Recap vs. Columbus Flames – June 7, 2003

D.C. Divas Cause Columbus to Flame Out
DC 8, Columbus 7
By Rich Daniel

Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas clinched their first division championship in team history Saturday with a hard-fought, 8-7 victory over the visiting Columbus Flames. The win sealed the Mid-Atlantic Division championship of the NWFA for the Divas and ensures them of their first playoff appearance in franchise history.

The Divas (7-0) scored first on a five-yard pass from Allyson Hamlin to Vickie Lucas, and the touchdown along with the ensuing two-point conversion would provide all the offense the Divas would need. Tight end and punter Stacy Palmer had one catch for 21 yards, but it was her foot – not her hands – that proved to be the difference. Her 49-yard punt pinned the Flames (5-3) inside the 10-yard line with less than two minutes to play and earned her offensive MVP honors.

The Divas defense – led by defensive MVP Amy Juang’s eight tackles, three for losses – was able to extinguish the Flames’ offensive attack on the final series. A reshuffled starting lineup featured linebacker Debbie Frye, who added eight tackles to a defense that has given up a touchdown or less in four of their seven wins.

The Divas’ offensive attack once again featured the rushing trio of LaShawn Foust, Monica Livingston, and Donna Wilkinson. They combined for 166 of the Divas’ 173 yards on the ground. Wilkinson, in particular, logged 74 yards rushing and now leads the league with 917 rushing yards on the season. Meanwhile, Foust continues to pound opponents for critical yards, adding 52 against Columbus, while Monica Livingston brought speed and spirit with a 43-yard rushing effort.

Head coach Ezra Cooper, fresh off his second Gatorade bath, praised his entire team. “I can’t say enough about their effort,” Coach Cooper said. “They work hard and it shows. We’re one big happy family. We’ve stayed together all year, and we will continue to do so.”

With the first division championship in team history, the Divas have earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs, which begin June 28. The championship game is in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 2.

The Divas play their final regular season game of the year on June 14 at 7 PM. The road game against their archrivals, the Baltimore Burn, will be held at Dundalk Community College.

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