Recap vs. Baltimore Burn – June 14, 2003
Baltimore Burns D.C. Divas’ Perfect Season With 22-14 Victory
Baltimore 22, DC 14
By Leah Fahringer and Rich Daniel
Baltimore, MD – Although the D.C. Divas had already ensured their playoff berth and will enter the postseason as division champions, they suffered a tough loss – their only loss of the season – at the hands of the Baltimore Burn in their last regular season game by a 22-14 score.
The D.C. Divas and Baltimore Burn have met six times in the last two seasons. Although the Divas defeated the Burn, 24-0, earlier this season, the Burn’s 22-14 victory Saturday gave the Burn a 4-2 series advantage all-time. All four of Baltimore’s victories have come in the last two minutes of play, and Saturday’s victory was no different.
The Divas (7-1) gained some ground but were unable to reach the end zone in a scoreless first quarter. However, less than a minute into the second period, the Divas got on the scoreboard first as running back Donna Wilkinson raced into the end zone following a quick drive down the field. The Divas failed on the conversion but still led the game, 6-0.
Although the Divas were attempting to complete a perfect regular season, the Burn (7-2) were fighting for a wild card playoff berth. With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Baltimore completed a touchdown pass that knotted the score, 6-6. The Divas blocked the Burn’s extra-point attempt, and the teams reached the halftime break all tied up.
The Divas took back the lead after a drive featuring several running plays. LaShawn Foust was the key figure in the drive, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 3:13 left in the third quarter. Wilkinson converted the two-point conversion, and the Divas were ahead, 14-6. DC was seemingly on its way to its eighth straight victory of the year and a perfect regular season, as the Divas took an eight-point lead into the final quarter.
But less than five minutes into the final period, Burn quarterback Tara Watanathai threw her second touchdown pass of the game. A successful two-point conversion again tied the score at 14-14. The Burn also received excellent performances by fullback Julie Ciccarelli and wide receiver Regina Nolan on offense, as the Burn offense controlled the fourth quarter.
The D.C. Divas experienced a heart-breaking turnover on their next possession, fumbling the ball away with 5:55 remaining in a tie game. On their next possession, Baltimore ran the clock down and crossed the goal line for the third and final time with only 1:23 left in the contest. The Burn converted the two-point attempt, making the score 22-14.
The Divas were unable to mount a comeback on their final offensive drive. Baltimore preserved the victory with a fourth down stop of Donna Wilkinson with just under a minute to play. The Divas saw their perfect record spoiled in their final regular season game, and with the win, the 7-2 Burn clinched a wild-card spot in the NWFA playoffs.
Wilkinson became the first running back in league history to go over the 1,000-yard mark. Her 23 carries for 110 yards gave her 1,027 rushing yards on the season to go along with 13 touchdowns.
Despite the loss, the D.C. Divas remain the division champions, and they took the disappointing loss in stride. “We have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Divas head coach Ezra Cooper. “Our season is something we can all be proud of. I expect we will attack the postseason with the same intensity that brought us our first division championship.”
The 7-1 Divas now have two weeks to relax and practice before the first big playoff game in franchise history. The Divas will open the playoffs at home on June 28 against the Connecticut Crush.
|← Previous Game||Next Game →|