It will be all hands on deck for the Reading Express when they begin play in the Indoor Football League in February 2011. With the signings of Jeff Willis, Nate Romig and Dan Kelly the Express have added some great hands.
Willis returns for his fourth season in an Express uniform. The Florida native has developed into one of the most dangerous red zone threats in the indoor game. In 2010,Willis accounted for a team leading 76 receptions for a total of 768 yards and 18 touchdowns. Willis was also instrumental in helping to lead the Express to the AIFA National Championship in 2009 with 110 receptions for 1306 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Romig has built quite a reputation for his football exploits in his native Berks County. A record setting running back at Daniel Boone High School, Romig continued his football career at Albright College. A four year starter at wide receiver for the Lions, Romig finished his career among the all time leaders in receptions and yardage and his 38 touchdown receptions stands as a new mark in the 102 year history of Albright football. Named an All-American his senior season, Romig helped lead the Lions to the Division III national quarterfinals and a top ten finish in the national rankings. Signed to a contract after graduation in May, Romig played in only 7 games for the Express but still managed 42 receptions and 12 touchdowns.
Kelly has truly earned the nickname “Ironman Dan” in his time on the Express roster. An All-Conference quarterback at Lebanon Valley College, Kelly originally signed with the Express in 2008 and became the backup quarterback to Rob Flowers. Seeking more playing time, Kelly put his athletic ability and knowledge of the passing game to use as a wide receiver, defensive back and also serves as the emergency kicker. He finished the 2010 season with 44 receptions and 14 touchdowns as a receiver. In his time under center, Kelly completed 57 percent of his passes, throwing for 6 scores and was not intercepted. In a 56-20 victory over New Jersey on June 5, Kelly showed his true “Ironman” status by catching, running and throwing for a touchdown.
“Jeff, Nate and Dan are a tremendous asset to our team and we are thrilled to have them coming back to the Express for our first season in the IFL,” said Reading Express Head Coach Chris Thompson about the signing of the three receivers. “Each one of them brings something different to the table but that is what helps make us tick offensively. This is another great day for the Reading Express and another step in the right direction for the upcoming 2011 season.”
Reading Express Indoor Professional Football began play in 2006 in the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa. In five seasons, the team has amassed an overall record of 64-20 with four playoff appearances, two conference titles and the 2009 AIFA National Championship. In 2011,Reading will begin play as a new member of the Indoor Football League.
Story by Bob McCool. Photo by Samuel Getty.