Fighting Fillies see final drive come up short
A holding penalty stalls out the teams last comeback chance in 20-14 loss to the Portland Shockwave
The Portland Fighting Fillies were a few first downs away from scoring the winning touchdown Saturday night when Portland Shockwave linebacker Leah Hinkle lowered her shoulder and brought the come back to a shattering stop.
Trailing 20-14, the Fillies took possession at their own 36-yard line with 5:38 on the clock. It was make or break time.
The Fillies moved the chains on solid back-to-back runs through the middle by C.J. Wilson before a holding penalty stalled the team out at midfield. Quarterback Cassie Dunsire pulled down the ball on 3rd-and-12 and sprinted around the edge before getting knocked out of bounds five yards short of the marker.
Facing 4th-and-5, Dunsire took a quick three-step drop with her eyes downfield before giving the ball up on a delayed hand-off. Wilson charged through the middle a few strides before running into a brick wall. Hinkle wasnt fooled by the deception and had anchored herself in the middle of the field, lowering a shoulder into the ball carrier and burying her into the turf two yards short of the first down.
We had to keep our wits about us and make the right reads stay home, stay disciplined, Hinkle said. We were definitely feeling the pressure to make a stop.
The Shockwave took over and ran out the clock when QB Veronica Ferguson used a hard count to draw the Fillies offsides on 4th-and-1. Running back Rebecca Dawson set up the short fourth-down chance with a 13-yard scamper around the left side on the previous play.
The Shockwave (1-1) is off next week before travelling to Tacoma (0-2) on April 26. The Fillies (1-1) play at Tacoma this coming Saturday.
The Shockwave got off to a quick lead after finding the end zone on its opening drive. Tess Bair hauled in a 14-yard catch over the middle on 3rd-and-2, and Dawson followed with a 15-yard run around the left side. The drive continued with Keky Duren powering through the middle for 10 yards to convert a 3rd-and-7. The team called Durens number twice more to plunge over the goal line.
The Shockwave was on the move again moments later after kicker Michelle Petty looped the ensuing kickoff into a hole in the Fillies coverage 30 yards downfield. Teammate Nicole Vilarino rushed onto the scene and beat two purple shirts to the ball, sliding to the turf to recover it while being careful to stay inbounds.
I saw it bouncing on the field and went all out to get there, Vilarino said. That was a momentum changer. I gave us the field position to go in and score again.
Ferguson turned the play into points when she kept the ball around the left side for 3 yards on a 3rd-and-goal play.
The Shockwave were up 14-0 before the Fillies had the chance to hike the ball.
The Fillies tried to answer by driving to the 5-yard line before Shockwave tackle Crystal Steinmueller met the ball-carrier at the line and knocked her back to stop the Fillies on 4th-and-1.
The Fillies would get onto the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Erin Miller cut through the middle of the field to pick off a pass on 4th-and-12. She never broke stride on her way 28 yards to the end zone.
The Shockwave answered with a length-of-the-field drive that took almost 10 minutes off the clock. Dawson carried most of the load and plunged in from 1-yard out to give her team a 20-7 halftime lead.
When you come out and run right at somebody it forces them to make adjustments and its a slap in the face when youre able to run it like that, Dawson said.
She finished with 29 carries for 151 yards, highlighted by a long-gain of 23 yards in the first half.
The Fillies got back within striking distance early in the fourth quarter after escaping a difficult 3rd-and-20 jam. Dunsire found Ashley Kondziela for 14 yards over the middle, setting the stage for a manageable fourth-down, which Dunsire picked up with a 12-yard scramble around the left side.
Latasha Mitchell followed with an 11-yard burst around the left side, setting Dunsire up for a keeper through the middle to bring the Fillies within six points with 10:37 to play.
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