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Steam and Breeze set to do battle in LFL Eastern Conference Championship

Dakota Hughes will lead the Steam against Jacksonville in LFL Eastern Conference Championship on Saturday night at The ARena at Gwinnett Center.
Dakota Hughes will lead the Steam against Jacksonville in LFL Eastern Conference Championship on Saturday night at The ARena at Gwinnett Center."Image courtesy LFLUS, used with permission".

Atlanta and their fans were cheering for Omaha last Saturday when they took on visiting Baltimore because their playoff fate rested with the outcome of the game. The Heart had to either defeat the Charm or lose by 16 or less for the Steam to get into the postseason, so after Omaha had completed a comeback that gave them a 19-12 win over Baltimore the Steam faithful celebrated.

So now the matchup between the two remaining undefeated teams in the conference that was scheduled as the regular season finale will determine whether Atlanta or Jacksonville will advance to the 2014 Legends Cup, the LFL title game, on September 6 to represent the Eastern Conference against either Chicago or Los Angeles from the Western Conference.

This is going to be a major league confrontation between two good teams that are healthy and rested and believe they can beat the other. The Steam and Breeze both employ a physical style of play on defense and have had success, but both offenses can score from anywhere on the field so even one letdown in the secondary could mean the difference between moving on to the title game and going home.

Atlanta will have quarterback Dakota “Gunslinger” Hughes back at the helm after the rookie missed the Toledo game due to a broken wrist on her throwing hand. With the much anticipated return of Hughes, Jodie Nettles will return to receiver where she will be joined by Dee Salter while Nas Johnson will anchor the backfield. The offense is fired up about going head-to-head with what many believe is the best defense in the league.

Hughes became a sensation after throwing for 102 yards and two scores in her first LFL game, a win over the Heart at home, while Johnson has scored four of the five Atlanta rushing TDs this season while averaging 6.9 yards per carry and Nettles, who started at QB in the Crush road win, leads Atlanta in both receptions (3) and yards (73) and has two TD grabs.

The Jacksonville defense allowed just 12 points in two games while scoring 52 on their way to a 2-0 season mark. Atlanta surrendered 31, also in two games, and scored 60 in also posting a 2-0 record.

Atlanta is going to have to find a way to slow down Saige Steinmetz, the Jax leader on both sides of the ball, to send the Breeze home with a loss.On the offensive side of the ball, Steinmetz is averaging 8.2 yards per carry on 28 carries with four touchdowns. She also has a receiving TD. Steinmetz has 9.5 tackles, including two sacks and seven tackles for loss, from the defensive end position.

The Breeze QB is KK Metheny. The 5’2 veteran limits mistakes while leading the Breeze run-oriented offensive attack, an attack that averaged 25.5 points per game.

It is going to be a hard-fought game with both teams playing for their postseason life that is “Is going to be quite a show” according to first year head coach Dane Robinson.

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