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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Divas Force Seven Interceptions and Triumph, 53-20

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Divas Force Seven Interceptions and Triumph, 53-20
Neal Rozendaal

Columbus, OH – Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

The DC defense corralled seven interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns, and the Divas defeated the Columbus Comets, 53-20, on Saturday.

The Divas (2-0) saw their defense put to the test right from the start of the game; Columbus had three offensive possessions before DC had one.  Divas receiver Juliette Baker-Brice fumbled the opening kickoff, and Columbus recovered on the DC 40-yard line.  Comets quarterback Crystal Davis threw for a nine-yard touchdown on fourth and goal to give the home team a 6-0 lead.

The shorthanded Divas – five DC players and team owner Paul Hamlin had their flight to Columbus delayed, arriving at the stadium midway through the first quarter – continued their sluggish start.  On the ensuing kickoff, a miscommunication among the Divas on who should field the ball allowed Columbus to recover the ball in DC territory again. 

The Comets (1-1) threatened to go ahead by two touchdowns, facing a third and two at the eight-yard line, when Divas defensive back Raina Rorie made an early game-changing play.  Rorie picked off Davis’ pass at the goal line and outraced everyone 100 yards for a DC touchdown.  Just when it looked like the Comets might take a two-score lead, the game was abruptly tied on Rorie’s dramatic return.

The rest of the first half belonged to the Divas.  Kenyetta Grigsby, who was named WFA Offensive Player of the Week for her record-breaking 290-yard rushing performance last week against Pittsburgh, gave DC control of the game by scoring three straight touchdowns in the first half.  Grigsby’s three scores provided the Divas with a 27-6 cushion early in the second quarter.

Ashley Whisonant – one of the DC players who arrived late on the delayed flight – added to the lead by making a spectacular move down the sidelines on a 42-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Allyson Hamlin.  The Divas led Columbus, 34-6, at halftime.

Quarterback Crystal Davis and the Columbus offense gained some momentum in the third quarter.  Davis, the 2010 WFA Offensive Player of the Year, threw for a 40-yard touchdown and passed for a two-point conversion midway through the period, cutting the deficit to 34-14.  But Davis also threw two more interceptions in the quarter – one to Eleni Kotsis and another to linebacker Devon Goldsmith, her third interception of the game.

It took Divas defensive back Callie Brownson about thirty seconds to put the game away for DC.  The Comets were driving as the fourth quarter opened, but Brownson intercepted a pass and returned it 72 yards for a Divas touchdown.

The Divas kicked off to the Comets, and on Columbus’ first offensive play, Davis threw another interception to Brownson, who promptly returned this one for a touchdown as well.  It was Davis’ seventh interception on the night, and it gave DC a 47-14 advantage.  Rushing touchdowns by Columbus’ Shelley Gates and DC’s Kenyetta Grigsby – her fourth of the game – ended the scoring.

The Divas are now 2-0 in their division, with road victories over both of their division rivals.  The Divas’ next game is at the Central Maryland Seahawks on Saturday.

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