Monthly Archives: December 2004
With women’s football spreading across the nation, there were not only more teams, but better quality teams. The 2004 season represented a strong challenge for the New York Sharks. Last season they came within 30 minutes of repeating as IWFL champions. If the Sharks were to win this year they were going to run a gauntlet of some of the best teams in the nation. New York’s schedule included 4 games against teams that went undefeated in 2003 and another game against a team that lost only once. Their oppponent’s 2003 winning percentage was a lofty .815.
To add to the difficulty was a new coaching staff for the Sharks. Coach Ruben Sanchez
Player-wise the Sharks were well stocked. Most of the eastern conference lost 2 veteran receivers returning players Kathy Holloman, a former University of Connecticut track star. Lori DeVivio Lynn Lewis Veronica Simmons Kim Bishop Dana Sparling Beth Nugent Lakisha Grant was back. former NWFA Shauna Seegers lost Cha Chi
The Sharks played their 2004 home games in Queens, New York at August Martin High School.
Click here for the 2004 Sharks statistics
|April 4th||Atlanta Xplosion||August Martin||28 – 21|
|April 17th||New Hampshire Freedom||August Martin||26 – 0|
|April 24th||Montreal Blitz||August Martin||20 – 0|
|May 8th||Chicago Force||at Chicago||6 – 2|
|May 15th||Bay State Warriors||August Martin||45 – 0|
|May 22nd||Chicago Force||August Martin||27 – 7|
|June 5th||Rhode Island Intensity||at Rhode Island||41 – 16|
|June 12th||Bay State Warriors||at Bay State||35 – 0|
|Eastern Conference Wildcard Game|
|June 26th||Chicago Force||August Martin||40 – 0|
|Eastern Conference Championship Game|
|July 10th||Tampa Bay Terminators||August Martin||29 – 7|
|IWFL Championship Game|
|July 12th||Sacramento Sirens||at Sacramento||27 – 29|
(Click on the score to read the game write-up)
|2004 IWFL Final Standings|
|Mid Atlantic Division|
|p-New York Sharks||8||0||0||1.000|
|New Hampshire Freedom||4||3||1||.563|
|North Atlantic Division|
|Bay State Warriors||0||8||0||.000|
|South Atlantic Division|
|p-Tampa Bay Terminators||6||2||0||.750|
|Pacific Northwest Division|
|Pacific West Division|
|San Francisco Stingrayz||6||2||0||.750|
|Santa Rosa Scorchers||2||6||0||.250|
|San Diego Seacatz||3||5||0||.375|
|Jacksonville Dixie Blues||7||1||0||.857|
|Rhode Island Intensity||3||4||0||.429|
|Southern Maine Rebels||2||4||1||.357|
|Des Moines Courage||1||4||0||.200|
f-folded from league
|IWFL Eastern Conference|
|New Hampshire Freedom|
|New York Sharks|
|Tampa Bay Terminators|
|IWFL Western Conference|
|San Diego Seacatz|
|San Francisco Stingrayz|
|Santa Rosa Scorchers|
|Rhode Island Intensity|
Medford, Massachusetts, June 12, 2004
Nothing was on the line except for pride and a few records as the New York Sharks (8-0) traveled back to New England to take on the Bay State Warriors (0-8) in the last game of the regular season. New York had already clinched the top seed in the playoffs last week in Rhode Island, but the Sharks were looking for their third consecutive season of going undefeated in the regular season.
It was a beautiful afternoon in Massachusetts. The skies were clear and the temperature was in the low 70’s.
The Sharks started off by winning the coin toss and quickly went to work. Starting at mid-field, New York quickly moved down the field with a mixture of running and passing plays. The Sharks had moved the ball all the way down to the Bay State 9-yard line when a pitchout was fumbled and the Warriors recovered the ball. Bay State had dodged the bullet but it wasn’t long before the next bullet came their way.
The Warriors were able to move the ball to their own 30-yard line. Most of the yards coming when quarterback Robin Mazen ran to her right downfield for 5-yards and then lateraled the ball back to running back Nikki Valila who picked up another 15 more yards. But on the next play, Veronica “Vicious” Simmons broke through the line and sacked Mazen for an 8-yard loss. Things got worse when Bay State fumbled the handoff and the Sharks recovered the ball on the Warrior’s 20-yard line.
The game was marked with numerous fumbles, mainly by the Warriors who lost 5 fumbles in the game.
New York did not squander this opportunity. Quarterback Val Halesworth was in fine form as she was near perfect in the game completing 11 of 13 pass attempts for 120 yards. By the end of the day, Halesworth had thrown for over 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year. A feat not performed by any IWFL player. On this drive, she connected twice before hitting receiver Jen Blum in the endzone with a 5-yard pass. The Sharks went for the 2-point conversion and Halesworth hit Missy Marmorale at the 2-yard line who then pushed her way into the endzone. This gave New York an early 8-0 lead with 8:17 left in the first quarter.
It wasn’t long before New York struck again. The Warriors fumbled the ball on their second play in the next drive. The ball was recoverd by Michelle Brown on Bay State’s 27-yard line. After a Bay State off-sides penalty, Halesworth found receiver Lori DeVivio for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Place kicker Nikki Gwinnett kicked the extra point and extended the Sharks lead to 15-0 with 7:14 left in the quarter.
It was deja vu all over again as the Warriors fumbled the ball on the second play of their next drive. This time Darleen “Blue” Hall recovered the ball on Bay State’s 31-yard line. It only took one play for New York to visit the endzone again as Marmorale smashed her way through for a 31-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, but it was now 21-0 with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
New York was not yet finished scoring in the first quarter. After forcing Bay State to go three and out, the Sharks started their next drive on the Warrior’s 41-yard line. It started with a Marmorale 11-yard run and then a 20-yard pass to Blum anad a 5-yard pass to Dana Sparling. The remaining 5 yards to the endzone was picked up by Halesworth herself with 59 seconds left in the quarter. On the extra point attempt, the snap went awry and Halesworth as the holder quickly picked up the ball and started looking into the endzone. She found Marmorale and threw to her for 2 more points. The score was now a very comfortable 29-0 lead.
With the game firmly in New York’s control, the Sharks started to substitute a lot for their starters. As the first half was coming to a close, the Sharks scored their last touchdown of the day. Andra Douglas was in as quarterback and moved the Sharks 38 yards in 3 plays for the touchdown. The scoring play came on a 3-yard pass to Sparling in the back of the endzone. It was Sparling’s first career touchdown pass and she threw the ball up into the air in celebration.
In the second half, the Sharks defense continued to clamp down sharply on the Warriors. Bay State gained only 32 yards in the second half and only 70 for the whole game. New York’s offense threatened once more but got stalled at the Warrior’s 3-yard line because of penalties. The Sharks did get in to the endzone on a spectacular playground play. Douglas handed the ball off to running back Teresa Schirrippa who quickly saw a wall of Warriors in front of her. She quickly turned around and pitched the ball back to Douglas who then spotted DeVivio streaking down the left sidelline and hit the receiver in stride with a 42-yard strike. Unfortunately, the Sharks had an ineligible man downfield and the play was called back.
When the game ended, the Sharks not only had their third straight undefeated regular season, but extended their regular season winning streak to 29-games over 4 years. Game balls were given out to Sparling for her first career touchdown and to Brown for her defensive prowess.
The game not only marked the end of the regular season, it also marked the end of the career for Bay State’s Laurie “Lou” Kelly. Kelly has been playing women’s tackle football for 5 years but announced her decision to leave as a player before the start of the game. She was presented with a signed jersey by the Warrior’s at the end of the game.
The Sharks now start preparation for the playoffs as they will host the wildcard Chicago Force on June 26th. Game time is 5pm at August Martin High School. Tickets are available, but if you cannot make it to the park, you can hear all the exciting football action on our flagship radio station, KEDU-FM.
|New York Sharks||29||6||6||0||35|
|Bay State Warriors||0||0||0||0||0|
NY – (08:17) Blum 5 yard pass from Halesworth (Marmorale pass from Halesworth)
NY – (07:14) DeVivio 22 yard pass from Halesworth (Gwinnett kick)
NY – (06:08) Marmorale 31 yard run (pass failed)
NY – (00:59) Halesworth 5 yard run (Marmorale pass from Halesworth)
NY – (02:00) Sparling 3 yard pass from Douglas (kick failed)
Owner/Quarterback Andra Douglas Is Doing Everything She Can to Keep Her Dream Alive
Andra Douglas has always lovedfootball – but not just from the bleachers.
Named the Professional Female Athlete of 2004 by the Nassau CountySports Commission, she plays quarterback for the New York Sharks, thedefending Independent Women¹s Football League (IWFL) Eastern Conference Champions.
Other New York athletes to be honored with her at the annual event include basketball great Julius Erving, former Jetsquarterback and current sportscaster Boomer Esiason, Rangers Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert, and journalist Frank Deford.
Douglas also owns and manages the Sharks. Four years ago, when the IWFL was formed, all the teams from the previous league were up for sale. No onewanted to purchase the Sharks, so at the last minute Douglas decided she would. She cashed in her 401(k) and paid $20,000 to keep the Sharks alive.
“I just wanted to keep playing. It was our passion; we didn¹t want our dream of tackle football disappearingin front of our eyes,” Douglas said.
Even though she is the team owner, Douglas does not live the imagined glamorous life of schmoozing withcelebrities and ducking the paparazzi¹s cameras. With help from her staff of two, she does everything that is neededto ensure the smooth running of the team, including handling the 42 members’ different personalities.
“I don¹t know how she does it. She manages to carry a lot of hats at the same time but she keeps it all together,” said head coach Ruben Sanchez.
Sanchez describes Douglas¹s style as a mixture of firmness, compassion, and working closely with the girls both on and off the field.
“Andra is fantastic. As an athlete,she is all-around and she supports everyone else when they need her,” said Vivian Alberty, a center who wasa former Olympic diver.
Apart from running the team on a day-to-day basis, Douglas makes practicethree times a week while maintaining herfull-time career as a creative consultant.
“Somehow you make time for the things you love,² she said.
Owning a team these last four years has given Douglas a chance to test herentrepreneurial skills; for her it is just a smidgeon of the overall benefit of beinga sportswoman.
“My mom used to tell me, ‘Don¹t takea backseat to anyone,’ but not until I participatedin sports was I able to put that in action,” said Douglas, who is also aformer executive at Time Warner.
By forming Fins Up! – a foundationfor female athletes that promotes women and girls in competitive teamsports – Douglas hopes to pass on the confidence and sense of self she gainedas a result of participating in sports.
“I really want to do this for the kids coming up and for the women today,” she said, remembering having to playon boys teams because there was no other option. “We should not be competing against men. We should haveour own teams; we are different animals,” she added.
Douglas hopes to introduce new programs at Fins Up! including coach-ing and refereeing seminars, and to collaborate more with other women¹s organizations.
Sanchez praises Douglas¹s managing style, which has included hiring veteran coaches to fully staff the offense and de-fense. He is looking forward to the team¹s performance this coming season, which runs from April through July.
“We have a good combination of players. Our defense is very solid, and offensively we¹re going to be explosive,” he said.
The team is welcoming the return of running back Lakisha Grant, who was outlast season after tearing a ligament in her knee. Grant is a strong, fast runner who is expected to have a major impact on the team¹s overall performance.
Douglas will receive her honor on April 19 at a dinner at the Chateau Briand on Long Island.
“I¹m very flattered and honored to be receiving the award,” Douglas said.”Women have to work way too hard to get acknowledgment in the sports fieldand it just means a lot.”
by Wendy Mbekelu from New York Resident