|Based in||Trenton, New Jersey|
|Arena||Sun National Bank Center|
|Colors||Black, Gold, Garnet
|Head coach||Rod Miller|
|General Manager||Richard Lisk|
The Trenton Steel was a professional indoor football team that began play in the Southern Indoor Football League in the 2011 season. The team suspended operations December 27, 2011. The Steel were based in Trenton, New Jersey, with home games played at the Sun National Bank Center. The team made its home debut March 26, 2011, losing 76-73 to the Erie Explosion before a crowd of 3,620 fans. The team notched its first victory, defeating the Explosion, 65-62, at Erie's Tulio Arena April 9, 2011.
With a 52-22 win at Harrisburg June 11, the Steel finished their first regular season with an 8-4 record. The team also qualified for the SIFL Playoffs. The team finished its inaugural season with a 62-60 loss to the Columbus Lions in the SIFL Eastern Conference semifinals, ending a first campaign that was a success on many fronts.
The Steel were featured in both a major story focusing on Indoor Football and a Web site slide show in the New York Times' June 28, 2011, editions.
In defeating the Carolina Speed, 86-42, April 16, 2011, before 3,071 fans in the Sun National Bank Center, the Steel recorded their first-ever win at home, and the first home victory by an Indoor Football team representing Trenton. The team stretched its win streak to three with a 61-45 victory at Harrisburg April 23, 2011.
The Steel won their fourth straight game, 69-41 at Fayetteville, April 29. The club was helped by defensive additions such as lineman Tyrell Zimmerman and Melik Brown and defensive back Charles Graves, plus the play of linebacker Mike Andrews, to go with its potent offense. The club then notched its fifth-straight win, defeating Harrisburg, 78-36, May 7 before a franchise-record 4,035 fans. All Steel games are carried live by "The Bronc at 107.7 FM with Daryle Dobos calling the play-by-play.
On November 4, 2010, the Steel announced its new ownership group, owned by Fanteractive LLC and new team president Andrew Bondarowicz. Assuming the role of General Manager is Richard Lisk, who spent several seasons as the General Manager of the Philadelphia Soul as well as the Trenton Titans of the ECHL (now known as the Trenton Devils). The Steel are Trenton's first indoor football team since the Indoor Professional Football League's Trenton Lightning. That team, despite widespread fan support, folded after only six games into their only season (2001) because of their owner's indictment on various charges.
The Steel began their first training camp March 4, 2011, with a staff of head coach Rod Miller and assistants Kahlil Carter, Jermaine Lewis and Rob Stanavitch. Top players who emerged as key early season performers include Oderick Turner, a wide receiver from the University of Pittsburgh, and Keon Lattimore, a running back and former Maryland star who is the younger brother of NFL great Ray Lewis. Lattimore also showed his ability at linebacker, returning two interceptions for touchdowns vs. Carolina, earning SIFL Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. Lattimore, who left the team May 12, garnered his second SIFL Defensive Player of the Week honor for his performance vs. Fayetteville April 29.
The team's five-game win streak ended in Erie May 13, as the Explosion outscored the Steel, 90-79. The Steel rebounded to notch an 83-23 win over Harrisburg May 20 before 3,139 fans as the team's defense forced a record seven interceptions thrown by Harrisburg quarterback Brian Harris. Defensive back Gladel Brutus had three picks and earned SIFL Player of the Week honors, while newly signed Dez Maul had a pair and Charles Graves returned one for a touchdown.
The Steel then avenged that loss to Erie by defeating the Explosion 78-53 before 2,859 fans May 26. Wide receiver Damon Harrison scored six touchdowns in that contest as the first-year club assured itself a winning season. That win, coupled with a loss by Richmond, allowed the team to clinch a playoff berth in its first season.
"It was a long way back after starting 0-3, said Miller. "But our guys never lost focus. I'm proud of them.
Dan Huff, a former quarterback at FDU-Florham and a wide receiver with the Steel, is emerging as one of the SIFL's top stars. Kicker Craig Camay, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, and former All-America selection at Tennessee-Chattanooga, was named SIFL Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after the opening week of play. Camay set an SIFL record with a 61-yard field goal vs. Fayetteville in Week 3. The kicker picked up a second SIFL award in Week 11 May 29.
Players from the Greater Trenton area who have made their marks with the Steel include quarterback E.J. Nemeth, a former Notre Dame High star who played at Sacred Heart, Eric Bullock, a two-way lineman who starred at both Trenton Central High and Norfolk State, and Antonio Rivera, a wide receiver who is a Willingboro native and played at St. Francis (Pa.)
Camay was named SIFL Special Teams MVP July 8, 2011, and was joined on the SIFL All-Star Team by Nemeth, Turner and Huff. Nemeth (Utah) and linemen Nate Tucker (Cleveland) and Brown (Philadelphia) advanced to the Arena Football League after the SIFL season concluded. Zimmerman signed with the AFL Tulsa Talons.
Suspension of operations
On December 27, 2011, the Steel's management announced that they would not field a team for the 2012 season. High travel costs due to a lack of nearby opponents and a dearth of corporate sponsors led to serious financial losses for the team in its first season. With minor indoor football leagues going through a period of instability, ownership did not believe that the team could operate successfully in 2012 but did not rule out a possible return in 2013.
|2011||8||4||0||2nd EC Northeast||Lost EC Round 1 (Columbus)|