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By Neal Rozendaal[toggle title=”DC 40, Columbus 12″]
Washington, DC – Quarterback Allyson Hamlin scored five touchdowns – four passing and one rushing – and linebacker Trigger McNair had two interceptions on defense to lead the DC Divas to their third victory of the season over the Columbus Comets, 40-12.
The Divas broke open a 6-6 game in the second quarter with three touchdowns in the period. The highlight play was turned in by McNair, who intercepted a pass by Columbus quarterback Crystal Davis. After a brief return, McNair lateraled the ball to Eleni Kotsis, who ran the final 42 yards for a DC touchdown.
Hamlin threw her fourth touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter to pad the Divas’ lead to 40-6. The Divas advanced to the conference semifinals for the ninth time in franchise history, where they will face the Boston Militia.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Boston 63, Pittsburgh 28″]
Boston, MA – The Boston Militia scored six unanswered touchdowns in the span of thirteen minutes, and Boston started their playoff journey in impressive fashion by handing the Pittsburgh Passion a 63-28 defeat.
Pittsburgh and Boston exchanged touchdowns to start the game, but Pittsburgh’s offense failed to keep up with the relentless Militia onslaught. A 7-7 contest quickly turned into a 49-7 Boston advantage with 6:22 left in the second quarter, and the Militia held a 56-14 halftime lead.
Boston notched their ninth touchdown of the game less than four minutes into the second half and coasted from there. They move on to the conference semifinals, where they will host the DC Divas.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Chicago 65, Cleveland 7″]
Chicago, IL – The defending Eastern Conference champion Chicago Force took their first step toward returning to the WFA championship game with a dominating 65-7 victory over the Cleveland Fusion.
Running backs Mary Choules and Brandy Hatcher rushed for five combined touchdowns and quarterback Sami Grisafe threw three touchdown passes to pace the Force. Defensively, the Force completely shut out Cleveland’s offense; the Fusion’s only touchdown came on a Grisafe interception that was returned for a score.
It was an abrupt end to a magical season for the Fusion, who started the season 9-0. Their nine victories were a record for a franchise that dates back to 2002. The Chicago Force, on the other hand, are one of the greatest women’s football franchises that has never won a league championship; Chicago was upset in last year’s WFA championship game by the San Diego Surge, but they are still alive this year in their quest to return and finish the job.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Atlanta 28, Miami 24″]
Atlanta, GA – The extra point attempt after a touchdown is an often-overlooked detail in football, but the Atlanta Phoenix are advancing to the conference semifinals largely because of their attention to it.
The Phoenix and the Miami Fury each scored four touchdowns, but the Phoenix’s two successful two-point conversions made the difference in a close 28-24 win. Atlanta and Miami both recorded two first half touchdowns, but the Phoenix converted the two-point conversion on their second score to take a 14-12 halftime lead.
The second half was a similar story. Atlanta led, 20-18, in the fourth quarter, when a touchdown and successful two-point conversion increased their lead to 28-18. Miami crossed the end zone with six minutes left to cut their deficit to 28-24, but their four failed extra point conversions kept them four points behind and they would get no closer.[/toggle] [toggle title=”St. Louis 58, Kansas City 55″]
Kansas City, MO – For the St. Louis Slam, the third time was the charm. The Slam lost to their division rivals, the Kansas City Titans, twice in the regular season. But the Slam prevailed in a wild shootout Saturday, 58-55, to pull off the biggest upset of the conference quarterfinals.
St. Louis quarterback Kate Evers did her damage on the ground, rushing for six touchdowns. Her teammate Taylor Hay also rushed for two touchdowns and drilled a critical fourth quarter field goal that eventually provided the final margin.
The Slam jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but the Titans fought back to tie the game in the second quarter, 21-21. The two teams furiously exchanged scores until midway through the third quarter, when consecutive touchdowns by Evers gave St. Louis a 49-34 advantage.
Kansas City made the score 49-40 after three quarters, but Evers’ sixth touchdown of the game pushed the lead back out to 55-40 early in the final period. Hay’s field goal minutes later in a 55-48 contest put the Slam back ahead by two scores; those three points proved crucial when the Titans notched their eighth touchdown of the game to slice the deficit to 58-55. The St. Louis Slam, the 2009 WFA champions, ran out the clock on a stunning upset and will host the Dallas Diamonds in the conference semifinals.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Dallas 61, Austin 6″]
Dallas, TX – No team has been able to stay within five touchdowns of the Dallas Diamonds this season. The Austin Outlaws weren’t able to change that trend Saturday, as the Diamonds coasted to a 61-6 triumph.
Dallas defeated the Outlaws twice in the regular season by a combined score of 104-0, so Austin hoped to get off to a good start in their third meeting. But Dallas quickly recovered an Austin fumble, and less than two minutes into the game, they converted it into a touchdown pass from quarterback Brittany Bushman to wide receiver Alberta Fitcheard-Brydson. The Diamonds rolled from there, building a 27-6 lead after one quarter and a 41-6 advantage by halftime.
The Dallas Diamonds, who have the most wins in women’s football history, travel to St. Louis to face the Slam in a conference semifinal game. The Diamonds will try to qualify for the conference championship game for the fourth consecutive season.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Central Cal 65, Utah Jynx 6″]
Fresno, CA – The Central Cal War Angels advanced to the conference semifinals by shattering the Cinderella slipper of the Utah Jynx, winning 65-6.
The Jynx pulled off the biggest upset of the first round of the WFA playoffs by knocking off the previously undefeated Seattle Majestics. They were hoping to continue their magical run against Central Cal, the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. The War Angels dismissed such notions early, building a 41-0 lead at halftime and extending it to 55-0 after three quarters.
Defensively, Central Cal continued their season-long streak of not allowing more than one touchdown to WFA opponents. The War Angels have never advanced to a conference championship game, but they will play for the right to do so when they host the defending WFA champion San Diego Surge in the conference semifinals.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”San Diego Surge 39, Sacramento 13″]
San Diego, CA – The reigning WFA champion San Diego Surge took their first step toward defending their title by eliminating longtime women’s football powerhouse Sacramento, 39-13.
The Surge started their championship defense in impressive fashion, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. They then added two more touchdowns to open up a 19-0 advantage by the second quarter. But the Sacramento Sirens, making a record 11th playoff appearance, refused to fold, scoring two touchdowns of their own to get back in the game and trail by only six at halftime, 19-13.
San Diego took control in the second half, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter for a 33-13 lead and tacking on another in the fourth for the final margin. The Surge next hit the road to face the Fresno-based Central Cal War Angels in a matchup of the two remaining California teams still alive in the WFA playoffs.[/toggle]