Boston Militia’s upset of Chicago Force the best game of 2014 WFA regular season

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.

Force moves on to title game as they defeat Militia in battle of undefeated teams

With the 2013 postseason marking the third consecutive playoff encounter between the Chicago Force and the Boston Militia, stakes were high as the winner would advance to the 2013 WFA National Title Game. As both clubs were undefeated, pressures mounted on both sides as each team employed a different offense.

A highly potent running attack led by 2,000-yard rusher Whitney Zelee signified Boston’s charge to the conference championship game, while the Chicago Force depended on the rocket arm of Sami Grisafe.

The talent on each squad was remarkable as both contributed players to the US National Team that captured gold at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds. Boston sent four players to Team USA; Adrienne Smith Mia Brickhouse, Victoria Eddy and Stephanie Jeffers.

Of note, nine members from the Force roster competed for Team USA. Quarterback Sami Grisafe headlined a group that featured Jeanette Gray, Brandy Hatcher, Jamie Menzyk, Elizabeth Okey, Tami Engelman, Dawn Pederson and Ashely Berggren. In addition, Force head coach John Konecki was also named as bench boss for Team USA.

Lazier Field provided the backdrop for this intense rivalry as the National Football Conference crown was at stake. Boston received the kickoff and Asia Landrum ran it back 49 yards to give the squad great field position. Unable to convert on a fourth-down play, Boston was unable to capitalize on the impressive kickoff return.

The first score of the game came courtesy of a highlight-reel play by Jessica Javelet. An exchange of punts put Chicago on their own 10-yard line. Running a sweep around the right sideline, Javelet ran for daylight on a remarkable 90-yard touchdown. It provided Chicago with the confidence to counter the undefeated Militia’s premier running game.

Having won the national title in 2012 with the San Diego Surge, Javelet would prove to be a shrewd acquisition for Chicago. She would log two more touchdowns as part of a punishing running game for Chicago.

While it is not their traditional method to run the ball on offense, it was part of a big statement against a Boston team that boasted the best running game in the WFA. Despite Grisafe’s reduced impact on the offense, she would make her presence felt. Ashley Berggren would catch a 20-yard touchdown pass from Grisafe in the second quarter, as the first half closed with a convincing 26-0 lead at halftime.

Meanwhile, Whitney Zelee, the first woman in WFA history to log a 2,000-yard season could only manage 13 yards on eight carries in the first half.
Once again relying on Zelee, Boston would wear down Chicago’s defense in the second half. Zelee would score three touchdowns as she returned to form. Touchdown runs of 5, 6 and 76 yards put Boston back into the game. Quarterback Allison Cahill would also throw a touchdown pass to Adrienne Smith.
Despite the momentum, Boston’s high-powered running game would be unexpectedly cooled off.

A half-hour delay in the fourth quarter (due to lightning) only added to the tension as Boston was looking to overcome its 39-27 deficit. Due to the rainfall, the ball became slippery as the elements became an unforeseen opponent for both squads.
Despite their best efforts, Boston was unable to come back. Zelee would accumulate 220 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards against the Force, giving them their toughest test of the postseason. Of note, the Force defense would allow 362 yards. Despite a weak run defense, the Force managed to sack Allison Cahill six times.

Boston’s hopes were squashed when Jennifer Dulski recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Force as the final was 46-27. Dulski’s ten tackles and one sack performance earned her the nod as the Defensive Player of the Game. Deirdre Hort’s seven tackles and Nakita Bowman’s five were best among the members of the Boston defense.

Statistically, Grisafe would only log 183 yards while completing 17 of 29 passes. Jessica Javelet carried the load as she rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns. In the second half, Darcy Leslie added another 70 rushing yards for the Force, while Jeanette Gray had seven receptions.
The Force now advance to the WFA National Title Game where they will be competing against the Dallas Diamonds. The August 3 contest in San Diego will be broadcast on ESPN as neither franchise has ever won the WFA title. With Sami Grisafe announcing her retirement, drama will be high as she looks for her first-ever championship.

Boston Militia and Chicago Force on collision course for highly anticipated playoff clash

While the epic July 20 confrontation consisting of the Boston Militia and Chicago Force shall be one for the ages, there is no question to many fans that this match just might be the real WFA title game. The Conference Championship match between these two undefeated titans harkens back to the early 1990’s of NFL football. Back then, the NFC championship games that featured the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys were called by several members of the media (including Sports Illustrated) as the real Super Bowl.

From an offensive perspective, both clubs rely on completely different methods to win games. Boston is a rushing machine, led by Whitney Zelee, the first woman in pro football to register a 2,000-yard season. Having also scored 40 touchdowns, she is able to keep the Militia competitive in any contest.

On the other hand, Chicago is an efficient passing unit, led by the rifle arm of Sami Grisafe, the greatest female quarterback to have never won a WFA title. As the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championships, Grisafe led the United States to its second straight gold medal. With a sparkling 42 touchdown passes, no lead is safe against Chicago.

A key component in the success of Grisafe is her remarkable offensive line. Rosalyn Bennett, Tami Engelman, Jamie Menzyk, Dawn Pederson and Becky Thuestad provide protection for a high powered offense that shows no signs of being contained. With such a remarkable presence in front of Grisafe, it provides her with the time she needs to pick apart opposing defenses.

The 84-0 whitewashing that the Atlanta Phoenix suffered at the hands of the Force is testament to Grisafe’s passing skills. Completing 31 of 38 passes, Grisafe scorched Atlanta with 546 passing yards and an astounding 10 touchdown passes.

After Kenyetta Grigby of the DC Divas shredded Boston’s defense for five rushing touchdowns in the conference semi-finals, it provides the Force with a blueprint on how to overpower them. With Grisafe leading such an offensive juggernaut, Boston’s defense may find itself quickly overwhelmed.

In the brief history of the WFA, the rivalry between these two has only added to the drama of the playoffs. This year marks the third consecutive season that they play against each other in the postseason. In 2011, Boston overwhelmed Chicago by a convincing 50-23 score in the WFA title game. Last season, Chicago avenged their loss from 2011 with a nail-biting 35-34 win.

While both franchises employ completely different styles to win games, their success cannot be questioned. The key factor in the rubber match between shall come down to defense. While Boston has allowed more than 100 points during the season, Chicago has allowed only 60.

Chicago uses a man-to-man coverage in their backfield, neutralizing any opponent’s passing game. Boston has managed to overcome any defensive inadequacies with their running game. Regardless of the outcome, this match is destined to be a classic, as some of the biggest stars in the game collide in a match that should provide fireworks that will become the fodder of legend in generations to come.

Boston Militia rolls on as Whitney Zelee earns another 200-yard rushing game

As the 2013 Women’s Football Alliance playoff picture intensifies, a weekend of quarterfinal action results in high scoring affairs. With several undefeated teams still in the chase for the championship, the Boston Militia are looking to stake their claim as the league’s finest franchise.
A grudge match between the Boston Militia and the DC Divas encompassed one of several July 13 conflicts. Earlier in the season, Whitney Zelee ran for over 300 yards against an overwhelmed DC opponent. Looking for redemption, DC took the first lead of the game on a 3-yard score by Kenyetta Grigsby.

Once again, Zelee provided the answer for an undefeated Boston squad not accustomed to trailing in games this season. She would touch the ball on the first play from scrimmage and it was all Boston needed. Zelee would streak into the end zone on a 51-yard touchdown run.

With the momentum quickly shifting in Boston’s favor, Vicky Eddy would pick off DC quarterback Allyson Hamlin. Lining up behind center, Allison Cahill would score on a 10-yard run for the Militia. In addition, she would also run into the end zone for a two-point conversion afterwards.
Facing an eight point deficit, Grigsby put the DC offense on her shoulders. A drive that consumed nine plays would result with Grigsby shredding the Boston defense for the touchdown.

Once again, Cahill would reply for Boston. A drive that only required three plays ended with Cahill running for a seven-yard score. While Boston extended their lead back to eight points, it would not last for long. Facing a pass interference play on the next series of plays, Boston could not answer the Grigsby running attack. She would scamper into the end zone for her third touchdown of the half, as the lead was back to just one point.
Grigsby was not yet finished for the Divas. Having successfully recovered an onside kick, the Divas were back on offense. Employing the same strategy, the Divas handed off the ball to Grigsby, who dashed into the end zone on a 38-yard run.

Before halftime, Boston managed to regain the lead. With the ball on the 31-yard line of DC, Zelee would run to daylight on a 21-yard run as the score was now 29-28 for Boston.

On the first possession of the third quarter, Boston relied on its running game. Complemented by Dorothy Donaldson, Zelee masterfully orchestrated the impressive Boston rushing attack. With the ball on the Divas’ one-yard line, Cahill popped into the end zone as the score was 36-28.

Despite the setback, DC did not panic. Employing their own remarkable running game, Grigsby continued to be the anchor of their offensive attack. Boston continued to struggle in determining how to contain Grigsby. She would continue to punish the defense as she marched into the end zone for her fifth touchdown of the game.

The turning point of the game came on the ensuing kickoff. Boston fumbled the ball and the Divas recovered. Trailing by only two points, the Divas were eager to return on offense and work towards regaining the lead. Much to their dismay, a fumble resulted in Boston regaining the ball. Tiana Liu recovered the fumble in what helped turn the tide in the game.

Zelee would run 45 yards into the end zone, nullifying any attempt at the Divas to get back into the game. With DC trailing by a 44-34 score, the offense played with panic. On their next possession, the club fumbled again as Molly Goodwin recovered the ball for a headstrong Boston squad.
The fumble would prove to be costly as Boston scored another touchdown. With two touchdowns scored off turnovers, Boston had control of the game. A demoralized DC squad was unable to get back into the game.

With 6:50 remaining, Cahill scored again as Boston enjoyed a 24-point lead. She would finish the game with 67 yards, while Zelee had another remarkable showing. She ground out 254 yards, while Tiamfook gained 97 yards. Prevailing by a 58-34 tally, Boston is one step closer towards playing for their third national championship in franchise history.