(ST. LOUIS, MO) For the second straight year, the St. Louis SLAM women’s tackle football franchise will compete in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) Tier II trophy game.
With the victory, the SLAM (9-1) plays the Tampa Bay Inferno (11-0) on Friday, July 21 at the governing body’s season finale in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Floridians advanced to the trophy game with Saturday’s 58-26 triumph over the Montreal Blitz. The game is a re-match of last year’s title tussle that St. Louis claimed.
In the victory over the previously-unbeaten Blaze (9-1), St. Louis extinguished Denver’s finest with a 22-0 fourth quarter rally.
In the opening quarter, St. Louis’ stingy defensive unit, paced by Keyonna Smith, Tiffany Pugh, Raven Williams, Kaylee Neutzling, Brooklyn Bastain, Robyn Morrow, Pamela Green, Antionette Grier and Vicki Nichols, quickly displayed its dominance and forced the Blaze to punt.
The ensuing kick was extremely weak and the SLAM started with possession at the Blaze eight-yard line. Two plays later, running back Taylor Hay scampered from four yards out for the St. Louis’ first score of the night with 11:33 left in the quarter. Hay added the kick afterwards tho give the locals a 7-0 edge.
Mile High sputtered on their next possession and punted the ball away, this time resulting in the SLAM’s start from the Blaze’s 16-yard line. Three plays later, the SLAM’s Neutzling attempted a 31-yard field goal but her kick went wide right and the game remained 7-0 midway through the quarter.
Denver began to show signs of life as the quarter expired and trailed by the same differential as the second started. However, they surrendered possession back to the SLAM two minutes deep into the frame.
St. Louis then found their own struggles offensively. Back-to-back interceptions on the SLAM’s next two possessions kept the Blaze within close range of a scoreboard tie.
With 7:40 left in the half, the Blaze produced a ten-play, 50-yard drive that completed that narrative. With eight ticks left on the clock, quarterback Adrienne Tauaese rumbled from two yards out and with the follow-up PAT kick, Mile High tied the score 7-7.
In the third quarter, St. Louis started with the opening possession but that was quickly thwarted as Blaze linebacker Christina Triplett interception and ensuing 62-yard return gave Mile High possession at the SLAM’s 14-yard line.
On the next play, Tauaese connected with receiver Ashley Davis for the Blaze’s second score of the night and with the successful kick that followed with 11:40 left in the frame, the SLAM found themselves trailing 14-7.
After both teams traded possessions, the SLAM tied the score 14-14 with 6:51 left in the quarter with Keyonna Smith’s 22-yard touchdown interception and Hay’s successful kick that followed.
Neither squad scored for the remainder of the quarter and the score remained deadlocked heading into the final frame.
The SLAM regained the lead as its offense produced its most consistent effort of the evening. Paced the front line of Caitlin Erickson, Tammie Moore, Juan Snow, Antonia Washington and Myrt Davis, St. Louis churned a seven-play, 65-yard scoring strike, finished by Jelani Kelly’s two-yard quarterback keeper with 8:50 remaining. Hay added her third PAT of the game that resulted in a 21-14 scoreboard flip in favor of the SLAM.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Blaze bobbled the ball and the SLAM’s Tawny Rodriguez recovered the fumble at the Mile High 22-yard line. On the next play, Danielle Price sprinted to the end zone for back-to-back St. Louis scores. Hay’s extra point kick with 8:30 left in the game pushed the Orange and Black Attack’s lead to 28-14.
Price’s 11-yard end zone romp with 5:05 left put the final exclamation point on the 22-0 fourth quarter rally. Price paced the offense with seven carries for 113 yards and a pair of scores.
Lauren Hollingsworth’s endzone romp with 3:25 capped off the SLAM’s scoring and ensuing 43-21 WFA Tier II semifinal triumph.
For more information on SLAM Football, go to their official website.
RUSHING: Price 7-113 2 TDs, Hay 13-54 TD, Kelly 4-25 TD, Altepeter 4-20
RECEIVING: Neutzling 1-12, Price 1-4