Wednesday, April 3, 2019

2019 WNFC Season Preview

While the Women's National Football Conference kicks off its inaugural season this Saturday, April 6th, the league has been making some game-changing moves since it was announced last August

With major companies like Adidas and Riddell Sports providing corporate sponsorships, as well as incentives for player performance, the WNFC has the potential to launch Women's Football into the mainstream in the near future.

San Diego is the only market with two teams (Surge & Rebellion) competing in this promising league, so our interest is obviously high. 

Here is our preview of the founding members who will compete for the first-ever Title IX Cup, awarded to the team who wins the WNFC National Championship game in Denver on Saturday, June 29th.

WNFC PreSeason Power Rankings
The final regular-season rankings will determine playoff pairings.

#1 Utah Falconz

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

2018 Record: 7-1, IWFL/BOTW
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Rick Rasmussen (6th Season)

Key Opponent: #2 Texas Elite (4/27)
Impact Returners: RB Keeshya Cox, WR/DB Elisa Salazar, FB/LB Tina Tela

The high-flying Falconz had another stellar season in 2018, but unfortunately it ended with their first loss since 2015 (second in team history). The two-time IWFL champions will begin their quest for redemption at the top of the WNFC's first-ever preseason rankings.

#2 Texas Elite Spartans

Location: Dallas, TX

2018 Record/League6-0, IWFL/BOTW
Conference: Atlantic
Head Coach: Odessa Jenkins (2nd Season)
Key Opponent: #1 Utah (4/27), #4 Atlanta (5/18)
Impact ReturnersDL LaShaunte Bowman, QB Jessica Gerhart, RB Amber Kimbrough,
DL Olivia Griswold, WR Elizabeth Landry, OL Rachel May

Rank them wherever you want, the undefeated Spartans are still the team to beat u
ntil proven otherwise. Their current roster list all but four players from last-year's team that topped Utah for the "Best of the West" championship. If the top two remains the same by April 27th, we should be in for a classic rematch.


Location: Santee, CA

2018 Record/League5-2, IWFL/BOTW
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Mike Suggett (7th Season)
Key Opponents: #5 Seattle (5/4, 5/11), #10 SD Rebellion (4/6, 5/25)
Impact ReturnersOL/DL Jessica Cable, OL/DL Eboni Chambers, 
WR/LB Deana Guidry, DB Sonfre Roberson, K/WR Melissa Strother, DL Nikki Quest

Billing 2018 as their farewell tour, the Surge later decided that third place in the "Best of the West" Tournament was not the right way to end their phenomenal history. As they enter this new league with a solid core of returning veterans, this team appears primed to compete for its first league title since 2012.

#4 Atlanta Phoenix

Location: Atlanta, GA

2018 Record/League6-2, WFA
Conference: Atlantic
Head Coach: Brian Montgomery (3rd Season)
Key Opponents: #1 Texas Elite (5/18), #6 Alabama (4/6, 5/11)
Impact ReturnersOL Blair Clark, DT Latanglia Dorsey, OL Devyn Johnson, 
LB Carla Odom, DE Jenitra Shields, FB Shanice Wheeler

A five-game win streak to close out the 2018 regular season included knocking off the then defending national champion Dallas Elite, but Atlanta's strong run would end in the first round of the WFA Division I playoffs. This year they will renew their rivalry with Alabama, and go for their second straight win over a Texas team coming off a championship season.

#5 Seattle Majestics

Location: Seattle, WA

2018 Record/League5-3, IWFL/BOTW
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Scott McCarron (5th Season)
Key Opponents: #3 SD Surge (5/4, 5/11), #8 Los Angeles (4/6, 4/27)
Impact ReturnersLB Holly Custis, DB Jackie McCall, DB/TE McKenzie Tolliver, 
DL Kase Tukutau, RB Kiki Williams, WR Adrienne Wilson

The lone franchise in the Pacific Northwest will play all three of their scheduled road games in California (two in San Diego, one in Los Angeles). In addition to returning five All-Americans, the Majestics added some international players to beef their roster.

#6 Alabama Fire

Location: Birmingham, AL

2018 Record/League4-4, WFA
Conference: Atlantic
Head Coach: Cendric Lane (2nd Season)
Key Opponent: #4 Atlanta (4/6, 5/11)
Impact ReturnersWR Catrina Fincher, DE Shardonay Jenkins

Going into their third season of competition, the Fire will be playing with heavy hearts following the untimely death of TeShaura Turnbull last September. Turnbull was a two-way standout for the Fire, leading the team in both rushing and tackles for loss last season. To honor her memory, the league will have a moment of silence before kickoff of every game on opening day, and all WNFC players will wear a “Bull” decal on their helmet.

#7 North Florida Pumas

Location: Jacksonville, FL

2018 Record/League4-3, USWFL
Conference: Atlantic
Head Coach: Kim Phillips (3rd Season)
Key Opponents: #4 Atlanta (4/13, 4/20), #6 Alabama (5/18, 6/1)
Impact Returners: OL Kristina Autrey, WR Ashaniti Broxey, RB Lauren Hedegard, 
DL Nina Protonotarious

From a win-less inaugural season in the WFA to a championship run in the USWFL, the WNFC's Florida representative looks to continue trending upwards in 2019.

#8 Los Angeles Bobcats

Location: Los Angeles, CA

2018 Record/League: 0-6, IWFL
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Timothy Homes (1st Season)
Key Opponents:  #5 Seattle (4/6, 4/27), #10 SD Rebellion (4/13, 5/18)
Impact Returners: OL Kris Brannon, QB Jane "Redd" Brinkman, 
LB Demetrea Hardiman, DB Stephanie Lopez

With a forgettable 2018 season behind them, the re-branded and reloaded Bobcats are set to challenge for one of four slots in the Pacific Conference Playoffs, which will take place in their home city.

#9 Nebraska Nite Hawks

Location: Omaha, NE
Head CoachVershan Jackson (1st Season)
Conference: Atlantic
Key Opponents: #1 Utah (5/18), #2 Texas Elite (4/13, 5/11)
Impact Players: LB Cindy Pearson, OL/DL Renate Rice

The Nite Hawks will began their inaugural season as the highest ranked first-year team in the league. They will be led by former University of Nebraska fullback and tight end Vershan Jackson, who helped the Cornhuskers win three national titles during his collegiate career from 1994-1997.


Location: San Diego, CA

2018 Record/League7-3, WFA
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Knengi Martin (1st Season)
Key Opponents: #3 SD Surge (4/6, 5/25), #5 Seattle (6/1)
Impact Returners: K Celina Graves, OL/DL Tanya Luna, QB Knengi Martin, 
LB Elliot Nguyen, DB/WR Katie Ott, CB Kristin Smereczynski

Looking to build off last year's expansion season that ended in the WFA Division II quarterfinals, the Rebellion will enter their sophomore campaign with seven returning All-Americans and the help of some newly acquired veterans.

#11 Houston Heat

Location: Houston, TX

2018 Record/League3-2, USWFL
Conference: Atlantic
Head Coach: Loren Stephanson (2nd Season)
Key Opponents: #2 Texas Elite (4/6, 4/20), #4 Atlanta (5/25)

"Always earned, never given" is the adopted slogan for the Heat as they get set for what should be a challenging second season. It begins with a two-game series with an in-state powerhouse.

#12 Las Vegas Silver Stars

Location: Las Vegas, NV

2018 Record/LeagueIndependent
Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Carrie Walters (2nd Season)
Key Opponents: #1 Utah (4/6), #3 SD Surge (4/27), #5 Seattle (4/13)

After testing the waters as an independent team last year, the Silver Stars will begin their first campaign as league members with match-ups against the top three teams in the Pacific.

#13 Denver Bandits

Location: Denver, CO
Head Coach: Marcel Simpson (1st Season)
Conference: Pacific
Key Opponents: #1 Utah (4/13, 5/4), #3 SD Surge (6/1)
Impact Players: RB/LB Britney Derhak, WR/SS Kristen London, FB/LB April Regas

With a roster that already features a solid group of veterans with football experience in Colorado, the addition of eight-time All-American Kristen London from the Atlanta Phoenix should give this new organization a huge jump start towards being competitive.

#14 New Orleans Hippies

Location: New Orleans, LA
Head Coach: Curtis Green (1st Season)
Conference: Atlantic
Key Opponents: #1 Utah (5/11), #6 Alabama (4/13, 4/20)

While attempting to work their way up from the bottom of the rankings, the Hippies hope to use their platform to empower women in the Big Easy.

Phoenix Prowlers

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Conference: Pacific
Head Coach: Ron “Zeus” Reddic (1st Season)
Key Opponents: #8 Los Angeles (4/20), #13 Denver (5/11)

Active from 2007-2009 with a record of 16-9 during that span, the Prowlers have been revived to bring the WNFC to Arizona. This season they will compete as an unranked developmental team and begin full participation in 2020.

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