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2017 Gameday Recaps
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. Pittsburgh Passion

Result: 41-31 W

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George Howe Media Relations (773) 368-4848

Force Advance to Second Round of Playoffs

Chicago, IL. Most coaches will tell you that you wipe the slate clean when it comes to postseason play. Yet, there was no denying the quality of talent in this National Conference first round playoff game held at Evanston Township high school, just outside of Chicago. The Force and Pittsburgh Passion came in with identical 8-0 unblemished regular season records. The #1 ranked offense in the league (Force) against the #1 ranked defense (Passion), something had to give. The “X’ factor was Force running back sensation Jessica Springer who ran around, through, and over the Passion defense for 299 yards and 5 touchdowns leading her team to a 41-31 victory. Springer, who was voted the offensive game day MVP, is a Texas native and for most of the season she commuted in weekly for games. Despite the grind and missing 2 games, she led the league in rushing with 1450 yards. Now living in Chicago, things are getting a little easier. “The traveling was real hard both physically and mentally and it affected my conditioning,” she explained. “I’ve gotten a few practices under my belt. The camaraderie with the team has been great. I feel more rested and ready to go.”

Albi Zhubi took the opening kickoff and returned it 40 yards to the Passion 35. Steady Quarterback Sami Grisafe handed off the ball 6 straight times to Springer, the last one from the 5 for the score. Great upfront blocking by Roz Bennett, Taz Brooks, Dawn Pederson, Valencia Rollins, Liz Okey, Jamie Menzyk, Carolyn Lee, and Angie Bandstra all game long allowed Springer to do her thing. The Force, who never trailed, moved down the field on their second possession starting from their 17 yard line chewing up 3 minutes on 12 plays, when Springer followed Grisafe’s block 8 yards into the end zone. Springer added the 2 point conversion and the Force had a 14-0 advantage with 5 minutes to play in the first quarter. A well designed pitch and roll out play got the Passion on the board at the 3:51 mark. QB Amanda Haeg pitched to RB Lyndsi Hughes who ran right pulled up and threw a long pass caught by Desiree Sterling at the Force 14. Two plays later, Haeg bootlegged in from the right side.

The Force offense struck right back. Once again Zhubi set the table with a 20 yard kick return to midfield. A combination of Springer, a 15 yard facemask penalty, and a 15 yard pass completion from Grisafe to Jeanette Gray, allowed the direct Wildcat snap to Springer who went in from 2 yards on the left side. Tricia Charbonneau added the extra point for a 21-7 lead with 1 minute left in the first quarter. The Passion had scoring opportunities on 4 more possessions before the half, yet were held to a field goal thanks in part by stellar defense led by co- defensive MVP’S Ashley Berggren and Kim Marks who were in on most tackles. “Our goal is to see another day,” was Defensive Coordinator Chris Maniatis' halftime message. “We must continue to execute.” The Passion offense settled down and mustered 3 second half scores thanks to the tough and determined play of Haeg, Hughes, and Sterling. The Force final scoring strike came on a pretty roll out and pass from Grisafe to Lee from the six. “Our player’s and coaching staff never quit against a good and well-prepared team,” said Head Coach John Konecki. The Force host the defending National Champion Boston Militia on July 9. This tall task wasn’t lost on Konecki. “It will be a very difficult endeavor playing the defending champs. We are up to the challenge.”

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