Sunday, July 31, 2005
Toledo 'Reigns' over Indiana
By Dave Herndon
Toledo won everything Saturday night. They won the opening coin toss, then they again won the coin toss in overtime, and as time expired they won the most important thing. They won the game.
The Toledo Reign hosted to Indiana Speed at Bedford Community Stadium, in Temperance MI, to open the WPFL season. The game was extremely hard fought by both teams.
“That was one of the best games that we have ever played. These two teams were so evenly matched it was really just about who wanted it more,” said Reign head coach Mitchi Collette.
Indiana opened the game’s scoring when Rochelle Wolf threw a strike to Virginia Hicks for a 54-yard touchdown. The Speed failed to make the 2-point conversion, but lead 6-0 with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter.
It was Indiana again midway through the second quarter, as Kiva Thomas scored from two yard’s out. Indiana put in the 2-point conversion and led 14-0.
“I was worried at that point. But then a little bird in my head reminded me that we were down 20 to this team last season and came back, so I didn’t panic,” Colette said.
With things looking dismal for the Reign, Leslie Keane turned her game up a notch. She scored a touchdown from 39 yards out, and then took in the 2-point conversion attempt, to pull the Reign to within 14-8. At that point only 2:16 remained in the half.
An Indiana turnover gave Toledo the ball back with time to run just a few plays. That’s when Maranda Carpenter threw a bullet right down the middle of the field to Chris Wolcott. The play resulted in a 40-yard td pass. Toledo missed the point after, but had managed to tie the game at 14 all with just 33 seconds left in the half. The teams traded interceptions on the first two plays after the kick-off and the half ended with Indiana taking a knee.
Toledo struck first in the second half when Keane again shook the defenders out of their cleats and broke through for a 69-yard td run to put Toledo up 20-14 after a failed point after attempt. The score would remain that way until 2:59 was left in the game. That’s when Indiana’s Kiva Thomas struck again, this time from three yards out. The Speed missed the kick and the game remained tied. After a blocked punt, Indiana had a chance to win the game. With just two seconds left in regulation the Speed opted to attempt a 32-yard field goal, which again went wide left.
After a short review of the rulebook, a 15-minute, sudden death overtime began. The WPFL uses NFL rules, the rule for overtime--during the regular season--states that one 15-minute overtime will be played; if the teams are still tied the game will be declared a tie. The teams traded possessions for nearly the entire period.
With 17 seconds left in the overtime it appeared that the teams would be forced to settle for a tie. All that was left to do was punt the ball away, and then the game would be over. However, Leslie Keane had another idea. She evaded every defender, running 56 yards for the game winning touchdown. The teams had played to a tie for 74:50 before Keane ended the game, a 26-20 Toledo victory.
“This was the best way to end the game. This will be a huge moral booster for the team because we have never won the season opener before,” said lineman Beth “Tank” Miller.
“I’ve been told a tie is like kissing your sister, and we didn’t come here for that,” Collette said. “We wanted it bad. Hopefully this will set the season’s momentum.”
“This was my first chance to see a WPFL game. They all, both teams showed that football is football; as long as the team has players that play with intensity,” said Bobby Howard.
Keane was named both offensive and defensive player of the game for the Reign. She rushed for 164 yards, had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. She had three touchdown’s on the day. The Speed’s offensive player of the game was Kiva Thomas who had two touchdown’s and 126 yards on the ground. Indiana’s defensive player of the game was Molly McKeown, who had 10 tackles and an interception.
“I don’t know where Keane got the energy from on that last play. She was totally exhausted when she went out on the field,” Collette said.
Toledo had 11 first downs, Indiana had 12. The Speed completed twelve passes, threw three interceptions and ended up with 205 yards in the air. Toledo completed just a single pass for 0 yards and was picked off twice. Toledo out gained Indiana 283 yards to 103 yards on the ground. Toledo fumbled six times, but only lost one, while Indiana fumbled three times, losing all of them. Indiana was penalized five times for 35 yards; Toledo was penalized seven times for 45 yards. There were nine punts in the game, Toledo punted five times (17.2 avg), and Indiana was forced to punt four times (17.6 avg).
For more information, please contact Thee Toledo Reign at 419-654-5799 or email: TheeToledoReign@aol.com.