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When the Louisiana Swashbucklers take the field Saturday night, they will have more than a few fresh faces inside their helmets. (American Press Archives)<br>

When the Louisiana Swashbucklers take the field Saturday night, they will have more than a few fresh faces inside their helmets. (American Press Archives)

Swashbucklers face Albany tonight in season opener

Last Modified: Friday, March 08, 2013 11:25 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

After suffering through an unusual .500 season, the Louisiana Swashbucklers got a face-lift in the offseason.

This was no nip and tuck. The front office did some major surgery to the roster and the direction of the franchise.

The new-look Swashbucklers will be unveiled tonight at the Lake Charles Civic Center against the two-time defending champs from Albany, Ga.

The Pro Indoor Football League opener for both teams kicks off at 7 p.m.

“These are exciting times around here,” said head coach Darnell Lee, who has guided the Swashbucklers to three league championships.

Yet in this, the club’s ninth year, changes had to be made in order to compete with the PIFL, which is an upgrade from other leagues the Swashbucklers have been in.

“This is much more consistent, much tougher football played in this league,” Lee said. “You have to be good week in and week out to compete.”

With that in mind the Swashbucklers went younger and faster. That means some of the fan favorites are gone from years before, but the hope was for an overall talent upgrade. Lee believes it has worked.

“We kept some veterans that still have the passion to play and to teach the young guys,” he said. “But we wanted to become more athletic, to be able to run faster and make big plays.”

Rookie quarterback Tim Curry, just a few months removed from staring at Louisiana College, makes his indoor debut. Curry started his college career at Texas-El Paso and spent some time at Stephen F. Austin before ending up in Pineville.

“I think that will help me because I’m used to fresh starts,” Curry said. “This is a franchise that has had success so the bar is set high. Winning a championship is the only thing that matters.”

As for changing over to the indoor game, “Things are quicker but football is still football,” Curry said.

We start finding out tonight just how good these Swashbucklers are and if they will be good enough to contend for a title.

“I think we have given ourselves a shot, but you don’t know until you put on the pads,” Lee said.

The pads go on tonight.

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