the game, along with the acknowledgement after the game by both teams. The bottom row (left/right) provides a snapshot of the post-game discussion with the Empire's players and coaches, along with a quick team photo.