Recap vs. Southwest Michigan Jaguars – July 10, 2004

D.C. Divas Go to 9-0 With 30-18 Victory
DC 30, Southwest Michigan 18
By Rich Daniel

Recap • Statistics

Washington, DC – The two-time Mid-Atlantic Division champion D.C. Divas secured the number one seed in the Northern Conference, but the sixth-seeded Southwest Michigan Jaguars nearly delivered a horrific ending to the Divas’ thus-far perfect season.

Rallying from a 12-6 deficit at halftime, the D.C. Divas advanced to their first conference championship game in team history with a 30-18 comeback victory over the Southwest Michigan Jaguars.

The Jaguars (7-3) swarmed to a 12-0 lead and gave the Divas their biggest deficit of the season. On the other hand, the Divas (9-0) were unable to summon any offense in the first half, but return specialist Lilah Blackstone came to the Divas’ rescue with a 38-yard punt return for a touchdown that cut the Southwest Michigan lead to 12-6 at the half. Blackstone amazed the fans by notching 100 return yards.

Still, the Divas – playing their first game in nearly a month – trailed at halftime, and Coach Ezra Cooper lit a fire under his team with an animated halftime speech. “I told them that we had 30 minutes to live, and I felt we were giving away the season with the worst half we have played in over two years,” said the fourth-year head coach. “I’m normally not a yeller, but I couldn’t hold it back.”

The tirade propelled the Divas to their biggest comeback in team history. The D.C. offense racked up 256 yards on the ground en route to 24 second-half points. Donna Wilkinson led that attack with 124 hard-fought yards and two touchdowns.

The D.C. Divas will host the first conference championship game in franchise history on July 17 at 6 PM. The two-time defending NWFA champion Detroit Demolition will visit Washington, DC, for the Northern Conference championship and a trip to the national championship game.

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