Last season, we saw more passing in the WNFC than at any other time in the league's history. We expect to see that trend continue, as offensive schemes become more balanced across the league. Yet, as is the case in professional football; if you want to win it all, you must be able to consistently run the ball.
It is no coincidence that 5 of the 6 leading rushing offenses in 2022 were all playoff teams. The top 3 teams who produced the most total offense last season (Texas Elite Spartans, Utah Falconz, and Alabama Fire) led the way down the stretch with heavy rushing attacks.
Today, we are looking into the future to see who will earn the WNFC's converted rushing title. For definition purposes, we are only looking at statistical leaders who play the Running Back position and led the league in total rushing yards, and/or rushing TDs.
Let's take a look back...
In 2021, there was no disputing the crown. Kelli Smith (RB, Alabama Fire) lit the league up with a WNFC record high 20 rushing TDs, 1,291 yards, on 14.2 yards per carry in 8 games (91 total carries).
Smith's 2021 season will go down as one of the best on record in the history of football, as the superstar averaged 2.5 TDs and over 150 yards rushing per game.
Meghan Lewis (Denver Bandits), Gina Magana (Utah Falconz), Tonette Zoutomou (LV Silver Stars, Adriana Gutierrez (San Diego Rebellion), and Destanie Yarbrough (Texas Elite Spartans) rounded out the leaders in the '21 season.
2022 was a different story...
The league's rushing TD leader Jasmine Ballard (Washington Prodigy) only toted the rock 60 times and played fewer snaps than any other RB in the top 5. Ballard amassed 10 tuddies on the season, followed closely by Adriana Gutierrez (San Diego Rebellion), Kelli Smith (Alabama Fire), Maya Jamison (Utah Falconz), and Brittney Smith (Atlanta Phoenix).
The leading rusher in yards, Adriana Gutierrez, had the most complete season of any RB in the league. Guitierrez ended the 2022 campaign with 705 yards, and 9 TDs, on 105 carries. As one of the smallest players in the league, Gutierrez showed in 2022 that she could dominate running between the tackles.
Challengers to the crown are coming...
While the top rushers in the league battle it out they will also have to keep an eye out for up-and-comers and a few dynamic newcomers with proven abilities to run all over defenses.
Regina Escoto (San Diego Rebleliion), Ashley McBay (Texas Elite Spartans), Julia Shropshire (Mississippi Panthers), Jene Walker (Atlanta Phoenix), and Maya Jamison (Utah Falconz) all seem to be "next up" on their respective squads.
Escoto and McBay both had highlight-worthy runs throughout the season, while Walker and Jamison seem more than ready to challenge stat leaders for the RB1 spot on their teams!
New to the league, ready to challenge the thrown...
It is no secret that a "RUSH" of talent has signed on with WNFC teams for the 2023 season. International stars Dee Scott (Houston Mambas) and Ken Gabrielle (KC Glory), join walking highlights Tara "Turbo" Thomas (Texas Elite Spartans) and Grace Cooper (Denver Bandits) as real challengers to change how the top 10 rushing list looks in 2023. We venture to guess that at least one of these 4 RBs will land in the top 5 rushing next season.
We know that stats and position groups don't always tell the rushing story. Former MVP Rasan Gore (Mississippi Panthers), Knengi Martin (San Diego Rebellion), Regena Jackson (Mississippi Panthers), and QB Sara Galica (Utah Falconz) are in their own categories.
Nevertheless, the 2023 rushing crown is up for grabs. Stay tuned in this week to see which of these RBs will go head to head as the 2023 schedule gets released on Wednesday.
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