Billings Outlaws indoor football team ‘can’t wait’ for Thursday’s preseason game at Metra | 406mtsports

BILLING — Game day has arrived for the Billings Outlaws.

The first-year Indoor Soccer Champions League expansion franchise will face the Lone Star Pitbulls of Texas in a preseason contest Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at MetraPark’s First Interstate Arena.

Nearly a year ago, news broke that officials at MetraPark’s First Interstate Arena and the group that owns Billings’ indoor football team, Pick Six Entertainment, had agreed to a 2022 contract.

Following the announcement that indoor football would return to Billings in mid-April 2021, it was on April 30, 2021 that Pick Six co-owners Keith Russ and Tel Koan officially announced that the team would join CIF and begin to play in March 2022.

In July, it was announced that in a competition open to fans to name the team, indoor football fans had overwhelmingly voted to dub the team the Outlaws – a nod to a former indoor team of Billings.

Then in the fall, veteran indoor football coach Brian Schmidt was hired to be the Outlaws’ head coach. At the time, Schmidt acknowledged the success of the former Outlaws football team on the field with championship titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010, and said “the expectation is to win championships”.

With training camp having begun earlier this month, the Outlaws are eager to take to the field and demonstrate their abilities in front of hometown fans.

“I don’t know anything about them and I don’t care,” Schmidt said in practice Monday when asked about the Pitbulls. “It’s a chance to play in front of a shirt of another color.”

Outlaws players are ready to play on Metra turf. The team trained at the Sports Plex.

“Most definitely. I can’t wait,” quarterback Charles McCullum said. “I’ve been looking forward to this day for three weeks, just to get started and see what we have.”

In a previous interview with The Billings Gazette and on March 18, Schmidt said the Outlaws would use the game to help evaluate the team.

Billings had 34 players in camp as of March 18. The opening day roster will consist of 25 players. The Outlaws’ regular season opener is April 2 at Sioux City, Iowa, and the team’s home opener is April 10 against Salina, Kansas.

“To be honest, obviously to go out injury-free and to assess some of our bubble guys and really put on a good show and work on some things,” Schmidt said of his goals for Thursday. “And hit someone different for a day. We hit each other.

Billings will have a veteran presence at quarterback. McCullum, 36, is a nine-year indoor soccer veteran. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound McCullum was the Football League Indoor MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 while playing for Wichita Falls. He was also the 2016 IFL MVP for Wichita Falls. Both seasons he was an IFL first-team quarterback.

“It’s almost over, although I’m just blessed,” McCullum said of his career. “I’m happy to be in Billings and I hope to help us win a championship. That’s the plan.”

The Atlanta native is thrilled to play Billings under Schmidt. Schmidt has coached every one of McCullum’s stops since 2016 and is the reason the QB chose to play in the Magic City.

“To be honest, it was Coach Schmidt. He was looking for a QB, someone he knew,” McCullum said.

Schmidt said his offense aims to score 100 points per game.

“We always aim to go for 100,” Schmidt said. “We want to be the best performing team in the league. It is our state of mind. »

Claude Davis, 32, of Lakeland, Fla., is a seven-year indoor soccer veteran. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive lineman is thrilled to play at the Metra.

“Just to get started and see what we put together,” Davis said. “The camp was fun and the guys are learning the system. It will be fun to see what happens on Thursday.

Davis said the current group of Outlaws are aware of the success of their predecessors on the field. He said the goal is to be a championship-caliber team.

“That’s the mentality of everyone coming in,” he said. “We want to keep the tradition.

Davis said he didn’t know much about the Pitbulls other than that they played outdoor and indoor football. Russ said the Pitbulls play outdoor games in the spring and summer and indoor competitions in the winter.

“An outside team playing inside,” Davis said. “It’s gonna be fun.”

McCullum said the Outlaws are eager to begin the first part of the journey with Thursday’s exhibition contest. In total, Billings will play 10 regular season home games.

“I don’t even know who we are playing against. It does not matter. It will be a live practice and to get your feet wet and get to grips with the game,” McCullum said. “April 2 will be the test and our real first game, when we start our real season.”

McCullum said he believed the Outlaws would be a championship contender come playoff time.

“We will definitely win games,” he said.

Davis will be joined on the line by 2011 Billings West graduate Dylan Donahue, who was selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Outlaws as 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, was the 2016 Gulf Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year at West Georgia as a defensive end.

“Our defense is hard-hitting and flying everywhere,” Davis said. “I expect Dylan and I to get a lot of sacks this year.”

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