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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. Seattle Majestics

Result: 28-14 W

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Contact: George Howe,
Media Relations (773) 368-4848

Force Advance to Conference Championship

Kent, Washington. The Chicago Force traveled over 3000 miles to take on the #1 seeded Seattle Majestics in the first round of the IWFL playoffs. The Force overcame numerous obstacles to stun the previously undefeated Majestics 28-14. Many of the Chicago players spent the night in various airports as their Friday night flights were either cancelled or delayed. In addition, Chicago traveled with a reduced roster due to extremely high airfare. The team hung the jerseys of absent players on their sideline as a tribute to their teammates. In spite of the adversity, the players rose above their fatigue and hit the field with tremendous ferocity and focus.

Chicago kicked off and immediately smothered the Majestic returner. Seattle picked up a first down on their initial series when a Force defender was flagged for encroachment. After forcing a turnover on downs, the Chicago offense took the field. QB Sami Grisafe completed a 20 yard pass to WR Martha Dantuma on the first play. Chicago continued to move the ball with short passes and runs. The offense stalled as it neared the red zone when a Force receiver fumbled. Although it was recovered by Chicago it was a 10 yard loss and they were forced to punt.

The teams exchanged possessions until midway through the 2nd quarter when CB Shannon Ten Broeck recovered a fumble by the Seattle RB at their 32 yard line. Grisafe quickly completed a 19 yard pass to WR Trish Harper for a first down, but an incomplete pass, a run for no gain, and a missed handoff resulting in a loss brought up fourth and goal from the 17 yard line. Grisafe dropped back and calmly threw a perfect spiral to Dantuma as she crossed the goal line. Carolyn Lee kicked the extra point to put Chicago up 7-0 with 3 minutes left in the first half. There was no further scoring before the break.

The Chicago offense then exploded in the 3rd quarter, scoring twice within minutes. The first score came on a 29 yard TD when Grisafe hit Harper on the sideline. Dawn Pederson made the kick out block that allowed Harper to get to the end zone. Lee’s PAT was on target to push the score to Chicago 14 Seattle 0. A Chicago onside kick worked to perfection as it was recovered by Amber Burns on Seattle’s 48 yard line. Grisafe immediately went to the air, hitting Dantuma for 33 yards down the middle. Another pass to Harper picked up 5 yards. From the 10 yard line, QB Albi Zhubi rolled to the right and then snapped off a quick pass to Dantuma as she stepped across the goal line. Kicker Carolyn Lee, who was perfect on the day, split the uprights to extend Chicago’s lead to 21-0.

The euphoria was short-lived when the Majestic RB exploded through the middle on a trap play for a 52 yard TD. Seattle then converted for two points on a fade pass to the corner, closing the gap to 21-8. After the ensuing kickoff, Chicago started from their 32 yard line. On the first play Grisafe again hit Dantuma for a first down, but a Seattle defender stripped her of the ball, allowing the Majestics taking over on Chicago’s 35 yard line. It was a huge momentum shift and Seattle made the most of it by picking up 2 quick first downs. Chicago’s Ten Broeck was then flagged for her 2nd facemask, giving Seattle first and goal from the 2 yard line. Seattle punched it into the end zone on their first attempt, but failed on the 2 point conversion, pulling to 21-14 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Albi Zhubi returned the kickoff to the 39 yard line. Grisafe connected with Dantuma for 9 yards and followed it with a QB keeper to get the first down at midfield. Another sideline pass to Harper resulted in a 28 yard gain. Grisafe kept it again for another first down to the 11 yard line. Yet another QB keeper took it to the 3 yard line. An incomplete pass and a 1 yard run brought up 4th and goal from the 2 yard line. QB Zhubi, under pressure, threw an interception in the end zone that was returned to the 15 yard line.

The Force defense – led by Kim Marks, Jamie Menzyk, Taz Brooks, Minja Hernandez and Amber Burns - turned back the Seattle offense in a critical series. Seattle was forced to punt and Chicago took over on their own 30 yard line. The Force went to their most effective play of the night and hit Harper on the sideline with a quick pass. Pederson again blew up the cornerback and Harper raced 70 yards for the game-clinching TD. The PAT by Lee was good - Chicago 28, Seattle 14 - with six minutes remaining.

Seattle returned the kick to their 45 yard line and after several short passes, were nearing the red zone. On first down Force DT Menzyk stormed the Seattle QB, burying her for a 13 yard loss on a monster sack. The Majestics threw on the next 3 downs – all incomplete – as Chicago DB’s Ten Broeck and Mary Valene laid some punishing hits on the receivers. Chicago took over on downs and ran out the clock. The Force players, coaches and fans erupted in celebration as the game ended.

”I asked the players to do their assignments and trust that their teammates would do theirs”, said Head Coach John Konecki. “ It was a well fought game by both sides and we were fortunate to come away victorious. We are happy we won this contest but we know we will have our hands full with a very tough Kansas City team in the conference championship.”

The hard-earned victory puts Chicago in the Western Conference Championship in Kansas City on July 11th at 6pm against the KC Tribe.

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