WENATCHEE -- If the Wenatchee Valley Venom is going to beat the Tri-Cities Fever tonight -- kickoff is at 7:05 p.m. in the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee -- it'll have to do it by moving the ball against the Fever's vaunted defense.
That won't be easy, especially with linebacker Jason Beauchamp manning the defense for Tri-Cities.
In last week's 76-28 win over the Arizona Adrenaline, Beauchamp scored the Fever's first touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the end zone. He was also credited with five tackles, and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
Fever coach Adam Shackleford was impressed.
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"He's a leader of that defense," said Shackleford. "The guys look to him and the respect he has both on and off the field from his teammates is very evident, with the way they kind of rally around him."
Just enjoy him while you can Fever fans, because Shackleford doesn't expect him to be with the team very long.
"I expect someone to sign him (in the AFL, CFL or NFL)," Shackleford said.
Beauchamp finished his college career in 2009 at UNLV as the team's leading tackler with 95. And at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he looked like a potential NFL prospect.
He wasn't drafted in 2010, but he signed a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints and went to the team's offseason workouts.
"It was very exciting," Beauchamp said. "It was really a dream come true."
But Beauchamp made a mistake in that he didn't retain an agent and dealt with management himself.
"I was very inexperienced," he admitted. "I would have hired an agent if I had to do it all over again."
The Saints let him go before preseason camp began, but the Detroit Lions signed him. They wanted him to drop weight.
"I weighed 250 pounds at the time, and they wanted me to drop down to 230 and play defensive end," he said. "This was before camp. I did it, but they decided not to keep me."
At that point, Beauchamp wasn't sure football was in the cards for him.
So he tried boxing.
A company from San Diego called The All American Heavyweight Boxing Team called him and asked him to sign with him.
The company states that its goal is to find the next great heavyweight champ, and it wants him to be an American.
"All they were doing was recruiting ex-NFL players for boxing," Beauchamp said. "I told them at the time that I might as well do it now."
Beauchamp was good.
"I never lost a fight," Beauchamp said. "I was being trained by Evander Holyfield and Henry Tillman in Los Angeles, and they were grooming me for a shot at the 2012 Olympics."
As late as December, his name was being bandied about as an up-and-comer in the division.
But football is stiil in his blood.
"That's what it is," he admitted. "Just before (Fever) camp started, Adam called me and I came in. Football is my first love, and I am not a quitter."
He knew Shackleford and liked that he wasn't pushy.
And he likes the indoor game.
"First you have to get used to that wall," Beauchamp said. "There is so much speed on the field because the field is so small. Outdoors, you have a lot more time. With this, it's all reaction."
And for Beauchamp, a chance for a knockout tackle.
Shackleford said Wenatchee Valley looks a lot better now that the Venom got its quarterback from last season, Devin Hollins, back. "We've got to control that quarterback," Shackleford said. ... Shackleford traded running back Robert Harding (Fresno State) to the Nebraska Danger this week for future considerations, which means if the Danger is looking to move someone, the Fever get first chance at them. ... Fever owner Teri Carr said she believes there should be around 75 Fever fans at the game tonight.