Recap vs. Boston Militia – June 9, 2012

D.C. Divas Lose Late Lead and Fall, 32-25
Boston 32, DC 25
By Neal Rozendaal

Recap • Statistics

Landover, MD – After losing to the Boston Militia in their earlier meeting this season by a score of 44-7, some fans may have questioned just how competitive the D.C. Divas could be against the Militia in a rematch Saturday.

The Divas answered those questions pointedly.

The Boston Militia took the lead for good with under two minutes remaining in the game and halted the Divas’ final drive to preserve a narrow 32-25 victory. The Militia (7-0), who are the two-time reigning national champions in women’s football, needed a late touchdown to narrowly avoid losing to the Divas in D.C. for the second year in a row.

The Militia jumped out to a 10-0 lead after a first-quarter field goal and a rushing touchdown early in the second period. The Divas (4-3) finally got on the board in the second quarter. When a deep drive into Boston territory stalled, Divas kicker Kris Simon booted a 28-yard field goal. That cut the Divas’ deficit to 10-3 at halftime.

The second half featured much more offense from both sides. Boston got the second half started with their second rushing touchdown of the game to jump ahead, 17-3. Just as it looked like the two-time defending national champions might be pulling away, the Divas finally cracked the end zone for the first time. Kenyetta Grigsby scored on a two-yard touchdown run, which got the Divas back to within 17-10 after three quarters.

With 5:26 remaining in the game, Boston running back Whitney Zelee seemingly clinched the game by running for her second touchdown of the half. Her score put Boston on top, 24-10. But that set the stage for a furious Divas rally that electrified the home crowd.

With the Divas down by two touchdowns, Divas wide receiver Ashley Whisonant snared three receptions on a drive down the field. The drive culminated in an 11-yard touchdown pass by Allyson Hamlin, and when Grigsby ran for the two-point conversion, the Divas had cut their deficit to 24-18 with 3:15 remaining in the contest. Whisonant set a Divas franchise record with 17 receptions on the day.

Then came one of the most bizarre plays in Divas history. On the ensuing kickoff, Kris Simon booted the ball over the head of Asia Landrum, the Boston returner. As the Divas’ return team raced down the field, Landrum chased the ball that had bounded into the end zone. But rather than picking up the ball and downing it for a touchback, Landrum simply stared at it.

Three Divas returners arrived and paused for a moment, unsure of what exactly was going on. But D’Ajah Scott pounced on the football for the Divas in the end zone, recovering the ball for a touchdown which tied the game. When Simon kicked the extra point, she gave the Divas a 25-24 lead with no time having run off the clock.

Unfortunately for the home team, this game had one last momentum shift back toward the Boston sideline. With the game slipping away from them, the Militia scored the decisive touchdown with 1:48 left in the game. Zelee rushed for her third touchdown of the half, and a two-point conversion put Boston back on top, 32-25. The Divas’ final drive for a potential game-winning touchdown ended with a Hamlin interception, and the Militia survived with their undefeated record intact.

Despite the loss, the Divas proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with when the playoffs begin later this month. The Divas finish the regular season next week with a road game against the Columbus Comets. A victory will clinch the Divas’ ninth division championship in the last ten years.

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