Valiant effort

Canada plays valiantly in silver medal performance at 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds

Although the time of possession was fairly equal, the United States passing game would prove to be the difference in the gold medal game of the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds in Vantaa, Finland. The US would gain 367 yards through the air, compared to Canada’s 41 yards.

In the first quarter, the US set the tone early. On the first play of the game, Danielle Golay sacked Canadian quarterback Saadia Ashraf. The possession would end with minus 12 yards of offense as Aimee Kowalski punted.

Once the US regained the ball, Emma Hicks (the only woman to have played in the MWFL and WWCFL) would reply for Canada with a sack of US quarterback Sami Grisafe on their first possession. While the US would get a false start penalty on the next play, they would quickly regroup.

After two complete passes by Grisafe, Cassey Brick would have a 47-yard run. The possession would finish with runs by Odessa Jenkins and Mia Brickhouse (who scored on a 3-yard run) as the US jumped out to an 8-0 lead.

Overwhelmed by a punishing running attack, the Canadian defense was worn down. On their next possession, Jenkins would explode for a 42-yard run. Brickhouse would provide the US with their second touchdown in the first quarter as Canada faced a 16 point deficit.

Quarterback Sami Grisafe would connect with Jeanette Gray for the first scoring play of the second quarter. Of note, Grisafe and Gray are teammates with the Chicago Force of the Women’s Football Alliance. The drive consisted of 10 plays while consuming 77 yards.

The next possession for Canada consisted of three plays for minus one yards. Kowalski would be forced to punt again. In the first half, Canada would have three possessions with negative yardage.

Odessa Jenkins would add a rushing touchdown, while Grisafe would log a second touchdown pass with 2:01 left in the half. She connected with Adrienne Smith on a 73-yard touchdown pass.

With a 36-0 cushion at halftime, the US would not look back. Kicking off to the US to begin the second half, the US would keep Canada’s defense on the field for a 12 play drive that took five minutes and 41 seconds.

Grisafe would log 59 passing yards on the drive as she picked apart an overwhelmed Canadian defense. She would find Elizabeth Sowers (whose sister Katherine was named the Game MVP in the 107-7 semifinal win over Germnay) for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Once again, Canada would log negative yardage on a possession. Sacked by Knengi Martin, Ashraf was not able to generate any momentum on offense. Amy Mohr would punt to the US as opportunities to get back into the game were fading.

Karen Mulligan of the New York Sharks was now taking the snaps behind centre for the US. She would log four consecutive pass completions before Brickhouse would log her third touchdown run of the game with 2:15 remaining in the quarter. The US would extend their lead to a 50-0 margin.

On Canada’s next possession, Julie David logged 13 rushing yards, but Ashraf had two incomplete passes, including one on fourth down. With due deference to Canada, a quarterback change may have helped add a new dimension to offense.

In the fourth quarter, Brickhouse would scamper into the end zone on a two-yard run as the US scored on their first possession of the quarter. With Ashraf still at quarterback for Canada, she would be intercepted by Rachel Gore on the next possession. She was tackled immediately by Laurence Pontbriand.

Capitalizing on the turnover, Donna Wilkinson of the DC Divas scored the final touchdown of the game (and of the event) with a one-yard run on a drive that consumed 46 yards. The US emerged with the statistical advantage in every major offensive category.

Having logged 28 first downs (compared to seven for Canada), the US also accumulated an overwhelming 263 rushing yards and 367 passing yards. Canada only mustered 56 yards of offense while punting seven times.

Odessa Jenkins of the Dallas Diamonds would emerge as the leading rusher in the game with 84 yards, while Lya Jolicoeur led all Canadian rushers with a respectable 44-yard performance. Grisafe (who was named to the Tournament All-Star team) threw for 267 yards while Saadia Ashraf of the Montreal Blitz only managed 20 yards through the air.

Adrienne Smith had 117 receiving yards while Holly Peterson led all receivers with seven receptions for the US. The one statistical highlight for Canada was Julie David. The superstar for the Saskatoon Valkyries accumulated 134 all-purpose yards to pace all competitors in the contest.

Julie Paetsch, who came back from an injured knee to qualify for the Canadian team logged 11.5 tackles (including two for a loss) to lead all players in the contest. Marie-Noelle Beaulieu was second on the Canadian contingent with 5.5 tackles. Victoria Eddy was the leading tackler for the US with 6.5 stops.

Kimberly Grubb, an offensive lineman with the Montreal Blitz was the only Canadian on offense named to the Tournament All-Star Team. On defense, Julie Paetsch (who has also declared for the 2013 Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft) was named to the All-Star Team, while David was rightfully recognized as the Kickoff Returner for the All-Stars.

Photo credit:  Jari Turunen

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply