Some say that the #RoadToAtlanta started in preseason practices. But this is when it really heats up. Here’s your previews for the first round of the Women’s Football Alliance playoffs. Keep an eye on this page because more will be dribbling in as the games get closer. #WFAplayoffs, baby!
Orlando Anarchy Host The Derby City Dynamite
16 June 2018, 7PM
Trinity Prep, 5700 Trinity Prep Ln, Winter Park, FL 32792
By Derby City Dynamite Staff
This is the second time since 2014 that the Derby City Dynamite has made it to Women’s Football Alliance playoffs since joining the league and it will be the first time that Derby City will play the Orlando Anarchy. Fans can expect to see a “finesse vs power” game where the strength of Derby City’s running game will clash with Orlando’s smooth passing game. The matchup is akin to the New England Patriots vs the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Midwest-based Derby City uses it’s strong power running game with only 30 percent passing, however most Florida teams, and the Anarchy in particular, are a huge passing team. The Anarchy’s QB Chandice Hunter is a 1st team All-star for good reason — the majority of Orlando’s yards and touchdowns come from the passing game. This means that the game against Orlando will be a huge test on Derby City’s secondary.
The weather will be a huge factor in the game this weekend. While Derby City is accustomed to hot Kentucky weather, the Orlando humidity is a different factor. Additionally, the high in Orlando for Saturday is projected to be a sweltering 92 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms.
As Derby City enters the postseason, they are in a similar position as many other teams across the league: having lost players due to injury. In particular, the Dynamite’s standout All-American Safety LaEssence Houston Buckner, AKA E-Bomb, who is slowly recovering from an injury in the Atlanta game.
“I’m looking forward to standing next to my team as they bring that ship back home to the ‘ville,” LaEssence said.
This year Derby City has gone thru a lot of changes with its program, namely having our young Assistant Coach Thomas Jackson take the reins after the head coach retired. Coach Jackson presented the team with some fresh new ideas, and a whole new approach to coaching.
“His innovation has taken the team in a new direction and the results are evident,” said Derby City Owner Thelma Banks. “His motto for 2018 is #EARNIT, which he holds the players accountable to.”
The Derby City players have definitely put forth an effort to learn and perfect the sport this season and look forward to building a dynasty in the years to come.
“F.E.A.R has two meanings: Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise,” said veteran Nicole Lockett. “The choice is yours. The road to the ship may not be easy, but the end result will be worth it!”
Colorado Freeze Bringing Momentum and Heart to Postseason
Colorado Freeze v La Muerte Las Cruces
By Dominique Watts
With a lineup that may not look like a powerhouse upon first glance, it is the undeniable heart and culture of “never giving up” that fill the uniforms of the Colorado Freeze. Unfortunately for Las Cruces, the heart and soul of the Freeze will be on full display this Saturday as the Women’s Football Alliance rings the bell for round one of the 2018 playoffs.
The two teams are locked in a 1-1 tie this season as Las Cruces eeked out a two-point win in the first encounter and Colorado won handedly in the second meeting. The Freeze defense plans to use their heart, grit and speed to once again crumble the self-proclaimed wall of the Las Cruces offense.
“We believe in each other, and we have each others back,” says Offensive Coordinator Eric Jarmon. “I think the overall mindset is that we are focused. As far as the tie goes, I believe our team will take this opportunity to break that tie.”
Although ranked as the higher seed, the Freeze have not relinquished the feeling that they are the underdog and must fight for every game and every piece of respect.
“We are focused, I believe the team feels like they need to prove all the neigh-sayers wrong,” says Jarmon.
As round one begins, it is not lost on Freeze Nation the magnitude of this final rivalry showdown. It means more than breaking a tie. It means more than getting the best of a rival. It even means more than rewarding their fans with a playoff home game. They know the ultimate goal resides at the National Championship in Atlanta, and Las Cruces is the first team standing in the way.
“We’ve got the players who will take the field with us, the coaches who will lead us and the heart and determination to guide us,” says offensive and defensive lineman April Regas. “Losing is not an option at this point. All this hard work will not be for nothing. I trust my team, and together, we’re making it all the way. There’s nothing left to say.”
Columbus Vanguards (3-5) @ Richmond Black Widows (5-2)
June 16th, 2018, @ 6pm
Location: Short Pump Park, 3329 Pump Rd, Henrico, VA 23233
As the Columbus Vanguards take on a 10-hour road trip to meet the Richmond Black Widows hosted in Virginia for the first round of playoffs, they have a lot of time to think about how they will execute on the field. As a first-year team, the Vanguards are marching into uncharted territory. Not into the game of football or into a game filled with experienced players — they have had to face teams like that all season and the Vanguards rookies have learned so much from. Such as learning what it takes to execute as a team and learning that, no matter what, giving up is NEVER an option.
The Vanguards have learned the most valuable thing this season and that is “I got your back”!
What should the fans expect to see this game? Exactly that. The Vanguards are expecting to go out this Saturday and leave everything they have on the field. Due to injuries they have lost some key players but that will not stop them from playing their best “Iron women” football. They are striving to prove to not only themselves that they belong in this league. At one point, people thought that the Vanguards would not be able to form a team because they were coming from the smallest market city or that they would not being able to make it financially. But those sentiments have only motivated the players to give even more of themselves — and here we are in the playoffs.
The veterans of the Vanguards consist of Brittany Langley-Haworth, Angelita Furman, Tee Sanders, Ashley McDowell, Valerie Rios, Roni Parker, and Stephanie Leonard. The Vanguards are honored to have such great leadership from each and everyone of these veterans. Each one bringing something different to their players and the team. From the hard hits that come from Furman and McDowell to the guidance lead by Sanders, Rios and Langley all topped off with the spirit that comes from Parker and second-year player Leonard. They rookies couldn’t have a better combination of veteran players for new comers to look up to.
As the rookies are concerned, the position they are in this Saturday says it all. In the veterans’ many years of playing they have said on multiple occasions how they have never seen so much drive, dedication and heart come from a rookie squad. They are excited to see them grow within the sport of football and proud to be playing beside such a great team on the field.
The fans want something to look forward to? Look forward to seeing a team that has been underdogs since day one, now battle for the National Championship. The Vanguards know they are going up against a great team both offensively and defensively. The Vanguards defensive has made it hard for most teams to underestimate them. As the Vanguards offense goes, they have worked hard this week on executing their run plays and introducing some new looks. You will see the Vanguards take on new roles in this upcoming game.
As the Vanguards strive to become the D3 National Champions, we are honored to have played against some of the most talented and respected teams in the league. The Vanguards want to thank everyone that has supported and continues to support us throughout our first season and the teams that have had such great hospitality as they learn the ways of the Women’s Football Alliance.