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 Machine

Result: 69-0 W

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Chicago Force Leave Machine Looking Unwound

By Josiah Ragsdale

Winnemac Stadium - In a 69-point rout, the Chicago Force start their season 1-0. It was a great day for football on Chicago’s north side as the Force took on the Minnesota Machine. From the opening whistle it was all Force. A failed onside kick to start the game gave Minnesota great field position but they were unable to capitalize. On a crucial third down Chicago LB Melissa Whyms came up with a big 7-yard sack.

On the first Force drive of the season new acquisition RB Jessica Springer took the Force on her back, as well as some Machine defenders, capping a balanced drive with 3 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown. The two-conversion was unsuccessful. This came with 8:14 left in the 1st quarter. The rest of the half would be more of the same, as the Machine offense was unable to figure out the Force blitz schemes. Veterans Kimberly Marks and Darcy Leslie were in the backfield early and often, each with two tackles for loss.

After another three-and-out the Force took over and drove down the field again, using a balanced attack led by veteran QB Sami Grisafe and RB Jessica Springer. With quick screens and great blocking on the corners receivers Albi Zhubi and RB Brandy Hatcher helped push the ball into Machine territory where Springer was able to pound it up the middle, breaking tackles, and ending the drive with a 1-yd touchdown run. After the successful 2-point conversion the Force led 14-0 at the close of the first quarter. A sack ended the next Machine drive, and as the second quarter started the Force put on the burners, as Sami Grisafe threw a crisp pass to rookie WR Ashley Berggren and she did the rest, taking it 59 yards down the sideline for the score. After the conversion Force led 22-0.

The Minnesota Machine was just unable to get rolling on offense, giving the Force numerous opportunities to capitalize. The following Force drive started with a 39-yard run by Springer, and ended with 23-yard touchdown reception by Brandy Hatcher, putting Chicago up 28-0 at the 11:27 mark of the second quarter. Springer found the end zone again on the next drive for her third of the half, a 13-yard run after 25-yard carry and a 19-yard connection from Grisafe to Zhubi. Force lead 34-0. On the ensuing Minnesota punt, Albi Zhubi had an impressive 32-yard return to give the offense great field position to start the drive. After a combination of passes to receivers Dana Vermilye and rookie Angel Mason, Grisafe was able to find WR Jeanette Gray in the corner for an 8-yard touchdown catch. Chicago up 42-0.Trying to get something going before halftime, Minnesota’s next drive ended with an interception, compliments of Defensive Game Day MVP Amber Burns. A few plays later Springer ran it up the gut for a 5-yard score to end the half 50-0.

Coach John Konecki gave his starters a rest in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to put Minnesota on the scoreboard. Interceptions by Darcy Leslie, Lindsey Jacob, rookie Emma Finestone and another by Burns told the story of the game. Offensive Game Day MVP Brandy Hatcher added a 27-yard touchdown run in the third, widening the gap to 56-0, and rookie RB Leslie Johnson fanned the flames with a 35-yard touchdown run of her own midway through the fourth quarter, bringing the score to 63-0 after the PAT. The Force would add one more touchdown before the final whistle blew, a 21-yard bootleg by back up QB Jeanette Gray.

With a stifling defense that allowed only three first downs and an offense that moved the ball effortlessly both on the ground and through the air it was all smiles on the field and in the stands at the Chicago Force home opener. After the game Defensive Coordinator Chris Maniatis had this to say, “We came out and did exactly what we said we would. We forced sacks and turnovers. This is practice paying off. We’ve been working hard and today it showed.” Fans left wide-eyed and celebrating. If this is a sign of things to come, opponents beware. The Chicago Force are bringing it. Next week the Force travel north to take on the Wisconsin Wolves in Wausau, Wisconsin. Game time is 4pm.

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