Recap vs. Baltimore Nighthawks – April 10, 2010

DC Blasts Baltimore in Tenth Season Opener
DC 54, Baltimore 6
By Duke Hipp

Landover, MD – If the D.C. Divas were looking to make a statement in last night’s season opener against the rival Baltimore Nighthawks, consider the message delivered — loud and clear.

The defending Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) Eastern Conference champion Divas looked every bit as dominant as the 54-6 final score suggests. Never mind the offseason exodus of many veterans. Never mind the host of new players in new positions, including defensive-back-turned-starting-quarterback Kathryn Hemlock. Never mind that Baltimore steamrolled the Philadelphia Firebirds in their opener the previous Saturday.

No, none of that seemed to matter Saturday night. This was, instead, precisely the type of convincing win Divas fans have become accustomed to in the team’s first nine years of play. To paraphrase The Who, “Meet the new Divas; same as the old Divas.”

The Divas (1-0) made their offensive mark in the game with a number of drive-sustaining receptions and a touchdown-producing ground game that provided the knockout punch. That punch was provided in large part by running back Okiima Pickett, who was named IWFL Player of the Week for her performance.

With the exception of one long run that yielded their lone touchdown, the Nighthawks (1-1) had no answer for the Divas’ stifling defense and special teams play. Just like their colleagues on the other side of the ball, the Divas defense delivered big plays that extinguished any hope for the Nighthawks time and again.

In particular, Divas defensive lineman Jay Hodge picked up where she left off last season — by terrorizing the opponent’s backfield. In the first half, Hodge teamed up with ten-year Diva veteran Amy Juang for a blocked punt. In the second half, the big play came courtesy of Divas linebacker Aketa Ogletree and her pick-six that closed the door on Baltimore.

The team will now prepare to take their success on the road with a contest against the New York Sharks on April 17.

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