Majestics women’s football ready for season opener in Kent

Few women’s tackle football teams know each other as well as the Seattle Majestics and Corvallis Pride. Seattle opens the Independent Women’s Football League season against the Pride 7 p.m. Saturday at French Field in Kent, the new home of the Majestics. The two rivals played each other three times last year.

Seattle Majestics player Crystal Brown

Seattle Majestics player Crystal Brown

Few women’s tackle football teams know each other as well as the Seattle Majestics and Corvallis Pride.

Seattle opens the Independent Women’s Football League season against the Pride 7 p.m. Saturday at French Field in Kent, the new home of the Majestics. The two rivals played each other three times last year.

“We play each other twice and sometimes three times,” Seattle coach Mike Talley said about Pacific Northwest Division opponents Corvallis, Portland and Sacramento. “When you play the third time, it can give a real different complexion to the game.”

The Majestics beat Corvallis 25-0 and 16-7 in the regular season last year. They also defeated the Pride 35-0 in a playoff game.

Despite those victories last season and an overall record of 9-1, Talley remained hesitant about Seattle’s chances to topple Corvallis again in the pay-to-play league that plays under NFL rules and is for women ages 18 and up.

“All of the teams are tough,” said Talley, a receiver in the 1980s at the University of Idaho and Hazen High School. “Corvallis is always tough.”

The Majestics play four games this season at French Field, next to Kent-Meridian High School. It’s new home turf for the team, which has played the last several years at Memorial Stadium near Seattle Center.

Talley returns as coach for the second consecutive year. He expects that to help Seattle be even stronger this season. The team has been practicing three times per week.

“I think this is the first year they’ve had the same coach two years in a row,” said Talley, a former assistant football coach at Hazen and Western Washington University in Bellingham. “There’s not as much teaching. Last year, we couldn’t do a lot with a new system. This year, we have a lot more sophisticated schemes.”

Seattle runs a split-back pro set offense that features Rachel Gore, a 5-7, 145-pound running back. The Majestics run the ball much more than they pass.

“We’re more of a running team,” Talley said. “That doesn’t make the quarterback happy.”

Michel Volk (5-6, 150) starts at quarterback for the Majestics and gets to toss the ball once in a while.

On defense, the Majestics feature middle linebacker Kasey Rivas (5-3, 220); defensive end Heather Gallemore (5-5, 140), who led the nation in sacks last season; and defensive tackle Faatuiese Sesepasara (5-5, 190), known to her teammates as “Ese.”

The Majestics must focus on shutting down the running game against Corvallis. The Pride ran the Wing-T offense last year that features the quarterback and three other players in the backfield. The goal of the Wing-T offense is to try to deceive the defense as far as which of the four players will carry the ball.

“Corvallis is very-well coached and plays hard,” Talley said. “They ran the Wing T and executed really well.”

Corvallis had a 5-3 league record last year. The Pride merged teams this year with the Redding, Calif., team that didn’t win a game last season. Each team lacked enough players to compete independently.

Talley remembers how hard Corvallis battled the Majestics in the 16-7 win last year after Seattle basically cruised past the Pride in a 25-0 win earlier in the season.

“They played with us the second game,” he said.

For fans unfamiliar with women’s football, Talley said to expect a hard-fought game.

“You’ll see some pretty good teams and very dedicated players,” Talley said.

If you go

Who: Seattle Majestics vs. Corvallis Pride

What: Independent Women’s Football League game

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: French Field, 10200 S.E. 256th St.

Tickets: $12 adults; $10 senior citizens, students; $5 ages 6-12; free, ages 5 and under


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