LANDOVER, MD — JULY 14, 2018 — For the second year in a row, the Boston Renegades have advanced to the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) National Championship. They defeated their archrivals and #1 seed D.C. Divas in the conference finals Saturday night.
Chanté Bonds delivered a gutsy performance in replacement of starting running back Angelica Pascual, who left the game with a leg injury early in the first quarter. Bonds took on the lead back role and scored two touchdowns while amassing 190 all-purpose yards including 108 on the ground. Stephanie Pascual scored two touchdowns while collecting 134 yards on six receptions from quarterback Allison Cahill, who passed for 288 total yards and four touchdowns. Hillary Crook blocked a PAT kick that proved to be a game changer.
While Boston’s defense quickly forced D.C. to punt on their opening drive, things didn’t quite go as planned for the Renegades offense in the first quarter. Following the first play from scrimmage — a pitch out to the right — Renegades running back Angelica Pascual #1 exited the game with a leg injury. Boston leaned on the passing game to move the ball downfield, including a 27-yard haul by Emily Beinecke #87, but the drive eventually stalled in the red zone with a turnover on downs.
The Renegades defense responded with a fumble recovery by linewoman Laura Pula #72, her career first. Despite the excellent field position, and a 13-yard reception by rookie Sarah Tully #31 to bring them as close as the 10 yard line, Boston was unable to put points on the scoreboard. D.C. took over after an unsuccessful field goal attempt.
The defense quickly forced another punt, once again establishing nice field position for the Renegades. Quarterback Allison Cahill #7 remained on the sideline during the next series to regroup while wide receiver/tight end Kathryn Tylander #15 temporarily helmed the offense. The first quarter expired with Tylander under center, and Boston punted early in the second frame. A well executed punt by Ash Beckham #80 had D.C. pinned behind their own 10 yard line.
Boston’s defense remained vigilant, again forcing a punt after just four plays. Remarkably, the defensive squad snuffed every third down D.C. played in the game. The Divas went 0/10 on third downs, and 2/3 on fourth downs. After a wild bounce, D.C.’s punt netted only ten yards, and the Renegades offense took over in the red zone.
Whatever adjustments were discussed on the sidelines, they yielded results immediately. With Cahill back on the field, receiver Stephanie Pascual #3 broke loose for a 19-yard touchdown reception. Boston lead 7-0 after Brooke Goodman #97‘s kick.
Following a 24-yard kickoff return, D.C. responded with a five-play, 58-yard scoring drive. D’Ajah Scott collected 30 yards on 3 carries, crossing the stripe from 11 yards out.
Next, Cahill pushed the offense 63 yards downfield, spreading the ball to four different receivers including a 17-yard completion to Lauren Yung #8, a 23-yarder to Pascual #3, and a 16-yard touchdown pass to Chanté Bonds #21.
After another punt by D.C., Boston scored again on the arm of Cahill, who connected on screen passes of 12-yards to Tully, and 36 yards to Pascual who scored her second of two touchdowns on the night. The first half ended with the Renegades at a 21-7 advantage.
Receiving the kickoff to start the third quarter, Boston began to work Bonds regularly with a balanced attack, mixing up carries and passes to the Renegades’ most versatile player. The drive ended at midfield however and a short punt put D.C. in decent starting position for their first drive of the second half.
While Boston’s defense was stifling, D.C. gained two first downs by penalties. Eventually D.C. quarterback Amanda Congialdi completed a 23-yard play to Kentrina Wilson to get to the goal line. Congialdi ran it in on the next play, but Stephanie Nealis’ extra-point kick was blocked by Renegades linewoman Hillary Crook #75. The 5’11” Crook knocked the low kick to the ground and recovered the ball to keep the score at 21-13. The block would change the script late in the game as Nealis, one of the Divas’ most reliable point scorers, remained on the sidelines as the Divas offense chased the missing point with two-point conversion attempts. Both of D.C.’s two-point attempts were stopped by Boston in the fourth quarter.
The Renegades offense continued their balanced approach on the next drive. A 20-yard completion to Beinecke was followed with two rushes by Bonds, who ripped an 11-yard gain and a 28-yard touchdown scamper. Goodman’s kick made it 28-13.
With time waning in the third period, D.C. began to rely on their passing game and their top player Wilson who made a 37-yard reception on a tough catch that put the them in scoring position. Courtney Smith made a touchdown reception two plays later. Nealis’ kick closed the gap back to 8 points 28-20, and that is how the third quarter ended.
Though Bonds was able to gain 15 yards on two carries, the Renegades were unable to advance past midfield on their next drive and were forced to punt. D.C. got the break they were hoping for when punter Beckham could not handle a high snap, positioning the Divas on Boston’s 25 yard line. Two passes to Wilson set up Congialdi’s second 1-yard touchdown rush of the game. On the two-point conversion attempt, Congialdi was flushed out of the pocket by Vicky Eddy #45 and contained by several Renegades defenders. Without a running lane, Congialdi tried to connect with Wilson but the pass was knocked to the ground by linebacker Allie Genereux #52, making the score 28-26.
D.C. kicked the ball downfield and Tully put Boston near midfield with a 25-yard kickoff return. Tylander started the offensive drive with an 11-yard reception. Stephanie Pascual seized the moment with a 28-yard reception. Beinecke drew a long overdue pass interference call to put Boston just inside the ten yard line. Bonds battled her way to the 3 yard line on two carries, which set up Cahill for a touchdown pass to Beinecke in the corner of the end zone. Goodman’s kick attempt sailed wide, and the advantage remained at 8 points, 34-26, at 7:02 remaining.
As expected, Congialdi turned to her best weapons Scott and Wilson to move the ball downfield. But quite unexpectedly, Divas receiver Lois Cook, who entered the game with only 5 receptions all season, got the call on a 22-yard touchdown pass, setting up another two-point conversion attempt. Congialdi handed the ball off to Scott who looked to follow fullback Okiima Pickett up the middle. But Renegades linebacker Deanna Walsh #53 shot through the gap, forcing Scott to slow and change direction, which gave linewoman Shana Segers #64 the opportunity to wrap her up short of the goal line.
Hanging on to a two-point lead 34-32 with 4:20 remaining, the Renegades’ season-long mantra “time to finish” was never more pertinent. Buoyed by a 29-yard reception by Pascual, Bonds rushed four times for 34 yards and two first downs on the final drive to seal the victory and secure a berth in the league title match.
The Renegades will face the Los Angeles Warriors of the western conference in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) National Championship on Saturday, July 28 at Kennesaw State University, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
This was the Renegades third consecutive conference championship appearance, and their second consecutive conference title. Boston defeated the Chicago Force in the conference final last season by a score of 47-33. The Dallas Elite won the league title last season by a score of 31-21.
The Renegades aim to be the first two-loss team to win a Division I national title in women’s football since the So Cal Scorpions won the Women’s Professional Football League (WPFL) with a 9-2 record back in 2007. They are also looking to become only the second team in women’s football history to capture a Division I national title by winning three consecutive games away from home (2006 Atlanta Xplosion, IWFL).
With Saturday’s victory over the D.C. Divas, defensive back Mia Brickhouse #18 reached a milestone of 100 victories earned on the gridiron. Originally a member of the 2002 Philadelphia Liberty Belles of the National Women’s Football Association, Brickhouse joined the Massachusetts Mutiny in 2005 and has been a fixture with Boston Women’s Football since. Widely regarded as one of the best all-around players in the history of women’s football, Brickhouse was twice a gold medal winner with the U.S. National Women’s Football Team in 2010 and 2013, and was instrumental in the Boston Militia’s back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011. After retiring from the game in 2014, she came back as a player and a team executive with the newly formed Boston Renegades in 2015. Announcing 2018 as her final season, Brickhouse has returned to form as a key defender in Boston’s secondary. She joins Vicky Eddy, Amy Saur, Jennifer Olivieri, Allison Cahill, Shana Segers, Jessica Cabrera, Charlene Casey, and Amanda Alpert as a member of Boston Women’s Football’s “100 Club”.
|Marvin F. Wilson Stadium, Landover, Md.||1||2||3||4||F|
Q2 – 10:17 BOS Stephanie Pascual, 19-yard reTD from Allison Cahill (Brooke Goodman kick)
07:46 DC Daja Scott, 11-yard ruTD (Stephanie Nealis kick)
05:21 BOS Chanté Bonds, 16-yard reTD from Allison Cahill (Goodman kick)
03:29 BOS Stephanie Pascual, 36-yard reTD from Allison Cahill (Goodman kick)
Q3 – 08:21 DC Amanda Congialdi, 1-yard ruTD (Nealis kick BLOCKED)
02:04 BOS Chanté Bonds, 28-yard ruTD (Goodman kick)
00:41 DC Courtney Smith, 1-yard reTD from Congialdi (Nealis kick)
Q4 – 10:43 DC Amanda Congialdi, 1-yard ruTD (2PT failed)
07:02 BOS Emily Beinecke, 3-yard reTD from Cahill (Goodman kick failed)
04:20 DC Lois Cook, 22-yard reTD from Congialdi (2PT failed)
Game Day Captain: Briannah Gallo #24
Photos: Mitzi Velez Lorenzana, Douglas Charland
|3rd Downs||6-11 (55%)||0-10 (0%)|
|4th Downs||0-1 (0%)||2-3 (67%)|
Allison Cahill #7 — 22/41, 288 yds, 4 TD. Rating 108.587
Kathryn Tylander #15 — 0/1
Chanté Bonds #21 — 19/108, long of 28, TD
Angelica Pascual #1 — 1/6
Allison Cahill #7 — 2/-11
Stephanie Pascual #3 — 6/134, long of 36, 2TD
Emily Beinecke #87 — 3/50, long of 27, TD
Chanté Bonds #21 — 6/47, long of 22, TD
Sarah Tully #31 — 4/22, long of 13
Kathryn Tylander #15 — 2/18, long of 11
Lauren Yung #8 — 1/17
Stephanie Pascual #3 — 1 Tk, 1 Ast
Brooke Gause #6 — 1 Tk, 3 Ast, 2 PD
Mocha Torres #13 — 2 Tk, 1 Ast
Mia Brickhouse #18 — 2 Tk, 5 Ast, FF
Erin Diette #30 — 1 Tk
Charlene Casey #36 — 3 Ast
Sami Bloom #44 — 2 Tk, 1 Ast
Vicky Eddy #45 — 3 Ast
Erica Adams #47 — 1 Ast, PD
Allie Genereux #52 — 7 Tk, 5 Ast, Sck, TFL, PD
Deanna Walsh #53 — 3 Ast
Jessica Cabrera #54 — 1 Ast
Koreen Shoham #55 — 1 Tk, 2 Ast
Shana Segers #64 — 2 Tk, 2 Ast
Danielle Fournier #70 — 3 Ast
Laura Pula #72 — 1 Tk, 2 Ast, FUM
Ashley Beckham #80 — 1 Tk
Jessica Penta #85 — 2 Ast
Christina Riggieri #89 — 1 Ast
Danielle Harrison #92, 1 Ast, FUM
Brooke Goodman #97 — 1 Tk, 1 Ast, PD
Extra Points: Brooke Goodman #97 4/5