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Indianapolis Semi-Pro Football Team Wins National Championship
The Hoosier Hurricanes invaded Homestead, Florida for the 4th annual Minor League Football News (MLFN) weekend last weekend.
In a defense-dominated game, the Hurricanes defeated the Carolina Express 41-0 to win the MLFN National AA Championship.
“To get to this point so quickly is unbelievable,” Hurricanes head coach John Starlin said. “I really feel like a proud father to all these guys.”
While the “Canes” offense was strong, their defense game was dominant. The ‘Canes forced eight turnovers and controlled the Express’ offense, which towered over them in size and power. At the start of the competition, it looked like the Express were going to use their Power I offense to rush into the throat of the ‘Canes’ defense. When the Express was forced to pitch, however, the fast secondary Hurricane was able to take the game. The first of four Express interceptions was thrown on that first drive, and the Hurricanes never looked back.
“They were a tough team to spot, but I really think they underestimated our speed,” Starlin said. “Other coaches in their league were able to help me as a scout, but I knew as solid as our defense was that we could play anyone.”
Continuing with the defensive theme of the game, linebacker Deon Smith was awarded the MVP of the game for his 12 tackle performance. He also intercepted a pass and forced a fumble.
The National AA title was the perfect end to a season that was already a storybook for the Indianapolis team, founded by co-owners Starlin, David Day and NFL wide receiver Reggie Wayne. In their first year, the Hurricanes were awarded Best New Midwest Team by MLFN after finishing 13-1 in the Ohio Valley Football League (OVFL). Their OVFL season ended with a Super Bowl win over the Charlotte Roughriders (MI), 21-0.
“It’s really been a dream season for us,” Starlin said.
Starlin players have also earned numerous MLFN accolades. Four ‘Canes have been honored with Midwest All-American status: Derrick Ellis was an honorable mention Midwest All-American at running back, wide receiver Scott Penick was a second-team Midwest All-American, and Corey Crumpton and Charles Avant were first and second team at defensive back, respectively.
Ellis, a former “Mr. Indiana” while playing running back in high school, was also named Midwest Region Running Back of the Year by MLFN.
The Hurricanes will return to the OVFL next season and compete to become the first consecutive champion in league history, a feat no team has accomplished in 40 years of competition.
“We’re trying to develop something special here,” Starlin said.
It certainly looks like the Hurricanes are off to a flying start.
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