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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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Result: 34-26 W

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By Josiah Ragsdale

Chicago Bulldozes the Tribe

Winnemac Stadium - Despite the wind and rain it was a great day for rivalry football. The Chicago Force played host to the long-time rival Kansas City Tribe. This game featured a pair of outstanding teams with two of the strongest defenses and most explosive offenses in the WFA.

From the opening kickoff fans were on the edge of their seats. A long return by Kansas City was botched by a fumble near mid-field as the ball simply fell through the hands of #15 Lara Guscott and was recovered by Jeanette Gray at the Force 49 yard line. The Force turned to power back Jessica Springer, who drove the ball down the field, rushing for 45 yards on 6 carries before she fumbled the ball inside the red zone. Taking over on their own 12 yard line the Tribe was unable to capitalize, and the two teams traded turnovers on downs on their subsequent drives.

Halfway through the first quarter and the Force struck first on a Jessica Springer 45-yard touchdown run at the 6:48 mark. Springer broke two tackles in the trenches then bounced outside and off she rumbled leaving the Kansas City defense trailing behind her. #12 Carolyn Lee kicked the PAT to make it 7-0.

After another KC punt the Force took over on its own 39 yard line. Chicago put the ball in the hands of its thunder and lightning tailbacks Jessica Springer and Brandy Hatcher. Combining for another 41 yards on the ground, the Force faced a 4th down and 5 from the Tribe 20 yard line. Anticipating another run, Quarterback Sami Grisafe took the entire defense left on a fake to Springer, then reversed field to find Kim Marks wide open for a 20 yard touchdown reception with 0:32 left on the first quarter clock. After the failed 2-point conversion it was a 13-0 Chicago lead.

That score ignited the Kansas City offense, as Quarterback Jenny Schmidt used an array of bootlegs and passes to the flat to march her team down the field. Starting at their own 46 Schmidt made running back Larisha Graves her primary target as she ran over and around the Force defense ending the drive in a 4-yard touchdown run. After the PAT the Force lead was cut 13-7. A personal foul against the Force on the PAT gave Kansas City an opportunity to pin Chicago deep in its own territory on the ensuing kickoff, but a botched squib kick gave the home team the ball at the 29 yard line.

A slow Force drive was aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty. After more impressive running by Springer and Hatcher, the Force took to the air. On a 4th down and 5 from the 36-yard line Sami Grisafe threw her first interception of the year to #33 Katie Sowers. Unable to gain momentum from the turnover the Tribe again turned it over on downs. Jessica Springer was a force to be reckoned with on this day and single-handedly took the ball to the end zone, going 46 yards on 4 carries (with help from an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) and scoring a 6-yard touchdown. After a failed conversion, the Force led 19-7.

KC again answered the challenge, as Schmidt continued to carve up the Force defense with quick feet in the backfield. She was able to find her tailback open in the flat again and again, combined with big catches by Regan Campbell and a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Schmidt ran the ball in from the 1-yard line with 1:08 remaining in the first half. The Force held a 19-14 lead at halftime. The second half started with more of the same, Jessica Springer running over the Tribe defense. Taking it deep into the Kansas City territory Springer again fumbled in the red zone. Picked up at the 12 it was returned to the 23 yard line. The deciding factor in the game was points off turnovers, as the Tribe forced 3 but was never able to score off those opportunities. A turnover on downs in Force territory gave Chicago the ball at their own 30. A 15-yard run by Hatcher got chains moving. Springer contributed as well, as the two compiled big runs of 14, 17 and 14 pounding the ball down to the 1 yard line where Sami Grisafe took the quarterback sneak in for the score with: 07 remaining in the 3rd quarter. After a successful 2-point conversion the score was 27-14.

Leslie Gent exploded out of the gates on the kickoff and was finally brought down at the Chicago 31. Another quick scoring drive led by Jenny Schmidt kept Kansas City’s undefeated hopes alive. Finding her favorite receiver Liz Sowers for two quick catches brought the Tribe within 7 (failed PAT) at the 13:57 mark. 27-20. Starting at their own 42 the Force did what they do best, run the ball. All afternoon there was no answer for Springer and Hatcher as the two combined for over 400 yards rushing. They ran for 4 first downs on the drive, coming up big on 3rd down three times, and Jessica Springer scored her third touchdown of the game at 6:37. The PAT by Carolyn Lee made it 34-20.

The Tribe responded quickly with a series of passes, eventually connecting with Katie Sowers for a 4 yard TD. KC was hoping to cut the lead to 7 but the PAT was blocked by Jessica Springer. The clock ran out on KC's final possession and the victory kept Chicago's goal of home-field advantage alive for possible playoff hosting rights.

Springer was the unanimous winner for Offensive Player of the Game honors. Next week the Force plays their final regular season home game against the West Michigan Mayhem. This is the first of Chicago's final two divisional games that will determine whether the Force makes the playoffs. Kick- off is at 4pm at Winnemac Stadium.

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