After a difficult season last year, the Iowa Crush is back. The 2015 season kicks off this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. With five home games this season (two at Valley Stadium; three in Martensdale) fans will want to get out to the season opener to help get the team off to a winning start.
“We plan on taking it one game at a time,” said owner and quarterback Jen McIntire. “We were one win short of making the playoffs last season, so one of our main goals is to make the playoffs this year. However, we won’t be satisfied with just that, as we expect to have success beyond the first-round game.”
Coming off a 3-5 season, the Crush is (at the time of this writing) currently ranked second to last in the Midwest Division, according to the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) website. This year’s opener is once again the Madison Blaze, which is ranked first and has been the Midwest Division Champs the last two years running. And with the Blaze defeating them twice last year, there’s no doubt the Crush is looking for a little retribution.
“The Blaze are a good team and are expected to have a lot of depth this season,” McIntire said. “Rather than focusing on their players, we are preparing by focusing on our team.”
This year’s Crush team is a young one, with 13 players in their first year. But that’s doesn’t worry McIntire.
“We have a great group of rookies that should make some exciting plays for our team this year,” said McIntire. “We expect them to have an impact in all aspects of the game —offense, defense and special teams.”
Second-year head coach Dedric Ward is ready to take his team further as well. Ward has a lifetime of experience playing and coaching. He played at the University of Northern Iowa until 1997 when the New York Jets drafted him. He went on to play for several NFL teams, including the Super Bowl XXXVIII Champion New England Patriots. Since then, his coaching experience has been at both the NFL and collegiate levels.
With seven players and their head coach being selected for the IWFL’s all-star team, the Crush are a talented bunch. Most of the team is returning this season along with their new pool of rookies.
“We aren’t the underdog but are known for giving every team a good battle no matter where they are in the league standings,” McIntire said. “With a new team being added to our division, it is really tough to say which team will be the one to beat.
“We want to build momentum as we make our way through this season, and the best way to do that is to start out with a good game. Having the home crowd in the stands to kick off the season is an added bonus.” CV
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Iowa Crush vs. Madison Blaze
Valley Stadium, April 11, 7 p.m.
Adults $10; students/seniors $5;
ages 7 and younger are free
Details about game times and locations can be found on the Iowa Crush website,