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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alfred Morris vs. Kenyetta Grigsby the last 2 seasons

See Kenyetta Grigsby lead the D.C. Divas against the defending National champion Chicago Force tomorrow 4/19 at 6pm right next door to Fed Ex field.

Grigsby 20 games 2,460 total yards  37 TD's
Morris 43 games  2,888 total yards  20 touchdowns

Kenyetta Grigsby: Speed to Burn (Part 2)
Neal Rozendaal

The D.C. Divas have built much of their success around a long line of outstanding running backs. When Kenyetta Grigsby arrived with the Divas in 2010, she wanted to move back to the offensive side of the ball. But at the time, Okiima Pickett had a stranglehold on the position. Pickett was an excellent running back who was on the verge ofcapturing a gold medal with Team USA in the IFAF Women’s World Championships in 2010.

Still, Grigsby would not be denied. “I just started working out harder and harder, and eventually I made it all the way back to where I could play running back again,” Grigsby recalled. Her performances in practice were so good that she was able to platoon with Pickett at the running back position in her first season with the Divas in 2010.

Kenyetta Grigsby had several highlights as a Divas rookie, scoring three touchdowns in a 49-21 victory over the New York Nemesis in 2010. At the end of the season, Grigsby was named a first-team All-American, and it quickly became clear that she was poised to take over as the Divas’ featured running back in 2011.

The Divas opened the 2011 season against the Boston Militia, and Grigsby faced many of the same players that had been on the field when she tore up her knee in Boston five years earlier. She made an immediate impact in her new role as the Divas’ primary running back. The Divas defeated the Militia, 35-20, breaking the Militia’s 20-game regular season winning streak. It was all thanks in large part to Grigsby, who set a franchise record with 243 rushing yards, including three touchdowns, in the win.

Grigsby called it the most memorable game of her career. “I don’t remember many stats, but I remember that one because Coach [Ezra] Cooper asked me before the game how many touchdowns I was going to score in the game, and I told him three touchdowns,” she recalled. “Then I ended up going out there and scoring three touchdowns! That’s why that game stands out so much to me.”

It was just the start of an amazing season for Kenyetta Grigsby. She topped 150 yards rushing three more times that season, finishing the year with 1,178 rushing yards, good for second in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) behind Jessica Springer of the Chicago Force. Grigsby also had 13 touchdowns on just 140 carries, and she was rewarded at the end of the year by winning the prestigious Posey Award from the Pigskin Club of Washington, DC, as the women’s football player of the year in the national capital region.

Sheer Dominance

The 2011 season proved that Grigsby was back to her Baltimore Burn form, and the Divas benefitted from her renaissance. She had another great season opener in 2012, rushing for 222 yards to open the season against the Pittsburgh Passion, but despite her effort, the Divas fell to Pittsburgh, 35-34. The victory by Pittsburgh gave the Passion a shot to clinch the division championship over the Divas later that season when the two teams met for a rematch on June 2, 2012.

Instead, the Divas regained control of their destiny in the division championship race, and Grigsby was the catalyst. The Divas and the Passion were tied with ten minutes remaining in the contest, 28-28. But Grigsby proved to be the pivotal player of the game in crunch time, breaking the game open with two rushing touchdowns and a two-point conversion to lead the Divas to a 43-28 victory. She shattered two franchise records by carrying the ball 41 times for 264 rushing yards to give the Divas a critical division win.

Grigsby would go on to help the Divas clinch their ninth division title in team history two weeks later with a 42-0 victory in Columbus over the Comets. Kenyetta’s father, Kenny, came down from Detroit to watch his daughter play for the first time, and on the day before Father’s Day, Grigsby scored the first two touchdowns of the contest to put the game out of reach.

Grigsby again finished second in the WFA in rushing – this time behind Melissa Smith of the Chicago Force – with 1,052 yards on the season. She added 14 rushing touchdowns on the year and was named a first-team All-American for the third straight time.

After two terrific seasons, what could Kenyetta Grigsby possibly do for an encore? In the 2013 season opener, the Divas traveled to Pittsburgh as the Passion played their first game in newly-minted Highmark Stadium. Grigsby had set a franchise record with 264 yards in the Divas’ last trip to Pittsburgh, but this time, she topped herself again.

The Divas defeated the Passion to open the 2013 season, 42-31, thanks largely to a franchise-record 290 rushing yards from Grigsby. Her second of two touchdowns on the evening came with 7:15 remaining in the game and padded a four-point DC lead to put the game out of reach. Her magnificent performance earned her WFA Offensive Player of the Week honors from the league.

Grigsby always seems to save her best performances for her best competition. In the Divas’ second meeting with the Passion in 2013, she tied her own franchise record with 41 carries for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Grigsby rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries in a regular season meeting with the Boston Militia in 2013. She did even better in the playoffs, accounting for all five of the Divas’ touchdowns in their 58-34 playoff loss to the Militia to end last season.

“It is no coincidence that her best games have come against the best opponents. Kenyetta is one of the fiercest competitors I have ever been around,” Divas quarterback Allyson Hamlin observed. “Don’t be fooled by her quiet confidence, because on the field, ice is running through her veins. She thrives when the stakes are the highest.”

Including playoffs, Kenyetta Grigsby rushed for 1,408 yards in 2013, placing second in the WFA for the third straight year (this time behind Boston’s Whitney Zelee). Grigsby also added 23 rushing touchdowns for the year, a personal high. She became the first Diva ever with back-to-back-to-back thousand-yard rushing seasons, and she was named a first-team All-American for the fourth consecutive year.

Superstar Humility

From 2011-2013, Kenyetta Grigsby totaled 3,638 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns. “Kenyetta is a once-in-a-lifetime back,” Hamlin declared. “She is a locomotive – powerful, fast, and fearless. Her vision of the field is exceptional, and she often makes something out of nothing.”

Allyson Hamlin, the winningest quarterback in women’s football history, credited Grigsby for allowing the Divas’ passing game to thrive. “Kenyetta is the kind of player that gives our offense the ability to do just about anything, and she forces opponents to completely change their defensive schemes,” Hamlin continued. “Kenyetta has given us a running game that has been so strong and consistent that our passing game has flourished, and because of that, we have evolved into a legitimate dual-threat offense.”

Yet Grigsby is humble about all of her success. “The stuff I’ve done on the field, I owe a lot of that to my offensive line and to the coaches. It’s not all just me. I owe the whole team,” she said.

Largely due to her incredible talent, the Divas have won four division championships and earned four playoff berths over the last four seasons. Grigsby has finally been rewarded in DC with the team success that so often eluded her in Baltimore.

“It has been an awesome experience. It’s great to be a part of this. Everything is better when you’re winning,” Grigsby admitted. But it’s clear to see what continues to motivate her. “I still want to win a national championship. That’s what my goal is,” Grigsby stated flatly.

Grigsby has some words of wisdom for the young women still coming up through the sport. “You need to work hard off the field. You need to spend time in the gym. You need to study the playbook and watch a lot of film,” Grigsby advised. “Work hard when no one’s looking. People see me at practice smiling and joking, but outside of practice, I’m constantly watching film and working out. I’m always just trying to get better.”

For Kenyetta Grigsby, the second act of her football career following her devastating knee injury in 2006 has been extremely rewarding, and the Divas have reaped those rewards. “The Divas organization is a lot different than any organization I’ve ever been a part of, and I truly appreciate that,” Grigsby said. “Family, friendship, team, hard work, dedication…I can’t sum up this organization in just one word. It’s all of that together. It’s been awesome.”

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