"Together we rise"
This is a saying that Carissa Marler the starting quarterback for the Souix Falls Snow Leopards says the team is big on. Marler believes that cohesion and teamwork will lead the team to success this year. The team will have a big challenge this year as they are moving up to the 3rd division in the WFA (Women's Football Alliance). They will also be competing against 2 teams in higher division, Including The Nebraska Pride and the Oklahoma City Lady Force. Marler says that "success is up to us and we want to win the turnover battle, the discipline battle, and the grit and grind battle on the OL/DL".
With big names on the teams schedule I asked Marler "How do you Handle Pressure or nerves when playing big games? " Marler response emphasized staying calm, cool, collected. Trusting the team to hold and stay in the fight. And Most importantly " Just play the game I love to play"
Marler has spent the offseason working with fellow teammate and QB Jen Reinke to improve technique, footwork, reads, and strategies. Under the lead of an IFL QB standout Taz Wilson. Who has played for both the Massachusetts Pirates and Sioux Falls Storm. With such leadership and already leading the league in passing I expect big improvement from Marler and the entire Snow Leopards offense this year.
Unplugged also got to speak with Brandi Parks one of the captains for the Snow Leopards. They broke down some of the challenges a Women's Football team in South Dakota faces. One of the biggest challenges is the weather, Parks stated "we were on a real outside field in early to Mid March. This year? yeah right. As I type this we just had a blizzard that dumped another 6 to 8 inches on top of feet of accumulated snow. IF we get on a real field by mid March, it will be a mud pit. Perk about playing in Oklahoma for our first game, if it snows, we have the edge. We practice inside on a small field, small. It's free to us, which we are all grateful for, but it just doesn't have the room we need. We've basically outgrown it, which is awesome from one standpoint."
Regardless of the circumstances the Snow Leopards have grown in size and it is undeniable that this team has a energy and aura about them that says "sleep if you want, we'll set the alarm" . I could very easily see this team defeating teams in higher divisions and making a run to Canton for the WFA championships. They led the league in nearly every catergory last year in their division. So this is Unplugged's warning to the WFA to be advised the Snow Leopards are coming to play
Unplugged easily sees this team having at the very least a 4 win season. But with right circumstances I see the team stealing wins from the OKC Lady Force and the Nebraska Pride. Coach TJ Marler ( pictured to the left ) stated "We have applied new levels of organization, added coaching staff, recruited high level talent and really continued to seek growth as a team everyday." With new additions to the team, new coaches and a team ready to face the challenge of a new and higher level competition. I would advise all not to over look the snow leopards.
Lastly, I asked Head Coach what he had to say to the the fans!? His response was "We are a family on this team and that includes you! One of the things you will see and hear us talking about as a team is that we rise together. This is not just players and coaches but all involved, following and rooting on the Snow Leopards! #togetherwerise"