Now You Know: Savannah Saber's Quarterback Erica Olson
GOOD SPORTS: Savannah Sabers gearing up for seasonPosted: January 26, 2013 - 6:36pm | Updated: January 27, 2013 - 12:28am | By MARK BEASLEY
Coming off a five-win season in which the Savannah Sabers finished runner-up in their division, the third-year women’s full-tackle football team, which competes in the Women’s Football Alliance, is gearing up for another year.
Former team owner Andi Pigneri started the organization in August 2010. What began as a small group of women simply wanting to play football has developed into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Now run by an executive board, the Sabers are excited about the support from within the community.
The 2011 squad finished its inaugural season at 1-7. The Sabers headed into the 2012 season determined to improve. And as the season progressed, the team posted a 5-3 record and placed second in its division in the WFA, which is composed of more than 50 teams in the United States.
The WFA, which got its start in April 2009, is the largest and fastest-growing women’s football league in the country. The WFA is gearing up for its fifth season starting in April.
The Sabers have a strong foundation of veteran players as well as a number of rookies looking to build upon last year’s momentum.
Veteran running back TeeJay Grimsley, quarterback Erica Olson, defensive end Kim Young and defensive tackles Trina Pinckney and Baby Dee Ash along with linebacker Edy Merritt will lead the team.
Other returning players include Amber Davis, Ericka Thomas, Teresa Blue, Tania Milton, Kenaya Robinson, Dee Andrew, Tanya Terry, Keisha Williams, Caretha Williams, Jenell Russell, Ebony Glover, Tabitha Taylor and Tawana Lowe.
As Kim Young, team captain and executive member, said, “Our tryouts back on Jan. 12 were very successful. Right now, we have begun without pads, giving our rookies a chance to catch up with the learning curve of the game. We are still in search of a few key position players as well as one or two coaches. Our aim is in early February to be in full-pads practice and gearing up.”
The Sabers will have four home games this season: April 6, May 18, May 25 and June 1.
For more information on the team, how to join as a player or coach, or become a team sponsor, contact Young at 912-545-9742 or Director of Scouting Mika Seabrook at 912-220-9440.
Also, visit their website at savannahsabers.com.
WJCL interviews Savannah Sabers on Home Opener vs Palm Beach on April 14
Savannah Sabers top Orlando Anarchy, 34-20Posted: June 3, 2012 - 10:24pm | Updated: June 4, 2012 - 12:17am
Jewel Grimsley scored on runs of 55, 85 and 60 yards and returned an interception 80 yards for another touchdown to lead the Savannah Sabers past the Orlando Anarchy, 34-20, on Saturday night in women’s football.
Kyndal Schaff added a 4 extra points and an interception. Quarterback Erica Olson had a 2-yard scoring run, as the Sabers raised their record to 4-2.
Defensively, defensive tackle Trina Pinkney had five tackles and one sack and BabyDee Ash added four tackles for losses. Defensive End Kim Young also had four tackles.
(This story was edited for accuracy.)
Savannah Sabers blank Carolina Raging WolvesPosted: May 21, 2012 - 12:19am | Updated: May 21, 2012 - 12:22am
Quarterback Erica Olson threw four touchdowns passes, three of them to Jewell Grimsley, as the Savannah Sabers women’s tackle football team defeated the Carolina Raging Wolves, 47-0, at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Olson threw for 115 yards.
Kyndle Schaaf caught the other touchdown pass and ran for another for the Sabers (3-2). Running back Tanya Terry ran for a pair of touchdowns, one from 30 yards out and another from 2 yards.
Defensively, Trina Pinkney had a sack and Yolanda Ash had five tackles.
Savannah Sabers improve to 2-0
Coming off a season-opening 33-28 win over the Palm Beach (Fla.) Punishers on April 7, the Savannah Sabers women’s full-tackle football team traveled April 21 to Fayetteville, N.C., to take on the Carolina Raging Wolves.
With stellar performances on offense and defense, the second-year Savannah team rolled to a 28-0 victory.
Andi Pigneri (7-yard run), T.J. Grimsley (20-yard run), Teresa Blue (15-yard run) and Dai Dai Harrison (60-yard pass from Grimsley) scored touchdowns. Grimsley and Kyndal Schaaf each added a conversion.
The team was slated to travel Saturday to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Phoenix.
GOOD SPORTS: Savannah Sabers open second season with winPosted: April 21, 2012 - 4:53pm | Updated: April 22, 2012 - 12:57am | By MARK BEASLEY
Bringing women’s football back to the Savannah area, the Savannah Sabers kicked off their eight-game regular season on April 7 with a 33-28 win over the Palm Beach (Fla.) Punishers at Memorial Stadium.
Running back T. J. Grimsley scored three of the Sabers’ five touchdowns, while quarterback Erica Olson and fullback Andi Pigneri each added one TD. Kicker Kyndal Schaas booted one extra point, and receiver Daidai Harrison caught pass from Olson for a two-point conversion.
About the league
The Women’s Football Alliance League, now in its fourth season, is the largest and fastest growing league in the country and is a full-contact American football league for women. The league kicked off its inaugural season in April 2009, and produced its first national champions in August 2009, the St. Louis Slam.
About the Sabers
The Sabers are enabling women to pursue one of Georgia’s favorite pastimes — playing football.
Savannah Sabers founder Andi Pigneri is excited about the support from within the community and the commitment of her volunteer management group.
“There are many opportunities for us to partner with other non-profits and small businesses. We strive to strengthen local businesses, boost awareness in community involvement all while building a dynasty of excellence within the Saber family,” she said.
The team has key veteran players and coaches, as well as a number of rookies.
“As a team, we are striving to come out strong in every game and play smart football,” said Pigneri, who prior to playing for the Sabers played three seasons for the Kentucky Karma and Louisville Nightmare.
Executive director and coach Paul Snider said, “We currently have 33 players on our roster. Last season, we all had a huge learning curve to overcome, coaches and players alike, in women’s football. Just having enough players and playing all eight games was always an interesting challenge. This season, we have a much more dedicated team, starting with the executive board down through each and every player. The quality of players is very much higher, more athletic and focused on team unity. We are committed to playing as one, and it’s no longer acceptable to simply fill the roster with just warm bodies like last year. No we have higher expectations... We expect to make the playoffs this year.”
Pigneri said, “For so long, many of our players have had to watch from the sidelines. Now it’s our turn to be a part of the lifestyle and play the game.”
The Sabers will host a free blood drive at their next home game on May 19 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Anyone who donates blood will get in for free.
For more information about the Sabers go to savannahsabers.com or find them on facebook at facebook.com/savannahsabers and on Twitter at twitter.com/savannahsabers
To find out info on the WFA, go to wfafootball.com
Springtime with the Sabers
Embracing a favorite Savannah quality–irreverence–we sent transplant Andrea Goto on a quest for “near-native” status. Here’s just one stop on her self-guided tour of exclusive societies, living history, football, gators and guns.
“Yo, dude, I’m not tripping, right? Those are women?” The man points to the field where gals in black helmets run scrimmage drills. They are the Savannah Sabers, an all-women, full-tackle football team prepping for the hard-hitting season that begins on April 14.
To say football is big in the South is like saying religion is important to the Pope. I had to shell out $3 for a University of Georgia hoodie at a yard sale just to stop the dirty looks my unaffiliated sportswear was getting me on game days. This pulled me in from the margins, but to get even closer to the center, I had to suit up as a Saber.
I thought I knew enough to get by: catch ball, run with ball, do a cute dance in the end zone. Apparently, there’s more to it.
“I think it’s too tight,” I say to Kristisha “Kris” Young, a two-year football veteran, as she fits me with a helmet. The mother of three strapping boys grabs the face guard and gives it a rough shake.
“Nah, you don’t want it to move. It’s good.” Good, except that I can’t feel my ears. Good, except that my field of vision has been cut in half. Good except that I can’t wipe my nose. I run like a bobble-headed giraffe with broken knees, and my head aches like I’ve been on a week-long bender.
The girls are all very welcoming, even to a lanky blonde in running shorts (my bad). Keisha Williams, a self-described “girly girl” who moonlights as an Mixed Martial Arts fighter, introduces herself by shaking my hand so hard I think she’s trying to pluck it off and give it to someone who would use it for something more worthwhile than writing. When practice begins, I move a safe distance from Keisha.
For the tackle drill, I choose a woman named “Angel” as my partner, for obvious reasons. She runs at me low, grabs a handful of the back of my shirt and lets me go. Then it’s my turn. I run at her low, wrap my arms around her and grab a handful of her butt.
“Uh, sorry about that.”
She shrugs, “It’s just part of the game.”
Apparently so is getting hit, a fact these otherwise nice women seem very comfortable with.
“I can’t wait to start hitting people,” says Jessica Chandler, a first-time player who drives in from Statesboro to practice. “There’s just something about lightin’ somebody up that’ll make you feel good about your day.”
I’m not so sure. I get distracted on the defensive line while talking to Amber Davis, a cop who tells me how she delivered a baby in a pick-up truck the night before. Jessica runs past me with the ball and gets pushed from behind. As she goes down, her cleat slams into my thigh. I stifle a tear. The girls help Jessica up, slapping her on the back good-naturedly and asking if she’s okay. I see this as my moment to pretend to take an important call—for the remainder of practice.
Being on the inside of the helmet—even if only for moment—gives me a different perspective on Southern football. It’s not really about a winning record or a billion-dollar stadium. It’s about working toward a common goal, encouraging others along the way, and taking a hit that would drop a small elephant (even if it’s from an errant cleat).
I showed up. I played. I got the T-shirt. No, really, instead of a jersey, coach Paul Snider gave me a Sabers’ T-shirt. I think that might be a hint I should embrace the game like the majority of Southerners: from the stands.
Cheer on the Sabers » Memorial Stadium, 101 Scott Dr, Savannah, www.savannahsabers.com.
--> I edited it for accuracy, but it was written by Andrea Goto in the March/April issue of Savannah magazine. <-- Paul Snider
Savannah Sabers Sportsvite site
The Savannah Sabers women’s full-tackle football team now has a page with all detailed team information on SportsVite.com
Become a member of the team and follow all updates, events, practices and games on this new Sports-based social networking site.
About Sportsvite: Learn more about Sportsvite, what it's for, and how to use it.Sportsvite is a different kind of social network all about organizing and managing your sports. It's a tool for organizing your sports teams online, for planning games and events, and for managing and promoting your league. It's a social network for athletes, enthusiasts, or anyone looking to meet like-minded people around sports, games, or other recreational activities. It's for people who are passionate about playing sports and staying active. If that's you, you've come to the right place.
Savannah Sabers get into win column
The Savannah Sabers women’s full-tackle football team earned its first victory Saturday night, a 7-6 win over the Carolina Wolves at Garden City Stadium.
The Wolves (0-4 in the Women’s Football Alliance) led 6-0 when the Sabers’ Andi Pigneri rushed five yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Elizabeth Campbell’s kick was the difference.
Carolina had failed earlier on a two-point conversion after it returned an interception for a score.
Defensive highlights for Savannah (1-3) included Kristine Parrilla’s interception and Precious Hills’ fumble recovery.
Women's football - More than just about the competition
No one gets more excited to go to the grocery store than a pack of toddlers. For them it spells sugary cereals, free samples, and automatic coupon dispensers that never seem to go empty. We can always count on the supermarket to have the product we’re looking for…it satisfies a need, as well as stimulates the mind. It’s business at it’s best: supply meets demand.
When one delves into subjects of product appeal and customer satisfaction, it’s easy to get mixed up in the terms. But the heart of the product must maintain its integrity. This is where women’s sports have drifted off the mark.
Wrapping women’s athletics in sex appeal and equal rights can create initial success, but without a legitimate product behind all that, the lambency will fade and cloud.
When you promote the beauty and sexuality of female athletes, you capture the large male demographic, but only for a short while. There is a wealth of explicit content available to men, and a lot of gorgeous women out there doing a lot of interesting things. ‘Skin deep’ is too true for women’s sports; if the viewership is there for the label and not the soup, most of those consumers will get bored once the can is opened ......
Full Tackle Women's Football is now in the Savannah Area.
The Savannah Sabers are a new team in the WFA, bringing women's football to the Savannah, Georgia area. There has been a lot of excitement brewing, because this team is enabling women to pursue one of Georgia's greatest past times - the sport of football.
Andi Pigneri, Savannah Sabers' founder, is excited about the support from the local community, and inspired by the commitment of her volunteer management group. "There are many opportunities for us to partner with other non-profits and small businesses. We strive to strengthen local businesses, boost awareness in community involvement while building a dynasty of excellence within the Saber family."
The team has a strong foundation of players and coaches, willing to do all it takes to make the team have a successful opening season in April 2011. The team is led by three veterans. Vicky Carney has played middle linebacker for the Kentucky Karma for 7 years. Amber Davis has played defensive end for the Toledo Spitfire for 2 years, and Andi Pigneri has also played 2 years at various positions for the Kentucky Karma and Louisville Nightmare. Practices have already begun, a few months earlier than most teams usually begin training. Pigneri comments, "We want to come out strong, and play smart football. We are trying to overcome the rookie title many players will carry this season."
In Georgia, football is more than just a game - it's an important part of the culture. Everybody loves it, and gathers with friends and family to watch both pro and college games. Pigneri states, "For so long, many of our players have had to watch from the sidelines. Now it's our turn to be a part of the lifestyle and play the game!"
You can also visit us.....
Go to wfafootball.com to view information about the league, Womens Football Alliance.