Recap vs. Baltimore Burn – April 22, 2006

Rivalry Burns Bright As Divas Top Baltimore, 13-6
DC 13, Baltimore 6
By Neal Rozendaal

Recap • Statistics

Landover, MD – As one of the top teams in women’s football, the D.C. Divas have always had a target on their backs. This season, it might be larger than ever, and Saturday night showed just how dangerous that can be.

In a rain-soaked season opener at the Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover, the D.C. Divas survived a tough test from the Baltimore Burn and held on for a 13-6 win. The poor weather conditions and the fired-up play of their archrivals kept the result in doubt until the final minutes of the contest.

The four-time defending champion Detroit Demolition left the NWFA this past offseason for another league. The Divas (1-0), who made the last two Northern Conference championship games before falling to Detroit, have been tabbed as one of the early favorites to contend for the 2006 NWFA championship. But despite the departure of the Demolition, many challenging teams remain on the schedule in the NWFA.

One of them is the Baltimore Burn (0-1), the Divas’ bitter rivals from just up the Beltway. The Burn are led by head coach Adrian Mobley, who took over in 2002 and turned a winless Burn squad in 2001 into a playoff team his first season. But over the last few years, several members of the Burn have defected and joined the D.C. Divas, with a few of them citing Mobley’s abrasive personality as a primary reason.

Leading up to the game, the trash-talking in the rivalry reached a fever pitch. In the Burn’s final practice Thursday night, Mobley obtained a old D.C. Divas jersey and promptly set it on fire to motivate his team. The motivational tactics were documented in an article in the Washington Post.

The Divas scored their first touchdown of the year when a two-yard run into the end zone in the second quarter gave the team a 7-0 lead. The Divas tacked on to their lead in the third quarter with a second rushing touchdown, building a 13-0 advantage. Fullback Claudia Hogan carried out the traditional role of opening the way for the running backs, and Rachelle Pecovsky was the biggest beneficiary with an 86-yard performance on 14 carries. In her first game with the Divas, the seven-year veteran helped lead D.C. to a 229-yard rushing night on 36 carries.

A blocked punt at the Divas’ nine-yard line allowed the Burn to cut into the Divas’ lead midway through the fourth quarter. Baltimore running back Kenyetta Grigsby broke free to the outside and ran in for a nine-yard score with eight minutes remaining in the game. Grigsby’s touchdown pulled the Burn within one score, 13-6, but Baltimore never threatened the Divas’ goal line again.

The Divas’ defense dominated the Burn, holding them to 105 total yards. Defensive MVP Vickie Lucas led the way with a nine tackle night, including six solo tackles. “This is just one of eleven games this year,” said Lucas, in reference to the 11-game season the Divas hope to complete. The team is focused on eight regular season games and then three playoff games, culminating with the NWFA championship in Pittsburgh on August 5.

The Divas next travel to Tidewater, Virginia, to take on the Tidewater Floods on Saturday, April 29, at 7 PM.

← Previous Game Next Game →