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Hughes throws for two scores, runs for a third in Steam 20-13 win over the Heart

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Atlanta (1-0) took the field for the first time this season, playing host to Omaha (0-2) at The Arena at Gwinnett Center on Saturday night to begin their second Legends Football League season. The Steam defense delivered a last minute stop to get the ball back for the offense, and quarterback Dakota Hughes connected with receiver Jodie Nettles for a long TD that put the home team up for good with less than 30 seconds to go in the game.

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Atlanta stepped up to meet the challenge from an Omaha squad that came out fighting (literally) from the first play of the game. The Heart played much better than they had in their 25-0 opening loss to Jacksonville, due in large part to the return of Lindsey Noble as the starting QB, and kept the score even at 13 until the final minute of the contest. It was then that the Steam answered the bell on both defense and offense to secure the first win of their second season as members of the LFL, previously known as the Lingerie Football League, a 20-13 victory.

The final stats had not been verified by the league office as of the writing of this story, but the Steam rookie QB had an impressive opening to her LFL career. Dakota Hughes connected with returning receiver Jodie Nettles twice for scores, the first coming on the first possession of the game for Atlanta and the second coming with 30 seconds to go in the final quarter, and ran for another score when she scrambled to the left after being chased from the pocket.

Something that will not show in the stat sheet, but showed tremendous poise and maturity from Hughes, was how she handled bad snaps in critical moments. Two consecutive snaps were short and hit the turf, but Hughes calmly picked the rock up off the ground and followed through on the play, showing no signs of panic. The 19-year old Hughes was named Game MVP for her performance.

Making her night even more impressive is that Hughes played much of the final quarter with a fractured wrist on her throwing hand. There were concerns that Dakota would not be able to even grip the ball, much less pass. With time running out Hughes hit Nettles, who had blown past her defender on a post route, and Jodie carried the ball the final 15 yards for the go-ahead score.

The D played an outstanding game, highlighted by an early fumble recovery that was the result of the Heart ball carrier being stripped, and an interception late that got the ball back to the offense.

Watch for a follow up article later this week that will include player reflections, as well as Coach Robinson’s thoughts. The official statistics will also be included.

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