East County Sports

Surge swelter against Elite heat

WFA American Conference Championship Game

San Diego Surge (9-2) 28 @ Dallas Elite (11-0) 56

With a game-time temperature into the mid-90s, both teams knew Saturday night’s WFA American Conference Championship game would be grueling test.

But only San Diego was feeling the pain in the second half.

The Surge and Elite traded their best blows in a 22-22 first-half tie, but Dallas had the wherewithal of a home-field climate to take the wind out of San Diego’s sail. The Surge were able to sustain the pace into the third quarter before the hosts overwhelmed San Diego in the fourth quarter.

In the second half, the Elite started at the San Diego 47 following a good return. Dallas converted a fourth down to move to the Surge 36. Odessa Jenkins then broke up the middle to get to the San Diego 19, the followed with a pair of runs to set up a first-and-goal. Jenkins then closed the drive with a touchdown run with 9:54 left in the third quarter.

A two-point conversation attempt failed, as Dallas led 28-22.

San Diego started the ensuing drive at the Dallas 49 after good good return.

San Diego’s Melissa Gallegos completed a pass and receiver Kaycee Clark made a tremendous leaping catch for a first down inside the Dallas 25-yard line. However, Dallas’ defense forced a turnover on downs.

On the ensuing drive, Dallas appeared to turn a fourth-down conversion attempt with two yards to go into a long touchdown run, but the 52-yard play was called back by a penalty. After a quick-kick, San Diego ended up with possession at its own 40.

San Diego’s Ashley Moody caught a sharp pass from Gallegos on a slant route to pick up a first down on a third-and-long play into Dallas territory at the 42. The Elite would stop San Diego, however, forcing a punt.

The Elite quickly converted the change of possession into a touchdown, taking a 34-22 lead with 11:06 left in the game.

Dallas moved into position for another score shortly thereafter, moving down to the 16-yard line with 9:04 left in the fourth. Dallas’ Jenkins rushed to the right pylon for a score, making it 40-22 Dallas.

The Elite forced another fumble on the next possession, recovering at the San Diego 36. Jenkins scored a on run up the middle on the next play, to put the Elite ahead, 46-22. Dallas passes for the conversion, extending the the lead to 48-22.

An interception on the ensuing drive virtually sealed San Diego’s fate, as Dallas took over at the SD 10. Jenkins scored another touchdown.

Earlier in the second half, Dallas’ Brittany Satterwhite limped off the field with an apparent leg injury on the opening series of the opening series. However, she appeared to strike diamonds with a long touchdown scamper on a sweep down the left side, but a penalty brought the apparent score back. It was the third Dallas TD nullified by a penalty in the third quarter alone.

San Diego recorded an interception on the first play of the first quarter to take over the the Dallas 46, but Dallas’ defense overwhelmed the Surge on the series, forcing a punt.

The Surge started the game with the ball and scored on the opening drive with Deanna Guidry scoring a TD.  San Diego held Dallas on its first drive and got the ball back .

Clark scored a touchdown for San Diego to make it 14-8 with 12:50 left in the second quarter.

Dallas returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but a holding penalty negated the runback.

In the second quarter, Dallas sacked San Diego quarterback Gallegos. It was the first sack the Surge had suffered the entire season. San Diego’s Alexis Snider also was knocked from the game momentarily following a hard-contact play.
Dallas put together a drive with under five minutes left in the first half, but the Surge defense, along with a penalty stalled the effort. However, the Elite score a 15-yard touchdown. Dallas made a two-point conversion for a 16-14 lead with under three minutes left in the first half.
San Diego turned the ball over on the ensuing kickoff. The Elite converted the miscue into a score in the final minute of the first half.
San Diego’s two-minute drive was converted for a touchdown from 12 yards out by Guidry. The Surge went for two with Gallegos completing the pass for the conversion with 2.9 seconds left before halftime, tying the game, 22-22.
The game was played at Alfred J. Lowe Stadium’ Kedric Couch Field.

The reigning champion San Diego Surge will travel to meet the upstart Dallas Elite for the American Conference championship.  Because this is the Elite’s first season, these two teams have technically never met. But San Diego and Dallas are very familiar with each other, as these two cities have a women’s football history that dates back to when the Dallas Diamonds battled the So Cal Scorpions.

This will be the fifth straight season in which the American Conference champion comes from San Diego or Dallas. The Surge defeated the Diamonds en route to conference titles in 2011 and 2012. The only year the Surge have failed to win the conference championship was in 2013, when the Diamonds took the crown.

The Elite are looking to bring a sixth conference championship to the city of Dallas. Their predecessors, the Dallas Diamonds, played in the 2013 WFA national championship game before folding, and after a one-year absence, the Elite have brought women’s football back to prominence in Dallas. The Elite are now one win away from returning a Dallas team to the WFA championship game in their first year of existence.

The San Diego Surge are seeking their fourth American Conference championship in five years. They are undefeated in three previous conference title game appearances, but this will be the first time they have had to play for a conference championship on the road. They look to make their fourth appearance in the WFA national championship game that they won in 2012. – www.nealrosendaal.com


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