[Ed. note: These recaps come to us from DC Divas’ staff writer Neal Rozendaal. As ever: thanks, DC Neal!]
Click any of the scores to expand the recap for that game:
The D.C. Divas advanced to their first conference championship game since 2010 and their first as members of the WFA with a 40-6 victory over the Atlanta Phoenix. The Divas (10-0) have reached double-digit victories in a season for the third time in team history.
The Phoenix (6-4) got an early break, recovering the opening kickoff in D.C. territory. But they turned the ball over on downs at the Divas’ 30-yard line, and the Divas wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Allyson Hamlin found Ashley Whisonant for a 66-yard touchdown pass on the Divas’ second offensive play of the game. Hamlin added a touchdown of her own on a quarterback sneak later in the period, and the Divas led after one quarter, 13-0.
Hamlin threw two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Whisonant caught her second touchdown pass of the game early in the period, and Kentrina Wilson added a 77-yard touchdown reception late in the first half. The Divas’ defense also produced on the scoreboard, as linebacker Alicia Hopkins ran an interception back 50 yards for a score. The Divas led at halftime, 34-0.
Atlanta scored their only touchdown of the game on a 38-yard pass from Tammy Nelson to Ramiah Smith. That score in the third quarter cut the Divas’ advantage to 34-6, but the Divas responded later in the period with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Callie Brownson for the final points of the game.
The Chicago Force avenged their only loss of the season by getting the only road victory of the conference semifinal round, traveling to Boston and toppling the Renegades, 49-18. The Force (9-1) now advance to the conference championship game for the fourth consecutive year.
The game could not have started better for the Force, as Jamie Fornal returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and put Chicago ahead, 7-0, just 18 seconds into the game. Fornal made another key play on Chicago’s next drive, catching a 13-yard pass at the one-yard line on fourth and eight. Rachel Gore carried from there on a one-yard keeper to put Chicago ahead, 13-0.
The Renegades (4-3) got on the scoreboard with a 23-yard field goal by Brooke Goodman and cut the deficit to 13-3 after one quarter. On Chicago’s next possession, Gore scored her second rushing touchdown of the day, a six-yard carry on fourth and one that pushed the lead up to 19-3. But Allison Cahill countered for the Renegades with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Adrienne Smith, pulling the Renegades back within 19-10 midway through the second quarter.
Cassey Brick gave Chicago command of the game with two explosive touchdown runs. Brick took a short screen pass from Gore and ran 61 yards for the end zone, and minutes later, she took another screen pass and zipped 76 yards for another long touchdown. Brick’s two scoring runs put Chicago on top at halftime, 35-10.
Gore added two more rushing touchdowns in the third quarter – giving her four for the game – and the Force had a 49-10 advantage after three periods. Stacey Tiamfook scored on an 11-yard touchdown run with three minutes remaining in the game for Boston, but the Force ran out the clock on an impressive 49-18 victory.
The Dallas Elite moved on to the conference championship game in their inaugural season of play with a 70-14 victory over the Kansas City Titans. The Elite (10-0) have won every single game this season by 40 points or more.
The Titans (6-4), however, came to play and competed early. After Tiffany Hill put Dallas on top initially with a 30-yard touchdown run, Kansas City returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and executed the two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead. The Elite found themselves behind in a game for the first time all season long, and they trailed by two points after the first quarter.
Brittany Satterwhite put the Elite back on top, 12-8, with a 30-yard touchdown run. Kansas City responded, however, and seized the lead right back on a 48-yard touchdown run for a 14-12 advantage. But Dallas would go ahead for good midway through the second quarter on Satterwhite’s second touchdown run of the game, which handed the Elite a 20-14 lead.
From there, it was all Dallas. Odessa Jenkins rushed for a touchdown to give the Elite some breathing room, and Tiffany Hill got her second rushing touchdown of the game just before halftime to put Dallas on top at intermission, 36-14.
The Elite built on their lead in the third quarter with four rushing touchdowns in the frame. Tiffany Hill added two of those to finish the contest with four rushing scores, and the Elite built a 62-14 lead after three quarters. Jenkins added her third touchdown of the game in the final period, as the Elite scored 58 unanswered points to close out 70-14 victory.
The San Diego Surge advanced to their fourth conference championship game in five years with a hard-fought 57-27 victory over the Seattle Majestics. The Surge (9-1) improved to 13-1 all-time in American Conference playoff games.
The Majestics (9-1) jumped all over San Diego early. Seattle recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff, and Rachel Woods then found Tessla Rennie near the goal line. Although Rennie fumbled the ball, Julia McComas recovered in the end zone for a Majestics touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Jackie McCall then picked off a San Diego pass, which set up another Seattle touchdown. Woods found Rennie in the red zone again, and this time she held on for the score and a 13-0 advantage. But San Diego gained some momentum when Jessica Springer took the blocked extra point kick attempt and returned it all the way across the field for a two-point conversion and a 13-2 deficit.
The Surge then went to work on offense behind Alexis Snyder, who rushed for two straight touchdowns to put San Diego in front, 16-13. Natasha Johnson intercepted a Seattle pass with seconds remaining in the first quarter and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Surge advantage to 23-13 after a wild first quarter.
Snyder added her third touchdown run of the game early in the second period, putting San Diego on top, 30-13. But just as it looked like San Diego might be pulling away, Woods found Melissa Castor on a five-yard touchdown strike to close the Majestics within 30-20 at halftime.
The Surge would lean on Deana Guidry in the second half, and she delivered by rushing for two touchdowns. Her first score pushed San Diego’s advantage back out to 37-20, but again, Seattle responded. Woods threw her third touchdown pass of the game, a 40-yard strike to Chris Hernandez, and the Majestics were back within ten points at 37-27 after three quarters.
San Diego finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, however, with three scores in the final frame. Melissa Gallegos threw her only touchdown pass of the night to Knengi Martin for an eight-yard score, and rushing touchdowns by Guidry and Adrianna Bush sealed a 57-27 victory for the Surge.
[Ed. note: These recaps come to us from DC Divas’ staff writer Neal Rozendaal. As ever: thanks, DC Neal!]
Click any of the scores to expand the recap for that game:
Playoff openers are apparently not a problem for the D.C. Divas. The Divas scored three touchdowns on special teams, and four different players each chipped in a rushing touchdown as the Divas triumphed over the Miami Fury, 48-12.
The D.C. Divas made their 12th playoff appearance in team history, a women’s football record they share with the Chicago Force. By defeating the Fury, the Divas improved to 10-2 all-time in playoff openers, with their ten wins another women’s football record.
The Divas (9-0) were aided by two punt return touchdowns from D’Ajah Scott, and the special teams added a third touchdown off of a blocked punt. Running backs Kenyetta Grigsby, Okiima Pickett, and Callie Brownson and quarterback Allyson Hamlin all scored rushing touchdowns in the victory.
The Fury (6-3), along with the Divas, celebrated their 15th season of play this year as two of the three oldest franchises in the WFA. Miami received a strong effort from fullback Brittani Johnson, who scored a rushing touchdown in the first half.
The Atlanta Phoenix capped a remarkable comeback and captured the 2015 Southeast Region crown with a dominating 48-9 road victory over the Jacksonville Dixie Blues.
Following a May 30 loss to the D.C. Divas, the 3-3 Atlanta Phoenix found themselves just outside of the WFA playoff picture. But the Phoenix (6-3) ripped off three straight victories, including a 13-6 win over Jacksonville in their regular season finale that earned them a berth in the Southeast Region championship game.
Atlanta took advantage of that opportunity. Tagged as a six-point underdog, the Phoenix outscored Jacksonville, 36-0, in the second half to break open a close game and claim the Southeast Region title for the second time in three years.
The Dixie Blues (6-3), who enjoyed a decade-long run as a longtime powerhouse franchise in the Southeast, came up one game short of their first regional title since 2012.
The Boston Renegades’ playoff debut picked up right where the Boston Militia left off. Running back Stacey Tiamfook rushed for four touchdowns, quarterback Allison Cahill added four more on the ground and through the air, and the Boston Renegades easily advanced with a 59-12 victory over the West Michigan Mayhem.
The Renegades’ predecessor team, the Boston Militia, won their last four playoff games en route to the 2014 national championship, and the Renegades continued that tradition against West Michigan. Tiamfook scored two of her touchdowns on long runs of 81 and 62 yards, respectively, and three of her scores came in the first half as the Renegades (4-2) built a commanding 42-0 lead at halftime. Cahill threw three touchdown passes – two to Kathryn Tylander and one to Adrienne Smith – and rushed for another in the Boston victory.
Fullback Heather Anderson scored a touchdown for the Mayhem (6-3), who made their tenth playoff appearance in team history.
The 2013 national champions are back in force. The Chicago Force had the highest scoring output of the conference semifinal round, recording ten touchdowns and routing the Cleveland Fusion, 71-14.
The Force (8-1) returned three interceptions for touchdowns, two by defensive back Elisha Okrey and one by Kelsey Casey. Not to be outdone, the offense, led by dual-threat quarterback Rachel Gore, was nearly flawless. Gore, the former signal caller for Seattle Majestics, rushed for two touchdowns and tossed three more, one each to three outstanding receivers – Jennifer Grey, Cassey Brick, and Jamie Fornal. Running back Brandy Hatcher also added two rushing touchdowns in the win.
The Fusion (6-3) had a terrific season, putting up strong showings in the regular season against the top teams in the conference. Cleveland was widely expected to be competitive against Chicago and was only an eight-point underdog going into the contest, but they fell victim to a Force squad determined to let the sport know that they are serious contenders for their third conference title in four years.
So here’s on top of their game: Ken Massey.
Here’s who’s not: the WFA.
Here’s who’s surprised: no one.
However, I can’t guarantee to you that every part of it is right, because the WFA has STILL not published ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THE POST-SEASON. Sorry for the overcaps there but OMG WHAT THE HELL. So what I’m using is the latest info that was sent to teams mid-season; I have been in contact with multiple coaches & owners throughout the league and none of them have received anything different, so I’m going with it.
Side note: I can’t tell you anything about the “Regional Alliance Bowl Games”, because see above re: NO INFORMATION. The document just says “top seeds not in playoffs”, so you’d think that would be pretty straightforward — except that on the actual playoff bracket, there is an Alliance Bowl game listed there. What teams are those? How do they get there? Wouldn’t it be nice to know? Will the Regional Bowl games turn into a bracket where they play subsequent rounds and then the two top teams play on championship weekend? Or will those two teams be chosen first based on some criteria none of us know about, and then the Regional games will be the top seeds not counting those two teams? How many questions in a row can I ask? Don’t you think that’s a good question?
OK, folks. I hope to post some analysis soon re: how yesterday’s games affected the bracket and what we might expect from the first round games, but I have slept for literally four hours since Friday morning so I don’t think now’s the time to do that. If you look at the bracket and there’s something you don’t understand (or that you think is incorrect), please let me know! That’s why I do this. Or, that’s why I do this after a nap.
Region: Pacific North (Playoff spots: 2)
Team Massey # Seattle Majestics 7 Tacoma Trauma 17 Portland Shockwave 22 Portland Fighting Fillies 28 Everett Reign 29 Utah Blitz 36
Pac North #1: Seattle. Virtual lock.
Pac North #2: This spot is likely go to Tacoma; they are ahead of the Shockwave and will win their last game (vs. Thee Everett Reign). The Shockwave, on the other hand, are virtually guaranteed to lose against Seattle in their final game. Massey ratings are a fairly complicated algorithm, however, wherein it can be better for you to lose to a strong team than win against a weak one, so I wouldn’t count this one locked up entirely. But I’d be quite surprised if it weren’t Seattle and Tacoma in the end.
Region: Pacific South (Playoff spots: 2)
Team Massey # San Diego Surge 2 Pacific Warriors 8 Central Cal War Angels 10 Sin City Sun Devils 25 West Coast Lightning 35 Arizona Assassins 37 Ventura Wolfpack 39
Pac South #1: San Diego Surge all day.
Pac South #2: Interestingly, this is almost a mirror of the North region: The Pacific Warriors are slightly ahead of the Central Cal War Angels, and will win their final game against Arizona (a low-ranked team) while the War Angels will likely lose to San Diego, the second-highest-ranked team in the league. Again, I think the final rankings will maintain Pac Warriors over Central Cal, but we’ll see.
Region: Midwest (Playoff spots: 4)
Team Massey # Dallas Elite 4 Arlington Impact 16 St Louis Slam 19 Kansas City Titans 20 Houston Power 24 Minnesota Machine 26 Tulsa Threat 31 Acadiana Zydeco 33 Arkansas Wildcats 34 Austin Outlaws 38 South Texas Lady Crushers 40
Midwest #1: Dallas Elite, no question.
Midwest #2, #3 & #4: Likely to be Arlington, St Louis & Kansas City, but I couldn’t tell you in which order. (I don’t think Houston can do themselves enough good beating South Texas on Saturday to displace any of those guys.)
Region: Northeast Central (Playoff spots: 2)
Team Massey # Chicago 5 West Michigan 12 Indy 13 Detroit 21 Derby City 30
NE Central #1: Chicago!
NE Central #2: Not Chicago! That’s what I can tell you for certain. Beyond that, it’s either West Michigan or Indy. In their final games of the regular season, Indy will decimate Derby City and West Michigan will lose to Cleveland. I feel less certain about this call than either of the Pacific ones, partly ’cause they just flip-flopped in the standings this week. Sorry I can’t tell you more.
Region: Northeast East (Playoff spots: 3, kinda)
Team Massey # DC 1 Boston 3 (not eligible for NE East Mid-Atlantic spot) Cleveland 6 Central Maryland 18 Columbus 23
If you haven’t already, you should go read the playoff info section about the Northeast East; it explains this in detail. But my guess is that this will shake out as follows:
NE East Mid-Atlantic #1: DC.
NE East “#1″: Boston.
NE East “#2″: Cleveland.
Region: Southeast (Playoff spots: 3)
Team Massey # Jacksonville 9 Tampa Bay 11 Atlanta 14 Miami 15 Daytona 27 Orlando 32
Southeast #1, #2 & #3: Jacksonsville’s in; of Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Miami, two will go to the playoffs and one will stay home. It seems unlikely that Tampa Bay wouldn’t make it, so now you’ve got Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and either Atlanta or Miami. Wouldn’t want to guess at final order until I looked at who each team’s last opponent is, which I can’t do now ’cause it’s friggin’ one in the morning and I’ve got two sick kids. Sorry for shortchanging you, Southeast. I’ll be back.
Nothing guaranteed, all opinions my own, don’t book travel, etc. etc.
And by “party” I mean “absolutely well-intentioned attempt to share and explain the 2015 WFA playoff structure because it’s beyond absurd that no one’s told you this by now forchrissakes it’s already June.”
So these links are up in the header, but here’s the bracket and here’s the info. They don’t really make sense without each other, so be sure to check out both. And then maybe have a nap or something. I know I want to.
ETA: Since Massey ratings are so important this year and they’re not necessarily easy to understand, I’ll post a (hopefully) in-depth explanation of who’s currently where and why later tonight.