Recap vs. Detroit Demolition – June 2, 2007

D.C. Divas Outduel the Detroit Demolition, 24-22
DC 24, Detroit 22
By Rich Daniel

Landover, MD – The most anticipated regular season game in the history of women’s football was well worth the wait. It took three long years, two different leagues, and one inspired effort, but the D.C. Divas finally earned their revenge against the Detroit Demolition. In front of a boisterous home crowd at the Prince George’s Sports Complex, the determined Divas twice came from behind – then withstood a furious, fourth-quarter rally – en route to a dramatic 24-22 victory.

The showdown between the preeminent teams in the IWFL did not disappoint. The outcome of this back-and-forth, seesaw affair remained in question until the final seconds, a fitting conclusion for a game that was a virtual dead-heat on the final stat sheet. The narrow, two-point victory avenges a pair of season-ending playoff losses to Detroit following the 2004 and 2005 regular seasons.

“I’m so proud, so very, very proud,” said head coach Ezra Cooper of his team.

Cooper and his staff were an integral victory component. Trailing by five points at halftime, the coaches called for an onside kick to open the third quarter. The gamble worked to perfection when stalwart defender and special teams ace Vickie Lucas fell on the loose ball near midfield.

The gutsy decision paid off handsomely. A 34-yard rumble by running back Rachelle Pecovsky set up a short touchdown run that gave the Divas the lead. The Divas (4-0) controlled the ball and the clock throughout the third and fourth quarters, as the Divas did not attempt a pass in the second half.

Defensive end Sharina Western was one of several defensive standouts, forcing one fumble, recovering another, and recording the Divas’ lone quarterback sack. Western praised the team’s effort, exclaiming, “Heart, pride, poise. That was Divas football.”

The Demolition (4-1) committed four turnovers in the game, and their powerful offense was held to just nine second-half points. A critical, fourth-quarter defensive stand by the Divas turned back a Detroit two-point conversion attempt and helped preserve the victory. For their steely resolve and superlative effort, the entire Divas defense was awarded a game ball.

The jubilant post-game celebration was rare for a regular season game – an equal combination of smiles and laughter, cheers and hugs, joyful tears and victory cigars. In the end, however, came words of caution from Coach Cooper. “Enjoy this one for now, you’ve earned it,” Coach Cooper told the team. “But remember, it’s just one game. We still have a long ways to go.”

The Divas are attempting to accomplish an unparalleled feat in 2007: back-to-back championships in two completely different leagues. A three-game home stand continues on June 9 against the Boston Rampage.

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