Recap vs. Baltimore Burn – May 3, 2014

D.C. Divas Pitch Second Straight Shutout, 43-0
DC 43, Baltimore 0
By Neal Rozendaal

Recap • Statistics

Baltimore, MD – The D.C. Divas faced a historic rival Saturday, taking the field against the Baltimore Burn for the first time since 2006. The Divas celebrated the occasion by turning in a flawless performance reminiscent of some of the dominant Divas blowouts of the past.

The Divas rushed for four touchdowns, and the suffocating D.C. defense held Baltimore without a single non-penalty first down for the entire game in the Divas’ 43-0 victory. The D.C. Divas (2-2) got off to a quick start and zipped through an abbreviated second half to even their season record after four games.

The Baltimore Burn (2-2) went three and out on their opening possession, a sign of things to come for the Baltimore offense. D’Ajah Scott gave the Divas excellent field position with a punt return to the Burn 30-yard line. Nikki Williams, starting at quarterback for the Divas for the second straight game, quickly gave D.C. a 7-0 lead by tossing a seven-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Kentrina Wilson.

On their second possession, the Burn ill-advisedly went for it on fourth and 14 on their own side of the field, and the Divas got the stop and took over possession deep in Baltimore territory. Kenyetta Grigsby, who started her career with the Baltimore Burn from 2004-2006, soon rushed for her first touchdown against her old team to put the Divas up, 13-0.

The D.C. defense didn’t yield a single non-penalty first down to the Burn the entire contest. On Baltimore’s next possession, penalties aided their best drive of the day, but they ultimately turned the ball over on downs at their own 39-yard line. Once again facing a short field, the Divas wasted no time. Grigsby scampered into the end zone from 39 yards away, and Callie Brownson added a two-point conversion from the Wildcat formation for a 21-0 Divas advantage after one quarter.

The Divas fielded a short Burn punt after a three and out, and for the fourth time, the Divas started their offensive possession on Baltimore’s side of midfield. Nikki Williams’ day was finished after one quarter, and Ashley Whisonant came into the game to take over as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation. Okiima Pickett raced 34 yards and appeared to score on a long run, but the officials marked her down at the one-yard line. Whisonant ran an option to the right side of the field and pitched the ball to D’Ajah Scott, who ran in for the Divas’ fourth touchdown and a 27-0 lead.

The D.C. defense didn’t allow Baltimore to score a point, and now it began to put up points of its own. Desiree Abrams forced a fumble near the Baltimore ten-yard line, and Allyson Swailes scooped up the ball and ran it into the end zone for a defensive touchdown. Brownson tossed a two-point conversion pass to Elise Pittman out of the Wildcat formation, and the Divas led, 35-0.

But the defense wasn’t finished with their scoring barrage. Baltimore got the ball back, and with under two minutes to play in the half, a bad snap flew far over the head of the Burn quarterback. As the Divas closed in on the ball, the Burn kicked it out of the back of the end zone, giving the Divas two more points. The Divas took a 37-0 lead to the halftime break.

The Divas started the second half by returning the kickoff to the 50-yard line. It was the worst starting field position of the day for the Divas, who never took a single snap the entire game on their own side of the field. In control of a 37-point lead, the Divas began liberally substituting players. Pickett’s running helped the Divas drive within a few yards of the Baltimore end zone, but the Divas committed their only turnover of the day moments later on an interception.

Jenne Massie caught a long pass early in the fourth quarter and was tackled at the one-yard line. On the following play, Massie plunged into the end zone from a yard out to put the Divas ahead, 43-0. The game was called shortly thereafter, giving the Divas a 43-0 victory.

It was the second straight shutout for the Divas, who haven’t allowed a point in nine straight quarters of play. After a bye week, the Divas’ next game is at home on May 17 against the Atlanta Phoenix. The contest against Atlanta is Homecoming for all Divas alumni, and the Divas will use the occasion to recognize the legacy of former head coach Ezra Cooper.

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