Saturday, March 29, 2003

Swarm kick off 1st arena season



By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Today will mark the newest chapter in Cincinnati professional football when the Swarm, the city's arenafootball2 team, kick off their inaugural season at 7:30 p.m. against the Louisville Fire at Freedom Hall in Louisville.

Swarm coach Chris MacKeown, a four-year veteran of professional indoor football, said he expects his team to compete immediately.

"Our goal is to win the championship," he said. "Is it realistic? I don't know. I do know that the guys we have are awfully good. So our goals are playoffs, championship."

Quarterback Danny Smith will lead the Swarm in their drive to the playoffs. The former Miami University and Southern Illinois quarterback beat out three others in camp to get the opening-day start.

Smith was the starter for one of MacKeown's former teams, the Dayton Skyhawks, in the Indoor Football League. He helped guide them to a 6-3 record as a starter during the 2000-01 season.

That season was MacKeown's first as a head coach at any level, but he always has been associated with winners.

Sticking with what works, he has used training camp to install the intricate offense of the Indiana Firebirds - an Arena Football League team for which he was an assistant the past two seasons, helping the team to the playoffs both years.

"It's a tough, very wordy system," he said.

"But we've had great practices and the guys are working hard to learn it."

The Swarm have another road game and a bye week before returning to Cincinnati for their home opener against Charleston at 7:30 p.m. April 19 at U.S. Bank Arena.




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