Monthly Archives: November 2002
Queens, New York, May 11, 2002
At 3pm, it was a beautiful day for a football game. The sun was in the air, the temperature a mild 65 degrees, and a slight breeze blew across the field. The Sharks were practicing on the field, the fans were filling up the stands, hamburgers and hot dogs were grilling on the barbecue, and the band From the Desk of Sally was entertaining the crowd. The only problem was the Detroit Blaze were nowhere to be seen.
After waiting some tense minutes, the Blaze had arrived. They came 30 minutes after the announced kick-off time. Their tardiness was due to New York’s famous traffic. The day never got any better for the team from Motown.
The Detroit Blaze were playing their first ever football game. They are an exhibition team in the IWFL this season with plans to join the league as a regular team next year. They will be using this year to get their team some experience as they play only a handful of games. In this game, the New York Sharks handed them an education they won’t soon forget.
The game started off quite normally with the Blaze receiving the kick-off and started from their own 15-yard line. But after 4 plays and the help of a Detroit penalty, the Sharks forced the Blaze to punt. The punt only went 6 yards, giving New York the ball at Detroit’s 16-yard line. Three plays later Val “Peanut” Monaco caught an 11-yard pass from Val Halesworth for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was good as Courtney Eaton ran the ball in to give the Sharks an 8-0 lead.
On Detroit’s next posession they fumbled the ball on their own 27-yard line. On the very next play the Sharks scored their second touchdown on a pass from Halesworth to Monaco. Eaton ran it in again for 2 points to stretch the lead 16-0.
It was deja vue all over again as Detroit fumbled on their next posession at their own 47-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Liz “Magic” Presto caught a 12-yard pass from Halesworth for a touchdown, Eaton ran in the 2-point conversion and suddently the score was 24-0 and the rout was on.
Guess what happened on Detroit’s next posession? The Blaze fumbled the ball on their own 18-yard line and this time Monica Marsh caught a touchdown pass from Halesworth. Marsh then ran in the two-point conversion and the score was 32-0 before the first quarter was over.
The second quarter didn’t get any better. Detroit was able to hold onto the ball for a series of downs…kind of. The Blaze were forced to punt after moving the ball for -2 yards in this series. The snap of the ball was fumbled and recovered by New York, but it was called back on a penalty by the Sharks. Gambling with the ball on their own 35-yard line, Detroit went for it on fourth down. New York stopped them and then on the very next play, Halesworth threw to Eaton for a 24 yard gain. This happened to be the only pass Halesworth threw that did not result in a touchdown. New York kept to the air and on the next play Lori DeVivio caught an 11-yard pass from Halesworth for another New York touchdown. Monaco kicked the extra point and the score was now 39-0 with 13:37 left to play in the half.
New York’s Missy Marmorale started Detroit’s next series with a quarterback sack, this pushed the Blaze back to their 10-yard line. Detroit then fumbled again with the Sharks recovering the ball at the 14-yard line. This time Andra Douglas came in as quarterback and she quickly handed the ball off to Darleen “Blue” Hall. Hall scampered for 13-yards, being stopped at about the 1-foot line. It was a very nice run breaking tackles and including a leap in the air to avoid two tacklers. Douglas then punched the ball in from the 1-yard line on a quarterback sneak. Monaco kicked the extra point to make the score 46-0.
On Detroit’s next series, they were able to hold on to the ball but were moving in the opposite direction. When the Sharks got the ball back, they kept their attack on the ground and scored when Virginia “Cha Chi” Leon scored from the 3-yard line. Monaco kicked her third extra point to make the score 53-0 with 1:04 left in the half.
In the second half, most of the Shark’s regulars were sitting on the bench or playing their third or fourth position on the team. The half started with the Blaze kicking off to the Sharks. Detroit got a good kick that bounced along the sideline. Instead of it going out of bounds, New York was forced to field the ball on their own 14-yard line. For the first time all day, New York had the ball deep in their own territory. On first down, the ball was handed off to Hall who ran for 8-yards. Then on the next play, Presto was given the ball and she ran it back all the way for a 78-yard touchdown run. Monaco missed the extra point and the score was now 59-0.
In the fourth quarter, following a Sharks interception by Kellie Eckstein, the Sharks scored their franchise record setting ninth touchdown. It was on a 2-yard run by fourth-string quarterback Janet Chichester. New York then converted the two-point play on a busted extra point kick try. Halesworth connected to Presto to make the score 67-0.
To add insult to injury, on the very last play of the game, Detroit attempted a pass from their own 40-yard line. DeVivio intercepted the pass and ran it back for the Sharks record-setting 10th touchdown of the game and her second touchdown of the game. This made the final score 73-0.
Detroit came out of the game almost lucky to be alive. They played with a very small roster of only 23 players and had only practiced in full gear for less than a week. It looked like many of their players were not prepared to be tackled by some of the fierce but clean hits made by the Sharks defense. Quite a few times New York’s trainers ran on to the field to look over a few Detroit players after they had been popped by a Shark. Also many of their players had to play offense and defense and that took a heavy toll on them too.
The domination of the Sharks was complete as they scored every time they had the ball. At no point did the Sharks ever have to punt. New York successfully turned 6 Detroit turnovers (4 fumbles and 2 interceptions) into touchdowns. Quarterback Halesworth was 6 for 6 passing for 103 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The game balls were given to the defense for their second straight shutout, to Lori DeVivio for her two touchdowns (one on offense and one on defense), and the other to Anna “Tonka” Tate for creating holes on the offensive line.
Lakisha Grant who had season-ending surgery performed on her left leg after being injured during the second game of the season was at the game today. She was introduced during half time and she waved to the crowd from her wheelchair. Joining the team for the rest of the season is last year’s running sensation Kathy Holloman. Holloman who is one of the Shark’s all-time scoring leaders had missed the first 2 games dues to previous committments.
The first place Sharks leave the country next week for their first road game of the season as they take on the Montreal Blitz in Canada on Saturday, May 18th. This game will be an important test as Montreal is battling with the Sharks for a playoff spot in the eastern division. It should also be a tough game as the Sharks will be on a bus for 8 hours before they take on the Blitz.