Gameday Recap

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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. @ Minnesota Vixen

Result: 55-0 W

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Chaska, Minnesota. The Chicago Force traveled to Minnesota this past weekend to face a new divisional opponent, the Minnesota Vixen. The weather was beautiful and sunny for the Vixen’s opening kickoff, which was covered by Candace Griffin at the Chicago 33 yard line. On the third play from scrimmage RB Karyn Silvestri burst through the left side and weaved her way through the defense, picking up key blocks all the way down the field. The scoring play covered 61 yards. Carolyn Lee kicked the extra point to put the Force ahead 7-0 with only 80 seconds of game time elapsed.

Both the Vixen and Force were unable to move the chains and exchanged punts. Midway through the first quarter the Force offense struck again – this time with a sustained drive that started at their own 12 yard line. Head Coach John Konecki was intent on establishing the running game as the offensive line is considered the team’s biggest strength. Ultimately, QB Sami Grisafe scored on a keeper from the one yard line. Lee’s extra point attempt split the uprights to put Chicago up 14-0. After another three and out by Minnesota, the Force started from their own 35 yard line. The Force kept it on the ground – why change? – with Grisafe handing off to both Silvestri (27 carries for 194 yards) and veteran RB Esther Henigan (9 carries for 91 yards), who kept the chains moving. On the first play of the 2nd quarter Silvestri scored on a 5 yard run. Lee’s missed PAT left the Force lead at 20-0.

Early in the second quarter, the Vixen punter fielded a poor snap and, under an intense rush, was tackled before she could get off a kick, turning the ball over on downs at their own 40 yard line. On this drive Chicago’s offense had Minnesota reeling as they attacked by air and ground. Grisafe connected with Albi Zhubi from 14 yards out on a fade route to the corner of the end zone. Lee’s extra point was good, Force lead 27-0. When it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse for Minnesota, it did. On the second play from scrimmage the Vixen QB attempted to pitch the ball under pressure. The pitch was deflected by DE Sofia Sianez and the loose ball was recovered by Chicago’s Dawn Pederson. Unfortunately, the Force offense failed to convert on this opportunity, they had to settle for pinning the Vixen at their 9 yard line with a punt. The Force defense stuffed Minnesota, who then had to punt it right back. The Force offense got it going this time. QB Grisafe connected with Candace Griffin on a 14 yard pass play for a first down –Griffin had 3 receptions in the game and made nice moves each time to pick up yards after the catch. From the six yard line Grisafe found TE Kimberly Marks in the corner for a TD pass. Lee’s extra point was again good, putting the Force up 34-0 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Minnesota went to the air, but three incomplete passes and a punt put the ball back in Chicago’s hands at the Minnesota 43 yard line with 1:36 left in the half. A couple of successful runs brought the ball to the 25 yard line with 17 seconds left. Grisafe again looked downfield and hit WR Martha Dantuma perfectly on a post route, leading her into the end zone. Lee hit the extra point for a halftime score of Chicago 41 – Minnesota 0.

The second half Minnesota came out throwing and had some success, however the Force defense seemed to come up with big plays when they needed them most. In the third quarter rookie CB Mary Valene came up with an interception at the Minnesota 35 yard line and outran would-be tacklers to the corner of the end zone for her first career interception and her first touchdown. Lee’s extra point was good, making it 48-0. The final score came early in the fourth quarter when Grisafe got in on a 4 yard keeper to cap off an 86 yard drive. Lee converted on the extra point for the final margin of victory – Chicago 55 – Minnesota 0.

The Vixen did have several drives in the second half but were unable to score. Their last and best opportunity late in the 4th quarter was thwarted when CB Shannon Ten Broeck intercepted a tipped pass at the Chicago 18 yard line. This was the 3rd Vixen drive that stalled in the red zone. Credit for that can go to the much-improved Force defense led by LB Kim Marks, DE Amanda Malsch, LB Amber Burns, LB Veronica Hernandez and Jennifer Benson.

This was the second shutout of the season for the Force defense. They face a big challenge next Saturday May 2nd when the Force host the high-scoring Kansas City Tribe at 3pm in a pivotal game with playoff implications.

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