Recap vs. Philadelphia Liberty Belles – May 21, 2011

D.C. Divas Claim Eighth Division Championship
DC 42, Philadelphia 0
By Rich Daniel

Recap • Statistics

Philadelphia, PA – The D.C. Divas soundly defeated the host Philadelphia Liberty Belles by a decisive 42-0 margin. The Divas remain unbeaten at 6-0 and earned their eighth division title in nine years, which is unprecedented in women’s football.

The Divas (6-0) established control of the game from the very first series, marching 55 yards on eight plays and scoring on a two-yard run by Kenyetta Grigsby. On their second offensive series, the Divas went to the air. Allyson Hamlin hit Nikki Williams, who made a splendid catch to stay in bounds and ran 16 yards for a score to make the lead 14-0.

Hamlin then found Donna Wilkinson for an equally impressive, 14-yard diving touchdown to the pylon, which made the margin 21-0. But Hamlin wasn’t finished. Her third passing touchdown turned into the longest touchdown pass in franchise history when rookie wide receiver Ashley Whisonant finished her 94-yard jaunt to the end zone. A botched snap on the extra point actually turned into a lucky break for the Divas; holder Alison Fischer pitched the ball to kicker Kathryn Hemlock, who ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion. The Divas led at halftime, 29-0.

The Liberty Belles (2-4) would have no better luck in the second half. The Divas defense was led by an outstanding performance from the linebackers. Defensive MVP Callie Brownson had two sacks, five tackles, and an interception return for seven yards that set up the Divas’ first score of the second half. Ayrica Walker wedged in from one yard out behind stellar blocking from the offensive line, and the Divas were up 35-0. Linebackers Nikia Green and Tea Törmänen also played a huge part in the Divas’ third shutout of the season.

Kathryn Hemlock relieved Hamlin at quarterback in the second half threw a touchdown pass to offensive MVP Ashley Whisonant. Whisonant literally took a touchdown out of a defender’s grasp and finished the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown catch to make the final score 42-0.

The Divas moved their overall record to 80 and 21 and will make their eighth trip to the postseason in the team’s 11-year history. The Divas will travel to Boston on June 11 with home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs at stake. The WFA playoffs begin on June 25.

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