While Canada was looking for golden redemption against the United States at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds, the US had other plans. Armed with a strong running game and a precise passing game, the US overwhelmed an ambitious Canadian contingent.
Having played each other in the gold medal game of the inaugural IFAF Women’s Worlds (held in Sweden in 2010), Canada was hoping to humble an aggressive US squad. Despite their best efforts, Canada struggled against the US passing attack, which logged 367 yards.
With Danielle Golay of the US sacking Canadian signal caller Saadia Ashraf, it was a harbinger of things to come. After Canada’s Aimee Kowalski punted, the US gained control of the ball. Although Emma Hicks (the only woman to have competed in both the MWFL and WWCFL) replied with a sack of Chicago Force quarterback Sami Grisafe, it would not change the momentum in Canada’s favor.
A 47-yard run by Cassey Brick quickly put the US in the driver’s seat. Along with a balanced running attack that featured Odessa Jenkins and Mia Brickhouse (who scored the first touchdown of the game), the Canadian defense struggled. Before the first quarter would end, the US pounded out the ball on the ground. Jenkins punished the Canadian defense with a 42-yard run. Brickhouse would scamper into the end zone as the US jumped out to a 16-0 advantage.
Quite possibly the world’s finest women’s quarterback, Sami Grisafe was looking to add a second IFAF gold medal to her repertoire. As she announced her retirement after the 2013 Women’s Football Alliance, she was hoping to maintain the momentum for her team. On the first scoring play of the second quarter, she would find Chicago Force teammate Jeanette Gray in the end zone.
Canadian quarterback Saadia Ashraf was struggling to bring any consistency to the offensive attack. With a possession that resulted in negative yardage, a comeback was not looming. Backup quarterback Aimee Kowalski punted the ball.
After Odessa Jenkins added to the US lead with a touchdown of her own, Grisafe and Adrienne Smith put the game out of a reach courtesy of a 73-yard touchdown pass. Facing a 36 point deficit to being the third quarter, Canada was not able to match the offensive abilities of their US opponents.
The US would begin the quarter with another touchdown. Grisafe contributed with 59 passing yards as a beleaguered Canadian defense was simply not able to stop the US juggernaut. Elizabeth Sowers (whose sister Katherine also plays for the US) caught a 12-yard touchdown pass.
When Canada regained possession, Ashraf was still at quarterback. With due deference to the Canadian squad, a change at quarterback may have been an effective move. As Ashraf struggled throughout the first half, Kowalski or Amy Mohr (who is a quarterback in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League) may have put some spark into a flat lined Canadian offense.
After another possession of negative yardage, Canada was forced to punt again. Once the US regained the ball, they would have a quarterback change. New York Sharks field general Karen Mulligan came into the contest and she showed no signs of rust. Four consecutive pass completions by Mulligan led to a third Brickhouse rushing touchdown.
With the US enjoying a 50-0 lead, running back Julie David of the Saskatoon Valkyries (one of the tournament leaders in kickoff return yardage) managed 13 rushing yards. With two incomplete passes, including on fourth down, Canada had to give the ball back to an opponent that seemed to score at will.
Brickhouse would add to the US lead on their first possession of the fourth quarter with a rushing touchdown. On Canada’s next possession, they did not fare much better. Ashraf was picked off by Rachel Gore. DC Divas running back Donna Wilkinson made Canada pay for the turnover with a touchdown run for the final score of the game.
Statistically, the US accumulated an astounding 630 yards of total offense while recording 28 first downs. Canada was forced to punt seven times while the US never punted once. Sami Grisafe would log 267 passing yards in less than three quarters of play. Odessa Jenkins shredded the Canadian defense with 84 rushing yards, while Adrienne Smith logged 117 receiving yards.
The only Canadian players who had any significant statistical advantage over their American counterparts were Julie David and Julie Paetsch. Having both won the 2013 WWCFL title with Saskatchewan, the two established themselves as world class athletes. David had 134 all-purpose yards, while Paetsch had 11.5 tackles.