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Monday, May 20, 2013

History of a different kind was made this weekend

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DC Divas Fall Short in Record-Setting Duel, 81-54
Neal Rozendaal

Boston, MA – Against an ordinary team, 54 points would be good enough to win a football game.

The 2013 Boston Militia are no ordinary team.

The DC Divas and Boston Militia shattered the WFA record for most combined points in a single game, but the Divas came up on the short end of an 81-54 final score. The Divas (4-2) fought valiantly on offense, scoring 54 points despite losing star running back Kenyetta Grigsby due to injury early in the first quarter. But they ultimately had no chance against a Boston team that scored 12 touchdowns on their first 13 possessions.

Grigsby went down with an injury on the Divas’ second series of the game, and the DC offense struggled in the first quarter in her absence. An 88-yard touchdown pass from Allyson Hamlin to Ashley Whisonant gave the Divas their first points of the game, but DC trailed, 28-7, after the first quarter.

The Militia (6-0) scored their fifth touchdown of the game one minute into the second quarter to extend their lead to 35-7, and it looked like the contest was destined to be a Boston blowout. Instead, the Divas’ offense regained their balance and matched the Militia point for point from then on. The resurgent DC offense kept the Divas within striking distance and turned the contest into the greatest shootout in WFA history.

Starting tight end Donna Wilkinson – the only member of the roster who played for the Divas’ inaugural team in 2001 – shifted from tight end to the running back position in the second quarter, and the DC offense exploded. Wilkinson was a record-setting running back for the Divas earlier in her career, and she proved that she can still handle the job, carrying the ball time and again for solid gains. Wilkinson’s hard running provided balance to the DC offense and helped them move the ball down the field.

Hamlin found Whisonant in the end zone on two more occasions in the second quarter; the Divas trailed at halftime, 55-21. Less than two minutes into the second half, Hamlin threw her fourth touchdown of the game, this one to Juliette Baker-Brice to cut the deficit to 55-28.

The DC defense then provided their only highlight of the evening, stopping Boston’s Whitney Zelee on fourth down to get the ball back for the Divas. The offense took advantage as Hamlin threw her fourth touchdown pass to Whisonant, which sliced the margin to 55-35.

Hamlin found Whisonant in the end zone for a fifth time on the Divas’ next possession, which again drew the Divas within twenty at 61-41. Ashley Whisonant ended the game with five receiving touchdowns. When Boston’s Whitney Zelee scored just before the end of the third quarter to give the Militia a 67-41 lead, the contest surpassed the record for the most points ever scored in a WFA game with a full quarter still remaining.

Wilkinson gave the Divas their first rushing touchdown of the game with 12:02 left, which again cut the deficit to twenty at 67-47. Just over five minutes later, Kasee Hillard snared Hamlin’s seventh touchdown pass of the game and pulled DC within 73-54. But the Militia tacked on their 12th touchdown of the game moments later for the final points of the game, and the Divas fell to an 81-54 defeat.

The 135 total points scored easily surpassed the previous WFA record of 105, set last season in the Kansas City Tribe’s 63-42 victory over the St. Louis Slam. The Divas’ 54 points were also the most ever scored in a losing effort, topping the 42 scored by St. Louis in that game.

The 81 points surrendered by the Divas was easily the most ever yielded in franchise history, topping the 56 points the Militia racked up against DC in their first meeting this year. At the same time, the 54 points the Divas tallied against Boston was by far the most points Boston has ever given up in a single game, topping the previous record of 36 scored by the Divas in a 2010 contest.

DC will get two weeks to rest from this exhausting scoring duel. After a scheduled bye week, the Divas next take the field at home on June 1 against the Pittsburgh Passion in a game that will likely decide the division championship. Pictures and video available on Facebook at D.C. Divas football.

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