ROCKFORD - Rockford has a history of arena football. It started with the first indoor football game ever played. That was at the MetroCentre in 1986.
It continued with the Rock River Raptors who played at the MetroCentre from 2006 through 2009. Now there's the Stateline Sting.
The Sting logo features a hornet ready to strike. That what these guys are hoping to do.
They compete in the Indoor Football Association and they play their games at the Victory Sports Complex on North Alpine. Head coach Fred Jackson is originally from Madison. He now lives in Janesville.
"We're looking to promote the local people," says Jackson. ""We don't pull guys from across state lines. We don't limit age-wise. If you come out and you can make the cut you make the cut."
The Sting play eight-man football. And like most indoor leagues this one is primarily a passing league. The fast pace and tight confines are an adjustment for players from the outdoor game.
"The speed was the biggest adjustment, also the size of the field," says Sting receiver Michael Brandon. "That's something I've got to get used to."
Brandon is from Milwaukee. At 6'4 he's a big target.
"That guy is going to be something else," says Jackson.
A trio of former East E-Rabs are also key members of the Sting, running back Davonte Williams, former Rock River Raptor Willie Tolon and quarterback Martell English.
"I've still got a little bit of juice left in the tank to go out there and go get it," says English with a smile.
Some of these guys are hoping to use the Sting as a stepping-stone to a higher indoor league. All of them play because they love the game.
Last year was the Sting's first season in Rockford. Their only loss was in the league championship game. That's when they played in the Midwest Pro Indoor Football League. They expect to be a force again this year in the Indoor Football Association.
"We've got a great group of guys here," says English. "We've added some guys from last year and then we brought in a lot of new talent."
"I think we've got a lot of potential, a lot of talent," says Brandon.
The Sting will open it's season in Ohio this Saturday, March 25th against the Legends. Following is a list of their home games at the Victory Sports Complex at 7003 North Alpine Road. All games start at 7 p.m.
STING HOME GAMES
April 1 vs. Ravens
April 8 vs. Dawgs
April 29 vs. Outlaws
May 6 vs. Legends
May 27 vs. Hawks