Rozendaal’s Recaps 2015 – Round 1
[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.