The hiatus is over. Not only for the Madison Radicals as a whole after not playing for three weeks, but also long-time player Brian Hart.
The last game the Radicals played was on April 29 versus the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds when they took a last-second loss 18-17. They resume their play in Indianapolis on May 20 at 7 p.m EDT against the AlleyCats.
May 20 will also mark the break of a six-year absence for Hart after battling countless injuries. The last appearance he made was back in 2017 when Madison was amidst the top of the league, and he couldn’t be more excited to get back on the field.
“It means I’m healthy enough, and it’s just the joy of ultimate. This team is capable of winning and that’s what we intend to do,” said Hart. “I just want to contribute, don’t throw turnovers, and finish that game healthy. That would be an awesome weekend.”
Returning to playing and a bit of revenge is in the making for the Radicals because last year in the second game of the two the AlleyCats took them down to nearly eliminate Madison from the playoffs. However, the Radicals did take the first of the two in the 2022 season.
The AlleyCats currently stand at 1-2 with their lone win coming against the Chicago Union last week in a close battle. While the Radicals still have just one game under their belt. The first quarter may be a concern with Madison trying to get their feet wet against a game-ready Indianapolis team.
“We haven’t gotten the same reps as they have in real life situations. We talked about just trying to survive that first quarter, getting our feet under us, and then making a push after that,” said head coach Tim DeByl. “It happened to Minnesota, it happened to Chicago. Right now they are battle-tested. You have to win that first quarter or at least survive it.”
The Radicals are going to have to figure out how to get that spark without even more of their star players. With already some of their star power out before their first game, the injury list got longer with Sterling Knoche and Jack Nelson being added to it. Both will not be playing for the matchup this weekend.
Knoche was seen as the D-line leader and now some other players are going to have to step up and make some plays to replace Knoche’s athleticism and IQ. Look out for Luke Marks to fill that role of the head of the D-line.
Not just one player will need to step up, rather a collection of guys to stop the AlleyCats’ high-powered offense. Playing indoors, as Indianapolis’ home field is, puts an emphasis on creating blocks and speed due to throws being unaffected by any outside factors.
Keegan North is viewed as one of the toughest matchups from DeByl for his team. A lot of the defensive game plan of the Radicals is who Joe Leibforth gets matched up on is something DeByl also mentioned.
“A lot of it starts with stopping Keegan North. He does a lot of their initiation cuts. He usually gives us fits,” said DeByl. “They run a dynamic vertical stack, and he can cut anywhere at any time. Last time we played them, we lost him quite a bit in their system.”
The key for the Radicals to take home their first win of the year will be winning in the margins. A big focus will be on the end of each quarter due to the lack of breaks that will happen with an indoor setting. If they can take three of the four quarters at the end, look for that one in the win column this Saturday night.
Fans can watch the game on AUDL.tv. The opening pull is 6:00 PM CT.