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2017 Gameday Recaps
Force vs. 3rd Rd: Boston Renegades
Result: 33-47 L  
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Force vs. 2nd Rd: Pittsburgh Passion
Result: 45-0 W  
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Force vs. St. Louis Slam
Result: 44-20 W  
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Force vs. Boston Renegades
Result: 24-25 L  
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Force vs. Toledo Reign
Result: 52-0 W  
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Force vs. Minnesota Vixen
Result: 53-0 W  
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Force vs. D.C. Divas
Result: 28-21 W  
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Force vs. Detroit Dark Angels
Result: 84-0 W  
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CHICAGO FORCE vs. 3rd Rd: D.C. Divas

Result: 24-43 L

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Photo Credit: Douglas Charland

SPRINGFIELD, VA "We ran out of players, plain and simple," lamented Chicago Force team owner Linda Bache after a heartbreaking loss to the #1 ranked DC Divas in the Women's Football Alliance conference championship. A quick glance down the Force sideline confirmed as much. There seemed to be more players on crutches and on the training table than there were in gear. The team experienced an unusual spate of injuries - primarily on defense - in the final weeks of the season and then suffered six more during the semi-final match.

The Force fought back from a three score deficit and threatened to overtake the favored DC team in the 4th quarter, but a costly fourth quarter turnover and pick six in the final minutes put the game out of reach. The final score was Chicago 24, DC 43. The Divas advance to make their first appearance in the WFA National Championship in LA on August 8th where they will face the Dallas Elite.

To offset the loss of so many defenders, it was determined that offensive stars Jamie Fornal, Rachel Gore, Cassey Brick and Jeanette Gray would also have to play the entire game in the defensive secondary and that all members of the offensive line would be rotating through on defense as well. With the field temperature hovering around 100 degrees, this did not bode well for Chicago as they prepared to face a physical DC team with a large roster.

After receiving the opening kickoff Chicago moved steadily downfield and quickly scored on their initial drive when Gore connected with Kim Marks on a 4 yard TD pass.

On their first defensive play of the game, Force All-American Cat Converse (the center on offense) ruptured her Achilles while playing defensive tackle. The trend continued as five more defensive players would be injured by the end of the game. Chicago tried to shuffle players to find a winning formula, but ultimately struggled throughout against the powerful DC running game.

The Divas scored three touchdowns in the first half while the Chicago offense missed out on several opportunities by dropping catchable passes. Chicago cut DC's halftime lead to 21-12 when Gore found a wide open Fornal on wheel route for a 25 yard TD reception late in the 2nd quarter.

The Divas started the second half with the ball and were the immediate recipients of a pass interference call. DC running back Kenyatta Grigsby carried on the next snap and powered her way 25 yards into the end zone. DC smartly took advantage of Chicago's jumbled personnel groupings for a successful two point conversion, pushing their lead to 29-12.

Chicago quickly narrowed the margin to 29-18 when Gore threw a pass to Brick, who blew through the Divas defense en route to a 50 yard touchdown.

After a turnover on downs, Chicago started a drive at their own 33 yard line. Mixing runs and passes the Force went the length of the field with Gore throwing another TD pass to Marks at the start of the fourth quarter. The PAT was wide, but Chicago had pulled to 29-24. The sound drained from the Diva's boisterous fans as it became clear that the undermanned Chicago squad was determined to overcome the odds.

The Divas and their home crowd were further stunned on the first play of the Diva's next possession when the QB/RB exchange was fumbled and Chicago recovered at DC's 25 yard line. It seemed likely Chicago would now score as their offense had moved the ball freely throughout the second half.

However, a swing pass from Gore skittered backward of the intended receiver and was recovered by the Divas at the 29 yard line. The costly turnover became the turning point in the game. Instead of pulling ahead of the Divas for the first time since the opening drive, the depleted Chicago defense was back on the field and unable to stop the DC running game. The Divas ran seven consecutive running plays and scored to extend their lead to 36-24 midway through the 4th quarter.

After an exchange of possessions, Chicago began their last drive from their own 23 yard, down two scores and with only one timeout. An apparent miscommunication put a Gore pass directly into the chest of a Diva defender who ran it in for a touchdown in the final minutes to close out the scoring.

The Diva passing offense was stymied throughout the game - gaining just 73 yards on 6 completions - and were unable to do much damage against the stalwart Force secondary. But the Divas rushed for 348 yards and were able to pull out the win via their dominant rushing attack.

The Force offense was led by Gore who completed 24 of 38 passes for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brick caught 8 passes for 100 yards and Fornal added 76 yards on her 7 receptions. The rushing attack accumulated 104 yards between Gore, Brick and Brandy Hatcher.

The Force entered the game as the top ranked offense and defense in the conference, and finished with a 9-2 record. Chicago has dominated in the WFA - this was the fourth consecutive appearance in the conference championship and their seventh in the franchise's 13 year history.

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