Austin Outlaws Last Home Game

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Austin Outlaws WomenÂ?s Professional Football Team Finds Success in First Season with the National WomenÂ?s Football Association.

The Austin Outlaws pulled off a 22-16 victory last week in Dallas when, with just ten seconds left on the clock, running back Monica Gauck improvised a misdirection play and romped thirty yards around right end for the tie-breaking touchdown.

The win, Austin’s fourth in a row, raises the Outlaw’s record to 4-2 and adds playoff importance to this Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma City.

The Austin Outlaws are affiliated with the National Women’s Football Association, which boasts being the fastest growing among a half-dozen or so women’s full-contact professional football leagues across the country. The NWFA consists of 37 teams ranging from Maine to Florida, and from the east coast to…well, Austin.

Lily Messina, player (Offensive Left Tackle) and General Manager of the Outlaws, says the decision to join the NWFA was motivated her belief the NWFA has the best chance of emerging as a truly viable league, with visions of someday matching Basketball’s WNBA in popularity. The NWFA 2003 Championship game – won by the Detroit Demolition over Pensacola Power, 28-21 – attracted nearly 6,000 fans and was broadcast on a football cable channel to over five million homes.

Teams in the NWFA average 1,300 fans per game. That’s a bit more than the Austin Outlaws, where attendance at their Yellow Jacket Stadium home games has been averaging a little under 200. But that may change as they demonstrate outstanding talent on the field. Right now, the Outlaws are a best-kept secret. As a start-up team, they’re budget is limited without a lot to spend on advertising. They’re counting on word-of-mouth to get the news out that they are a viable football franchise with a great product.

The Outlaws are 38-players strong, having absorbed a number of players from the now defunct Austin Rage. They have many fine athletes – most notably running backs Monica Gauck and Lori “Busta” Dillard. Lori earned her nickname, Busta, by the way she busts through defenses. She’s a juvenile probation officer, studying to be a police officer, and she works a second job doing security. And she works out regularly to maintain her physique. She ran for 279 yards and scored four touchdowns when Austin whipped Dallas 28-6 at home, May 8.

Monica Gauck starred in last week’s road victory over Dallas. She, too, works out religiously but her strength is her quickness and speed rather than raw power. In the Dallas game, she ran for 116 yards and scored two touchdowns, including the winning TD as the clock ran out while she was heading for the end zone. Earlier this season, she had a four-touchdown day with 164 yards against Denton.

The Outlaws have two quarterbacks, Amanda Urban and Ski Tedeja, but no quarterback “controversy” – both share playing time and work together.

Calling this “professional” football is a bit of a misnomer. The players aren’t paid to play. In fact, they pay “dues” to help cover the expenses involved. All have other jobs. Many are professionals – in management positions, sales, teaching, accounting. There’s a State Trooper and a Firefighter/Arson Investigator. A lawyer. A homemaker. Just a group of people brought together by their love of football.

After losing their first two games, to the Dallas Dragons by one point, 31-32, when a failed two-point-conversion ended Austin’s come-from behind rally, and then to Oklahoma City 32-6, they’ve won four in a row; two against an inept Denton team, and two against Dallas, 28-6 at home and then last Saturday’s thriller, 22-16 at Dallas.

This Saturday, they play their last home game against Oklahoma City, and they believe they can win, in spite of Oklahoma’s undefeated season. Monica Gauck explained her confidence that we’ll win Saturday: “We’re not the same team we were in those first few games. Our newer players have grown and we’ve come together as a team. We’re a good football team.”

An Austin win Saturday will still leave Oklahoma City as the division champs but the Outlaws could qualify for league playoffs under a complex wild-card system. The ultimate prize – a chance to play in the league championship game July 31, at the 68 million dollar Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at the University of Louisville.

But first they have to get by Oklahoma City this Saturday, 7:00 p.m., at Yellow Jacket Stadium.

If you believe Austin isn’t ready for women’s professional, full-contact, NFL-rules football, please don’t tell the Austin Outlaws. Or their 150 or so enthusiastic fans. They’re working mighty hard to prove they can play football, and play it right well.

For more information:

The Outlaw’s Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/austinoutlawsfootball/home.html
The NWFA Web Site: http://www.womensfootballassociation.com/
Or Contact: Dennis Stostad, 341-0652, 964-5863, dstostad@austin.rr.com

Or Contact: Lily Messina, 796-0108, lily_messina@yahoo.com

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