D.C. Divas Fall Short in Rally, Lose to Boston Militia, 29-28

Neal Rozendaal | 6/8/2014, 5:26 p.m.
Ultimately, it proved to be too big of a hole to overcome.

LANDOVER, Md. — Ultimately, it proved to be too big of a hole to overcome.

The D.C. Divas fell behind 21-0 in the first half against the Boston Militia on Saturday and, despite scoring 28 straight points to take a late lead, surrendered the game-winning touchdown with three minutes remaining to lose by the narrowest of margins, 29-28.

The Divas (4-3) had a chance to get on the scoreboard first midway through the first quarter, but a bad snap on a field goal attempt kept the game scoreless. The Militia (7-0) then went on to dominate most of the first half, pulling out to a 21-0 lead. In the absence of star running back Whitney Zelee, Boston relied largely on an open passing attack to notch the first three touchdowns of the game.

The Divas’ offense finally got on track late in the first half. Kenyetta Grigsby scored the Divas’ first points of the game on a seven-yard run with 4:33 left in the first half. Grigsby had another masterful performance against an elite opponent, rushing for 248 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Her lone touchdown cut the Divas’ deficit to 21-6 at halftime.

On the Divas’ first possession of the second half, they faced fourth and 18 when Grigsby came up inches short of a first down on a surprise run. When the Divas got the ball back, Grigsby ripped off a 45-yard run to set up Allyson Hamlin’s first touchdown pass of the game. Hamlin’s 20-yard scoring toss went to coach-turned-quarterback-turned-wide-receiver Nikki Williams. Grigsby ran for the two-point conversion, and the Divas trailed Boston after three quarters, 21-14.

Led by Trigger McNair and Alicia Hopkins – who each paced the team with six tackles – the D.C. defense played excellently for most of the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, they stopped Boston for a three-yard gain on fourth and four, and the Divas took possession at their own six-yard line.

The Divas offense then drove 94 yards to tie the game, with Ashley Whisonant carrying the ball 31 yards to the end zone. After a successful extra point kick, the game was tied, 21-21, with 11:40 remaining in the contest.

Tasha Lemke kept the Divas’ momentum going, forcing a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that Emily Grossman recovered. Whisonant scored the Divas’ fourth straight unanswered touchdown, making a tough catch in the end zone for a 14-yard score. The Divas took their first lead of the game, 28-21, with 8:09 left. Whisonant finished the game with 56 yards receiving and a receiving touchdown to go along with her 31-yard touchdown run.

On the Militia’s next possession, Callie Brownson intercepted a Boston pass at midfield, giving the Divas the ball and a seven-point lead with under seven minutes remaining in the game. But the Divas then committed a rare miscue, fumbling the ball a minute later.

Given another opportunity, the Militia put together the offensive drive they needed. Stacey Tiamfook rushed for a one-yard touchdown, and Asia Landrum rushed for the two-point conversion to swing the score back in favor of Boston, 29-28.