Devils have magic touch

SHANE ROSS

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

The Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and now, the Ottawa Devils.

Okay, so the Devils didn't go undefeated for an entire NFL season, but they went 44-1 en route to their second straight Canadian women's touch football title.

And maybe they can't bench press 300 lbs. or run the 40-yard dash in under five seconds, but don't underestimate their grit.

Think Tom Brady could give birth and return to the field a month later?

That's what Devils DB Michele Dumel and WR Jennifer Minnille did this season, and they weren't the first.

"We don't look like tough girls, but when we get on the field, we turn a little ferocious," said 11-year veteran DB Michelle Leafloor. "Our husbands all shake their heads and say, 'you guys are crazy.' "

But the husbands are definitely supportive. Having a wife who loves football has its advantages come Sunday.

"All of us are CFL or NFL junkies," Leafloor said.

"Typically, on a Sunday or Monday night, I'll have at least one of the girls over to watch the game."

The Devils cheer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, for good reason: Slot receiver Heather Dupuis will marry Roughriders DB Scott Gordon in January.

Last year, the Roughriders won the Grey Cup a few weeks after the Devils won the Trillium Cup.

"(Gordon) is a great supporter," Leafloor said. "In his off-season, he'll come out and work with us on defence. It's fun."

The Devils range from students in their 20s to moms in their 30s and 40s. Nurses, teachers, physiotherapists ... they come from all walks.

Many have excelled in other sports, such as Danika Smith, the captain of the Ottawa Gee-Gees women's hockey team, and two-time MVP QB Kim Kerr, who played women's hockey for the Gee-Gees before graduating last year.

"We had a great blend of veteran leadership and youth and a great blend of personalities, and everyone's very able -- that's the one thing they all share, they're all great players, so it makes for a great team dynamic," said Rodney Moors, a former University of Toronto and Ottawa Bootleggers QB who has coached the Devils for the past two seasons.

"They've been getting better for a couple years now and a lot of it has been around our exceptional quarterback, Kim Kerr, so we're really riding her growth. We have seven on offence and seven on defence, and everyone makes a significant contribution. In many ways, we have the best offence and the best defence around."

Tough to argue with a team that, through tournaments and Ottawa-Nepean Touch Football League games, went 44-1, culminating in a 35-18 win over the Toronto Shock in the national championship Thanksgiving weekend in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que.

"It was one of the best seasons you'll ever see in women's touch football, but it wasn't perfect," Moors said, "so they can still get better."

For now, they're savouring the victory -- they'll be the toast of the league banquet Nov. 1 -- before focusing on getting better next season.

"Sometime after Christmas, the captains and Rod will talk about if we have to do any recruiting, or who may or may not be coming back should other people get pregnant on the team," Leafloor said.

Not that having a baby will keep them out for long.


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