DIVAS COME UP SHORT IN WFA CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

WFA Football Eastern Conference Championship: Boston Renegades-DC Divas

Landover, MD, Saturday, July 14, 2018: Amanda Congialdi (6) of DC Divas scrambles and looks downfield for a receiver during the WFA Eastern Conference Championship game held at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium in Landover, MD. (Michael R. Smith/The Prince George’s Sentinel).

LANDOVER – The D.C. Divas and Boston Renegades rivalry continued on July 14 in Landover, MD at The Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex during the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) Division I Eastern Conference championship game.

It was the ninth playoff meeting between the two organizations over the past 10 years and last Saturday night showed the storied rivalry of these two powerhouses.

After a slow start by the Divas in the first half, D.C. rebounded in the second half to make it a more competitive game. However, for the second straight season, the Renegades knocked the Divas out of the playoffs in a nailbiter (34-32).

“We’ve seen this all year,” D.C. Divas Head Coach Greg Gaskins said. “We woke up in the second half. In the first game when they came down here, they were up 14 at halftime, and we ended up waking up in the second half and winning. The same thing happened here. It was just that they made a few more plays in the second half then we did. At the end of the day, we played 30 minutes, they played 60, and that’s what shows on the scoreboard.”

In the first quarter, both teams were evenly matched. Each squad missed out on tremendous opportunities as they respectively drove down the field. The Divas had their only turnover of the game halfway through the first, and the Renegades had a touchdown called back by a penalty, which led to a missed field goal. That left the score knotted at zero at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Boston outscored the Divas 21-7 as quarterback Allison Cahill threw four touchdowns, with two of those tosses to wide receiver Stephanie Pascual. The Divas had no answer for the fast-paced offensive attack of the Renegades and went into halftime down by two scores (21-7).

To add insult to injury, the Divas star running back D’Ajah Scott went down with a leg injury with 1:46 left in the second quarter.

“In the first half, we definitely came out flat,” said Divas linebacker Safi Mojidi, who led D.C. with 10 tackles. “We have a terrible habit of coming out flat. Defensively, I think we had some miscues. We practiced the past two weeks going over scouting tapes and watching film. We were very well-prepared, but there were some miscues, dropped personnel, and we didn’t take care of business like we should have in the first half.”

With 6:06 left in the third quarter and the score still 21-7, Scott, who had the team’s only touchdown, returned to the game. On that same drive, she checked back into the game, and the Divas scored on a quick one-yard quarterback sneak play by Amanda Congialdi to cut the deficit to 21-13. However, Boston responded right back with a score of their own that extended the Renegades lead to 28-13. With 46 seconds left in the frame, Congialdi scored her second touchdown of the game with a two-yard pass to running back Courtney Smith. As they headed into the final quarter, the Divas trailed 28-20.

“The game plan for us was to establish the run,” Congialdi said. “I think they knew our game plan was to establish the run, so in the second half, we decided to spread them out and go wide. That way, we were able to take advantage of the secondary.”

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Divas got the break that they needed. The Renegades muffed a punt, and D.C. recovered the ball. Defense leads to offense, and the Divas took advantage of that opportunity as Congialdi scored her third touchdown of the game.

However, the Divas missed out on the two-point conversion chance, which made the score 28-26. Every time the Divas scored, the Renegades came right back with an answer. Cahill threw her fourth touchdown of the night, which increased Boston’s lead yet again (34-26). Boston missed the extra point, however, which left the door wide open for the Divas to make one more push to score.

With 4:22 left in the fourth quarter, Congialdi delivered her fourth touchdown of the night with a strike over the middle to wide receiver Lois Cook, which made it a two-point game. The Divas had no choice but to go for another two-point conversion attempt but came up short once again. The Renegades got the ball back with a 34-32 lead, and after multiple first downs, they ended the Divas season for the second straight year.

After a quiet first half, wide receiver Kentrina Wilson had a big second half and ended the game with seven catches for 144 yards but unfortunately could not find the endzone. On the defensive end, Mojidi led the Divas with 10 tackles, and linebacker Tia Watkins had nine tackles. Cahill led the Renegades with four touchdowns.

“When we had a wide receiver open, that was a missed opportunity, but we came back and scored the next play,” Gaskins said. “Offensively, we missed a few passes. If we hit a couple of those passes, there’s more time on the clock. That’s what happens when you miss those passes, and you miss time.

Defensively, we missed tackles. It wasn’t that we were always out of place. We had people in place, but at the end of the day, you got to make a play.”