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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Snohomish County sports

Everett team joins National Indoor Football League

Seattle Times staff reporter

More information


www.everetthawks.com

The football season does not end Feb. 6 with the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. It just moves indoors.

Part of the football world will come to the Everett Events Center this spring. That will be the home of the Everett Hawks, a first-year National Indoor Football League (NIFL) team. The Hawks will open the home season April 3 against the Wyoming Cavalry. Their first game will be on the road, against Billings, Mont., on March 26.

The Hawks will play a 14-game season, ending with a June 24 home game with Billings.

"We're going to find the smartest players we can who are good enough to win a championship," said Sam Adams, a former Seahawks defensive tackle, now a Buffalo Bill and the owner of the Everett team.

"We want players who make good decisions on and off the field, guys who are students of game and committed to their trade."

Adams, who lives in Kirkland in the offseason, has deep roots in the area beyond this NIFL commitment. He just opened a downtown Seattle health club, the Epicenter, and owned a semipro team, the Eastside Hawks, that won Northwest Football League crowns the past two years and the North American Football League championship last season.

"This is an opportunity to provide for my family as well as provide affordable entertainment," Adams added.

Adams, a 6-foot-4, 340-pounder heading to his third Pro Bowl next month in Hawaii, said he may lend a hand in coaching linemen, at least on an informal basis. Might he be tempted to play a series or two?

"Nope," he said. "It's not going to come to that. If we can't find someone to put enough pressure on [the quarterback], then we'll find someone else."

The Hawks originally announced that Jay Atwood would coach the team, but two weeks ago the team changed direction and named Dan Maciejczak as the head coach. Maciejczak is steeped in the indoor tradition as a former arena-league player who coached at Rapid City, S.D., and Billings. His teams were 33-10 the past three years at Billings.

"Our style is we're going to score a lot of points as fast and as often as we can," Maciejczak said. "On defense, we're going to take chances.

"Our offense is real free. We always stretch the field. Every play we'll run one guy deep, one shallow and one in the middle layer. If there's a mismatch, we need to chuck it up."

The game is shorter and faster than the National Football League variety. The field is only 50 yards long with a mere 8-yard end zone. There are eight players on each side, so things can get cramped. In addition, three players can be in motion at one time, so bodies are flying around in every direction.

Goal posts are only 9 feet apart, so even indoors, field goals are not simple. Field goals can be kicked from just about anywhere on the field, although Maciejczak said he didn't even suit up a kicker for his first nine games with Billings last season. Maciejczak puts all his faith in his offense — league rules prohibit punting.

Only one player can blitz the quarterback, and he must raise his hand before the play to indicate that he is the designated blitzer.

The Hawks expect to invite about 45 players to camp, which will open in early March. By the season opener, the roster will be pared down to 21, with four inactive players. Maciejczak said he hopes to sign some local players but there is one element he's seeking most of all.

"The biggest thing is experience, being around the game — experience pays dividends," Maciejczak said. "The game is so fast, you have so little time to figure it out."

The most-sought-after players, he stressed, are not the greatest athletes but the ones who might have previously played arena football.

"It doesn't really matter if a college player didn't have a lot of success; they can come in here and do great," Adams said. "Sometimes a change of scenery is all people need."

For players who make the team, it's not going to be the gravy train. Every player will get $200 a game. Practices will be flexible enough to allow players to continue to work at regular jobs.

"You don't have to like football to like our games," Maciejczak added. "There are no dead times."

Plans for college back on track

Six months ago, Katie Trew's dream of playing big-time college basketball was shattered. The 5-foot-11 forward for Edmonds-Woodway High School tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during a July basketball tournament in Oregon.

It's the kind of injury that could take eight months to a year to mend. Trew, who was a WesCo South first-team selection as both a sophomore and junior, believed she had lost the opportunity to show her skills to college recruiters. Her senior year, she figured, was going to be a nonevent.

But a rigorous rehab program helped her get back on the court in just six months. Her first game was Dec. 30. She has played six games since then, averaging a team-

leading 13 points per game. She has scored 20 points in each of her past two games.

"I think she had a lot core strength to begin with that helped her [recover]," Woodway Coach Amy Branch said. "You can't fake that [recovery]. She put in a lot of hard work."

Branch said it's still not too late for Trew to catch a recruiter's eye.

"A lot of teams shifted their interest once the injury happened," Branch added. "But we're in the process of contacting schools and putting together new film of her, especially post-surgery play, so they can see where she is now."

Bob Sherwin: 206-464-8286 or bsherwin@seattletimes.com

2005 Everett Hawks schedule
Home games at Everett Events Center
Date Opponent Time
Sat., March 26 Billings, Mont. TBA
Sun., April 3 WYOMING 1 p.m.
Sun., April 10 ROME, GA. 1 p.m.
Fri., April 15 Lincoln, Neb. TBA
Thu., April 21 TRI-CITIES 7 p.m.
Sat., April 30 Tri-Cities 7:05 p.m.
Fri., May 6 LINCOLN 7 p.m.
Sun., May 15 Daytona Beach, Fla. TBA
Sat., May 21 San Angelo, Texas TBA
Fri., May 27 DAYTONA BEACH 7 p.m.
Sat., June 4 Wyoming TBA
Sat., June 11 Miami TBA
Fri., June 17 MIAMI 7 p.m.
Fri., June 24 BILLINGS 7 p.m.
Hawks home games in caps

More information: www.everetthawks.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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