Recaps of the eight games in the conference quarterfinal round of the 2015 Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) playoffs:
D.C. 48, Miami 12 – 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.
Atlanta 48, Jacksonville 9 – 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.
Boston 59, West Michigan 12 – 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.
Chicago 71, Cleveland 14 – The 2013 national champions are back in force. The Chicago Force had the highest scoring output of the conference quarterfinal 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.
Dallas 54, St. Louis 3 – The Dallas Elite continue to live up to their namesake, winning their first ever playoff game in rock-solid fashion by downing the St. Louis Slam, 54-3.
The Elite (9-0) are made up of several members from the defunct four-time national champion Dallas Diamonds. All season long, Dallas has been playing like a team with championship pedigree, and Saturday was no exception. The Elite scored seven rushing touchdowns, four of them by Odessa Jenkins, who also serves as the team’s head coach. Brittany Satterwhite contributed two touchdowns as well, one on the ground and one on a 57-yard scoring catch from quarterback Jessica Gerhart.
The Slam (6-3) logged their only points on a 30-yard field goal before halftime. St. Louis, the inaugural 2009 WFA champions, made their eighth playoff appearance in team history.
Kansas City 22, Arlington 12 – The Kansas City Titans registered the biggest upset of the conference quarterfinals, going on the road to stun the Arlington Impact, 22-12.
The Titans (6-3) were a 13-point underdog entering the contest, but they quickly proved that they were not awed by the playoff atmosphere. The game was tied 6-6 after the first quarter before the Titans scored a touchdown late in the first half for a six-point advantage. Kansas City pulled away in the second half and registered their third playoff victory in team history. All three of their postseason victories are over foes from Texas, having defeated the Houston Power and Austin Outlaws in last year’s playoffs.
The Impact (6-3) had won six of their previous seven games in an impressive debut season in the WFA.
Seattle 34, Tacoma 0 – The Seattle Majestics have been winning games handily all season long. Saturday’s story remained the same, as Seattle cruised to the 2015 Pacific Northwest championship with a 34-0 shutout victory over the Tacoma Trauma.
The Majestics (9-0) surrendered a total of 30 points in their first eight games, but 18 of those were in their only previous meeting with Tacoma. Seattle – who played their first four seasons in Tacoma from 2002-2005 before relocating 35 miles north to Seattle – compensated for their earlier defensive performance by pitching the only shutout of the conference quarterfinal round. The Majestics are now 9-0 for just the second time since relocating to Seattle in 2006.
The Trauma (7-2) saw their Cinderella season come to an abrupt end. But it was still a memorable year for Tacoma, who compiled a 1-15 record in their first two seasons before completing a stunning turnaround in 2015 and earning their first playoff berth with a 7-1 record in the regular season.
San Diego 27, Central Cal 7 – The San Diego Surge remained perfect at home, but not before getting the scare of their lives. The reigning American Conference champions needed three fourth-quarter touchdowns to snap a 7-7 tie and finally break away from the Central Cal War Angels by a 27-7 count.
The Surge (8-1) have won three of the last four American Conference championships and had never lost a home game in their five-year history. Despite an upset loss to Central Cal in their regular season finale, San Diego easily clinched the top seed in the Pacific Region and are considered top contenders for their fourth conference title in five years.
But the powerful War Angels (5-3) – the only American Conference team to ever defeat San Diego in a playoff game with a victory in 2013 – nearly ended San Diego’s playoff run as quickly as it began. Central Cal pulled out to a 7-0 lead at halftime, and a third-quarter touchdown by San Diego merely tied the game going into the final period. Yet despite being severely tested, the Surge ultimately showed their championship mettle by notching a trio of scores in the fourth quarter and improving to 12-1 all-time in American Conference playoff games.
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