On the road towards gaining the 2014 WFA national championship, a key turning point for the Boston Militia occurred during their regular season victory against the Chicago Force. After suffering a loss to the Force in the 2013 American Conference championship game, a message was sent that any future hopes for a title would have to begin with a victory against Chicago.
Competing at the neutral site of Munhall, Pennsylvania, the 2014 match up added a new dimension to their rivalry. Despite Sami Grisafe not being able to play for the Force, along with the Militia missing a few players, it was a hotly contested game.
Despite the Force winning the coin toss, they elected to receive only at the beginning of the second half. The Militia orchestrated a seven-play drive that resulted in turning the ball over on downs. It would prove to be a minor setback as the Force fumbled on the second play of their first possession.
Tomi Gibson would provide the early heroics, recovering the fumble for the Militia. A 57-yard effort would follow as veteran player Stacey Tiamfook ran four yards into the end zone for the score. The point after was successfully converted by Emily Holland.
Facing a rare 7-0 deficit, the Force attempted to tie the score but was forced to punt. Proving that the punt is an effective strategy, the Force defense overpowered Militia quarterback Allison Cahill and a two-point safety was the result.
The Force would find themselves falling behind further as the Militia needed only nine plays to find their way into the red zone. Covering 66 yards, Tiamfook ran the sweep into the end zone and earned her second touchdown of the game. With Holland converting the point after attempt, the lead expanded to 12 points.
Grisafe’s absence was highly evident as the Force struggled to assemble an offensive attack. Mocha Torres would intercept a pass and bring it back 12 yards, putting the Militia on the Force’s own 36-yard line. Once again, the Militia only needed nine plays to return to the end zone. Dorothy Donaldson would run it in for a one-yard score, while Holland kicked her third point of the day.
On the following kickoff, the Force managed to post some points on the scoreboard with a 75 yard kickoff return. Reducing the Militia’s lead to a 21-10 score, it would not last very long. Returning to Donaldson as its running option, the Militia punished the Force defense with a 45-yard offensive drive. Capping it off with the aforementioned Donaldson earning a 15-yard score, the first half ended with a 28-10 lead.
The second half began on a scoring note as the Force returned the kickoff over 70 yards. Complemented by a two-point conversion, the score was now 28-18 in favor of the Militia. Followed by Alison Cahill having to punt the ball, the Force was hoping the momentum would turn in their direction.
Defensively, the Militia would prove to be the factor in the game. Holding off the Force’s attack on offense, the third quarter ended with the Force not being able to add any more points. This was compounded by Jennifer Olivieri intercepting a Force pass in the fourth quarter.
Adrienne Smith, a member of Team USA’s gold medal effort at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds, made an impact on the next offensive series. A 45-yard pass play with Cahill resulted in the Militia having the ball on the 12-yard line, ready to add to their lead. Another sweep to Tiamfook would but the game out of reach for the Force as the Militia extended their lead by 17 points.
Although Briannah Gallo earned another interception for the Militia, the Force defense worked tirelessly to prevent another touchdown as Cahill punted again. Unfortunately, the Force’s offense could not assemble an effective attack. A fumble was recovered by Kristen Sarson, giving the ball back to the Militia.
Playing with determination, the Force defense forced the Militia to turn the ball over on downs. Desperate to score, the Force attempted to convert a fourth down opportunity but were stymied by the Militia’s defense. Running out the clock, a jubilant Militia squad extended their undefeated streak, providing the Force with their first loss of the season.
Offensively, Asia Landrum (who did not score a touchdown) ground out the Force defense, pounding 110 rushing yards on only 18 carries. Cahill would contribute 50 passing yards while her 152 passing yards added to a potent offense. Smith managed 102 receiving on only five receptions.
Their leadership would prove to be essential as the Militia posted an undefeated regular season. Ironically, the American Conference championship game was a repeat of 2013. Playing the Chicago Force, Boston’s confidence resulted in a convincing 63-14 triumph, paving the way towards the WFA National Championship Game.