Divas suffer loss to Boston
Militia pays back Divas for loss in 2009 Independent Women's Football League playoffs
Boston (4-0) got big plays from quarterback Allison Cahill and running backs Mia Brickhouse and Stacey Tiamfook. Meanwhile, the Militia put pressure on Divas' quarterback Kathryn Hemlock and limited the big plays from wide receiver/kick returner Tara Stephenson, whose fourth-quarter touchdown last summer lifted the Divas to a 27-21 victory over Boston in the Eastern Conference final.
The Divas (2-2) have lost two consecutive games on the field -- they were awarded a forfeit victory over Philadelphia last week -- and will look to rebound next week against the Baltimore Nighthawks, who they soundly beat 54-6 on April 10.
"[Boston] came in here with a good strategy," said Stephenson, who caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Hemlock on the last play of the game. "You could tell they wanted to keep the ball away from me on kickoffs. I got my hands on a few. But they did a good job on both sides of the ball. We have to come out and execute better next week against Baltimore. That's our rivalry game and we know they're going to put up a tough fight. We have five weeks to get ready for Boston again [on June 6]."
Cahill made plays with her arm and her legs, leading the Militia on three scoring drives in each half. A personal trainer by trade, Cahill said that last season's playoff loss to the Divas remained a painful memory in the weeks leading up to Saturday's rematch.
"It's always great to go on the road and win, but this was a big game for us," Cahill said. "That loss sat with me for the last 10 months. We knew we had to come down here and play well to win. We didn't have any turnovers. Our offensive line was great. They opened some holes for our running backs and that helped set up our play action. Even little things like making every extra point means a lot in these games. We knew they weren't going to quit."
The Divas took advantage of several Boston penalties on their opening possession to march 65 yards on six plays for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hemlock to tight end Donna Wilkinson. Hemlock's extra point attempt was blocked.
After each team turned the ball over on downs in their opponents' red zone, the Militia responded with an 11-play, 88-yard drive that lasted nearly six minutes and ended with a 1-yard run by Dorothy Donaldson. Brickhouse helped shift the field position with a 38-yard run and Cahill connected with Brickhouse on a 22-yard pass to give the Militia a first and goal at the Divas' 4-yard-line. Donaldson scored two plays later and kicker Allie Roderique converted on the first of six extra point attempts.
The Divas regained the lead when Stephenson took a lateral from Hemlock and raced 59 yards for a touchdown. Lashawn Foust added the two-point conversion to give the Divas a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter. But the remainder of the half belonged to the Militia.
Boston needed only six plays and three minutes to go 66 yards to get the equalizer. Cahill connected with Brickhouse for 32 yards on fourth down and one from the Militia 43 and Tiamfook needed only two carries to go the last 12 yards. The Divas crossed midfield on their ensuing possession, but Hemlock was sacked on consecutive plays. Boston then marched 78 yards on nine plays with less than two minutes to play in the half and scored when Cahill connected with Amy Saur on a 32-yard fly pattern to give the Militia a 21-14 halftime advantage.
The Divas struck first in the second half, as Hemlock tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kenyetta Grigsby to set up first and goal and Tiffany Matthews plowed forward from the 1-yard line. A Hemlock extra point tied the score at 21-21.
Boston responded with consecutive scoring drives. The Militia marched 67 yards on 11 plays and took nearly six minutes off the clock, with Cahill completing four passes for 50 yards and connecting with tight end Nora Mitchell on a 6-yard scoring toss. Another Roderique extra point gave the Militia a 28-21 lead with 4:37 left in the third period.
After the Divas went three-and-out on their next possession, Tiamfook went off left tackle and raced 76 yards for a touchdown. The Divas responded with a seven-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Hemlock to Wilkinson.
Boston failed to score on a nine-play drive that lasted more than six minutes, but the Militia put the game away by sacking Hemlock on fourth down and then driving 38 yards on seven plays, capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Brickhouse. The Divas went 60 yards in nine plays and scored as time expired when Hemlock connected with Stephenson on a 5-yard pass.