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Category Archives: LFL

LFL Update: 8-20-17 Western Conference Playoff

And when the dust cleared, the Seattle Mist had reaffirmed their status as the best in the West …. 28-13 over The LA Temptation … and move on to play the surprise winner from the Eastern Conference game, the Atlanta Steam…

After the much anticipated Sunday, August 20th playoff battle between LA and Seattle, there was little doubt that the Mist will be worthy representatives of the Western Conference in this year’s LFL Title game. Coach Michaelson’s talented team did what they had to do, taking control against Tui’s Temptation from the outset and never really taking their foot off of the gas pedal in a hard fought 28-13 victory.
In a decisive first quarter, Seattle jumped out to a 12-0 lead, on the strength of some nifty QB play from KK Matheny and some typically hard running from Stevi “The Bull” Schnoor. Matheny would methodically lead Seattle down the first on its opening drive, culminating with a 4 yard pass to Shea Norton, and the margin swelled to 12 when Schoor plowed in from 4 yards out. Meanwhile, LA sputtered with a costly interception and incompletions from QB Ashley Salerno. The Temptation also seemed unwilling, or unable, to establish a potent running game, a trend that would continue for much of the game.

The situation for LA only got worse in the second quarter, as Seattle used a short field, after a stalled Temptation drive, to push its advantage to 20-0. Schnoor continued to run hard, and effectively, and Matheny capped things off with a short TD pass to Jade Randle. It was at this point that the Temptation offense finally got untracked, as Salerno led her team on a long, impressive scoring drive, culminating with a short TD run by Carmen Bourseau. And after an interception by Lily Granson late in the quarter, LA had a chance to cut into the Seattle advantage even more; unfortunately for the Temptation, it ran out of time on the next drive, with the half ending on a completed pass to the Seattle 16.

In the second half, things continued to tighten as Salerno stayed hot, completing a 30 yard pass to Bourseau and later, a huge 45 yard TD pass to Kiara Patterson. Particularly impressive was Salerno’s ability on this drive to overcome adversity, including rushing losses, a penalty, a sack and a fumble. However, with the Seattle lead now cut to 20-13, Matheny immediately responded, hitting Randle for a 35-yard TD. Seattle’s defense then took over, stopping Bourseau dead in her tracks at the Mist 2 yard line.

During the fourth quarter, LA’s defense game Coach Tui’s squad a glimmer of hope, with Megan Hanson’s big interception of Matheny deep in LA territory. Unfortunately for LA, there would be no capitalizing on this turnover, as a Temptation drive stalled on the Seattle 20. And with only 2 minutes left in the game, it was what else but more Schnoor, as the forceful fullback simply ran out the clock.

All in all, this was a very hard hitting, competitive game, with the result turning on the superior execution of Matheny and Schnoor, as well as a monster performance on defense by Randle (11 solo tackles and 1 sack) (not to mention her contributions on offense). Give LA credit for keeping the game very competitive, including some tenacious defense from Granston (8 tackles) and Hanson (6 tackles) and a solid game from Salerno. However, the Temptation never could get their bread and butter running game in gear (only 29 yards from Bourseau).

Coach Tui aptly summed things up, commenting “We struggled throughout to find our stride with the ground game, and on defense, we never really took control of the line of scrimmage … two things that really defined our team all year. Give Seattle credit, because they did what they had to do to keep us uncomfortable and just a bit off balance. Hats off to Coach Michaelson and the Mist for playing a great game.”

Brandon Chabner, ChabDog Sports Blog, LFL

Categories: LFL

Temptation emerge victorious in gut check win over a tough Steam team …

Last Saturday night’s game against Atlanta had zero to say to about playoff positioning, but certainly gave the victorious Temptation a big psychological boost going into their seemingly annual war with the Seattle Mist.The game was a brutal defensive struggle during the 1st quarter, as neither team could score, despite some effective running from both teams, particularly Carmen Bourseau of the LA and Brittany Demery of Atlanta.  Long drives for both teams were derailed by turnovers, including a well timed INT by Delaney Hall at the LA 2, and an Ashley Salerno rumble just one yard from the end zone.

In second quarter, Atlanta finally broke through as QB Dakota Hughes took her team down the field, mixing a few short passes with effective runs from Jessie Locklear.   LA tried to counter, but a nice drive utlimately ended with another turnover … this time with a Salerno interception at the Atlanta 9.  LA defense would rise to the occasion and hold, and the 2nd quarter ended 7-0 Atlanta.

In the third quarter, the Steam extended their lead to 14-0 right out of the gate, with effective running and passing from QB Hughes, who marched Atlanta methodically down the field, culminating with a 3 yard Hughes scamper into the end zone.  LA got the ball back with under 3 minutes left in the quarter, and after some tough running from Boursea brought the ball into Atlanta territory with time running out in the quarter.

That set the stage for an eventful 4th quarter, in which the visitors made all the plays, en route to a stirring comeback.  Megan Hanson came up with a huge 13 yard reception, bringing the ball to the Atlanta one, and then Salerno took it in from there, making the score a more manageable 14-7.   And on Atlanta’s next play, Hanson continued to take matters into her own hands … this time on defense … as she caused a Demery fumble and then made the recovery at the Atlanta 20.  Salerno then connected for 18 to Bourseau, who showed she is indeed a multi-faceted runner, and fro there, Salerno took the rock across the goal line, tying the game at 14. After another Atlanta drive stalled, LA went in for the kill, with more power running by Bourseau, along with a 12-yard pick up by Cynthia Schmidt, and yet another Ashley Salerno touchdown.  After another Steam drive stalled, LA ran out the clock for a very gratifying comeback win.

Said Coach Tui, “in a shorthanded situation against a very tough opponent, we showed what we were made of, and never gave up.  This team is too tough to go down without a fight, and I think that attitude will serve us well in what will be a war of attrition against the Mist in round 1 of the playoffs.  Hats off to Bourseau and Salerno, who really got the job done on the ground, and to our very formidable defense, which kept the game close and gave our offense time to get its act together.  We had huge games from a number of defenders, particular Megan and Chelsey, and we’ll definitely need this to continue in the playoffs.”


Categories: LFL

LA Temptation Ruthlessly Steamroll Austin Acoustic …

LFL Update:

LA Temptation Ruthlessly Steamroll Austin Acoustic —

The LA Temptation showed by why they must be considered serious contenders for this season’s LFL title, with an impressive 56-28 shellacking of the Austin Acoustic at Cedar Park in Austin. The tone was set early on when Kiara Takairangi ran wild with an 11-yard TD fumble recovery. After Atlanta countered with a TD pass, LA came right back with a TD pass from Kiara Patterson to Sherri Awagah.
Late in the second quarter, LA stretched its lead when QB Ashley Salerno took control, burning through the Austin defense on the ground, and ultimately taking the ball into the end zone on a 3rd TD run. Throughout the first half, and for the whole game for that matter, LA stopped Austin dead in its tracks on the ground, and the first half ended with the Temptation in control, 21 to 6.

After halftime, Salerno resumed her efficient play, mixing passes to Awagah, Cynthia Schmidt and running back Carmen Bourseau, with effective running of her own, capped off by a 10 yard scoring run that made the score 28-6. On their next drive, the Acoustic did respond, with QB Teshay Winfrey finding Brenda Lyn for the TD. However, LA quickly and forcefully countered, with some big runs by battering ram Bourseau and a nice 9-yard TD from Salerno to Schmidt. The exclamation point on LA’s body blow to the Austin midsection was punctuated by Tiyuan Anderson’s demoralizing sack/safety of Teshay.

Early in the 4th quarter, LA crushed all Acoustic hopes when the Salerno-Bourseau combination moved through the Austin ground defense like a knife through butter. It was 43-14 faster than you could say blueberry pancakes, and for the remainder of the game the teams traded two more touchdowns apiece.

What this game shows is that LA is a formidable, physical team, with a noticeable chip on its shoulder, and the results are some great football. Austin showed some weapons, but what success they had through the air was obscured and lost in the thorough beating they took at the line of scrimmage, where LA had their way all game. Bourseau finished with 101 yards on 16 carries, and Salerno had what may be the finest game of her career, with 54 yards on the ground (on only 8 carries) and threw for 69 yards and 2 TDs. While the Temptation did most of their serious damage on the ground, the passing game was effective as well, with Cynthia Schmidt, Malissa Miles and Awagah all making some big plays.

On defense, it was a coming out party for both Naja Christmas and Tiyauna Anderson. Christmas was a terror, making 2 unassisted tackles, being in on 3 more and squashing a couple of Austin drives with sacks heard through the stadium. Anderson was almost as impressive, making 3 unassisted tackles, in addition to her 3rd quarter sack and safety.

Commented Coach Tui after the game, “Other than some problems we had defending the pass, I thought we executed well on both sides of the ball, and I’m really encouraged by where we are right now. I also want to give Austin a lot of credit for making us work for everything we got out there. What’s clear to me is that this team has worked really hard to be in the position it’s now in, and we’re looking forward to coming home to play Pittsburgh.“

Categories: LFL


LFL Update:

On Friday May 12 at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, the LA Temptation demolished the Omaha Heart 79-6 in their 2017 season opener, ruthlessly dominating the game from start to finish. The home team completely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball – holding Omaha to a scant 30 rushing yards, while piling up 181 of their own. Said Temptation Coach Tui Suiaunoa, “We came in focused, and executed our game plan to near perfection. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but I really liked what I saw out there and expect to see more of the same against Austin in Game 2.”

In terms of individual performances, Carmen Bourseau was a true battering ram, pounding Omaha mercilessly for 76 yards in 13 carries, and a whopping 7 TDs. The speedy Kiara Patterson was also extremely productive, going for 69 yards on only 4 attempts, including a 40 yard burst. Through the air, Ashley Salerno combined with Patterson for 70 yards, 2 TD passes and 0 interceptions.

On defense, LA completely stuffed the run, and also frustrated the Heart air attack, coming up with 2 interceptions. Megan Hanson had a huge impact, contributing a pick-six, a big sack, and 7.5 tackles. Omaha was stopped cold for nearly the entire game, only scoring midway through the 4th quarter when the score had gotten completely out of hand (58-0).

Indeed, this wipe out serves notice to the rest of the league that LA has got be considered a prohibitive favorite to be in the playoffs and challenge for the league title. Time will tell, but as noted by Tui, “This team has all the weapons and parts it needs to go all the way, and I’m excited to be along for the ride. We can’t wait for the Austin Acoustic and Game 2 in Austin on June 24!”
Brandon Chabner
Beat Reporter for LA Temptation and
ChabDog Sports Blog

Categories: LFL

LFL Preview: Temptation gear up for May 12 home opener against Omaha …

The 2017 season kicks off for the Los Angeles Temptation with a home game at Citizens Bank arena on May 12 against the Omaha Heart. After what happened last year, Coach Tui knows there isn’t much room for error and will have his team ready to go.

There’s lots of excitement surround the offense, with Ashley Salerno back as starting QB. Tui commented, “She’s experienced and truly a talented, multi-threat option with her ability to hurt defenses through the air and on the ground. I’ll enjoy watching her lead this team down the field.” Alongside Salerno in the backfield will be running back Carmen Bourseau, who did not play last year due to an injury. Bourseau is a power back and will be complimented nicely by speedy Nas Johnson. At receiver, LA will start sure-handed Cynthia Schmidt, along with Delaney Hall (both starters from last year), and the offensive line will be anchored by Sherri Awagah and Kiana Takairangi at guards and rookie Rose Saenz at center.

On defense, things look very solid with two experienced corners, Ogom Chijindu and Chelsey Haardt. Tui remarked, “I sleep well at night knowing they are on patrol. Look for Chelsey to come roaring back after recovering from last year’s injury.” With the retirement of Hall of Fame linebacker Monique Gaxiola, the middle of the field will be guarded by Megan Hanson, who played center last year. Tui notes that Hanson is a versatile, capable athlete and should be able to adjust to her new defensive responsibilities. At defensive end, Naja Christmas will be hard to stop, and as for the other spot on the d-line, Tui indicated that slot is still up for grabs. Finally, the safeties will be returning starter Lili Granston, as well as former starter Danielle Harvey (back from injury).

Tui is cautiously optimistic about his team’s prospects, noting “We know there is little margin for error with 4 games, and we’ll be ready on May 12.  I certainly beleive 4-0/playoffs is a very doable proposition.”

Don’t miss any of the action at Citizens Bank arena, as Omaha comes to town on May 12 and Pittsburgh visits on July 8!


Categories: LFL

Listen in to the Sunday, September 25 ChabDog Sports Talk Show …

On the Sunday, September 25 ChabDog Sports Talk Show:
— We reflect on the loss of young superstar Jose Fernandez;
— ChabDog foreshadows the firing of Les Offense Miles with “No Time Left For You” from the Guess Who, and looks back on ND’s sickly loss to Puke with “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”;
— The next question is whether Duke is now also a football school
— Musings about the imposing Aggies; the A&M stand for athletic and muscular.
— Action Jackson can’t lose at Louisville.
— Uggly loss for Ugga, who has plenty of fleas.
— TN is looking like the beast of the SEC East.
— Frank is emphatic that Nick Satan always wins, and Eric the Well-read suggests the coach has the goods to keep the NCAA at bay and away.
— We confirm that Michigan will someday leave the Big House, and Frank presumes the Wolverines will in fact lose at the ugly Horseshoe.
— the WC race between the Cards, Mets and Giants can be seen as the Sergio Leone movie, The Erratic, the Infirm, and the bummed out Mentally Disturbed.
— We discuss roid rage, and recall when the Rocket went loony on Cooney.
— Dodgers look for a life trainer for Puig leader in bonehead plays Puig.
— Do the Mets still hold a hex over the Cubs? Nahhhhh
— Papi say it ain’t so … don’t go…
— Without much doubt, this year’s WCS could mean the end of a serious drought?
— The team from Queens is retiring the Reds’ collective numbers … they own them so bad.
— Coach Tui discusses a successful 2016 campaign for the LA Temptation, LFL expansion plans for next year and why the games are so great to watch in person.
— Raiders take the advice of Al Davis to “Just win, baby”, and Tui’s admonishments to tighten up that D.
— Tui talks of his past love for the Steelers, and how he faced mandatory conversion to the Silver and Black.
— We go old school, with Howie Long, Phil Villapiano, Joe Namath and the Super Bowl of 1984.
— Eric the Well-read doesn’t drink the Bengals’ kool aid and reminds us that the trend is your friend.
— Rexy and Robby take a break from driving the dumb and dumber doggie van, but the coach doesn’t get a chance to indulge his foot fetish … dee feet.
— Where will the NFL coaching carousel stop next….
— Playing “Wheel of QBs” in Cleveland
— Of course, more Ryan Bennyhill

2016 Legends Cupdate

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2016 Legends Cupdate:

Congratulations to the Bliss, who clear away the Mist by a score of 31-26, win the Legends Cup, and make ChabDog the winner of the LFL Writers’ prognostication competition. #Bliss #Mist


Categories: LFL

LFL Update: Temptation Grind Out a Tough 33-26 Win Over Steam, But Need Some Unlikely Help to Keep Playing in Post-Season …

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LFL Update — Temptation Grind Out a Tough 33-26 Win Over Steam, But Need Some Unlikely Help to Keep Playing in Post-Season

After stumbling in Game 1 against Seattle, the LA Temptation have definitely righted their ship and seem poised for a series run at the Legends Cup; however, they’ll need to do some serious praying if they hope to keep playing. Despite a 3-1 record, they’ll be watching the playoff festivities from home, unless Omaha pulls a major … major … upset against Dallas.

Coach Tui can certainly be proud of his silver and black warriors after their huge road victory in Atlanta on Saturday, July 9. LA kept the pressure on Atlanta’s defense all game, piling up 167 yards on 31 carries, and with standout performances by both QB Jayne Caldwell (3 TDS, and 87 yards on 13 carries) and Jas Johnson (12 carries/71 yards). The defense did have its troubles stopping Atlanta’s effective attack, which featured a 3 TD passing performance from Dakota Hughes, along with some effective running from Jessi Locklear. However, in the end it was Delaney Hall’s pick six that took the air out of the Steam and its last gasp for a winning score.

Other notable performances for the Temptation included 3 receptions by Kiara Patterson, and some aggressive tackling by Lily Granston (6), Monique Gaxiola (5) and Suzanne Mapes (5). On the Atlanta side of the ball, the receiver corps were led by Lauran Ziegler and Adrian Purnell, with 5 and 4 receptions, respectively, and the defense was led by Dina Wojowski, who either made or assisted on an off-the-charts 11 tackles, and had a sack as well.

Commented Coach Tui, “We did a great job on offense, controlling the clock, moving the ball. and of course, getting the necessary points. You can really see Jayne’s development, as a general leading our troops down the field, and I really like her as a dual threat now — both as a runner and a passer. Our defense also had its share of stops, including that huge INT which sealed the deal. I am just very frustrated that we may well be left out of the race for the Legends Cup, given how far we’ve come. With all due respect to the other playoff teams, my sincere belief is that when you have this kind of abbreviated regular season, the only sensible approach is to have the squads with the four best records move on to the post-season … period. In any event, I do salute this team, and see this as a great building block for next year, regardless of what Dallas does in its next game.

Brandon Chabner, beat reporter for the LA Temptation

Categories: LFL

LFL Update: Temptation Conclude Season With Virtual Must-Win Game in Atlanta …

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LFL Update: Temptation Conclude Season With Virtual Must-Win Game in Atlanta …

The 2016 regular season concludes this Saturday for the Los Angeles Temptation with a virtual must-win game in Atlanta. To make the playoffs, LA needs to win big … and we mean very big (at least by 35 pts) … to have any shot at the post-season, given the likelihood that they would then end up in a three-way tie for first place in the LFL’s Western Conference, along with Dallas and Seattle. Their best hope is for a Dallas loss to Omaha which would send LA to the post-season regardless of the outcome of this Saturday’s game.
Coach Tui Suiaunoa knows the long odds, but is focused on going into Atlanta and winning this game and ending the regular season on a strong note. He observed, “It is what it is, and we have to ignore all the scenarios and just play our game. I like our chances going in, against what will be a well-rested, physically intimidating Atlanta team. They’re big and powerful, but we’re ready to meet the challenge.”

Indeed, Atlanta showed the rest of the league what it could do earlier in the year when it destroyed Austin 77-0. Quarterback Dakota Hughes completed 76% of her throws and shredded the Acoustic defense for 176 yards and 7 TDs. Bruising running-back Brittany Demery had her way on the ground, averaging over 8 yards-per-carry and Lauran Ziegler has been a threat on both offense and defense for Atlanta. The Steam also have a large presence on the defensive front, with defensive-end Pia Perry and linebacker Dina Wojowski.

There will also be a bit of a “grudge factor” at work here, given the fact that two of LA’s big weapons on offense, quarterback Jayne Caldwell and running-back Nas Johnson, played for the Steam last year. According to Tui, “I’m sure Atlanta wants to let them know they made a mistake in leaving, but remember that the motivation runs both ways. Caldwell and Johnson definitely will be looking to make a statement.”

Look for an intense, hard hitting contest on Saturday!

Brandon Chabner beat writer for the LA Temptation

ChabDog Sports Blog (

Categories: LFL

LFL Update: Temptation Plow Through Acoustic for 2nd Win of the Season

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LFL Update: Temptation Plow Through Acoustic for 2nd Win of the Season

This past Saturday, the LA Temptation took an important step toward securing both their position in the upcoming LFL playoffs and their status as major contender for the LFL title with a convincing 49-32 road victory over the Austin Acoustic.  This game was indeed a testament to the powerful and efficient running game of the Temptation, which piled up an impressive 194 yard in only 29 attempts (over 6 yards per carry), but also reflects an improving passing game (2 TD passes) and quarterback rotation (good results from both Jayne Caldwell and Kiara Patterson).  On the other side of the ball, the defense stopped Austin when it needed to, and saw standout performances from both Lily Granston and Janai McElroy (8 and 7 tackles, respectively); however, there is definitely room for improvement if the team hopes to compete successfully in the upper echelon of the LFL.

In a nearly flawless first half, LA touchdowns on its first four possessions, and failing to score on a fifth possession only because the half ran out on them at the Acoustic two yard line.   Austin had no answer for Nas Johnson on the ground, and Caldwell was also an effective dual threat at QB, running for 2 TDs and connecting with Cynthia Schmidt for another.  To its credit, the Acoustic kept the game interesting, scoring three times and staying within 8 at halftime (28-20), largely on the strength of Teshay Winfrey’s arm and legs (a rushing TD and a TD pass), and consistent gains on the ground by Michelle Marshall.

Things remained intensely competitive during the 3rd quarter, with Austin’s Selena Fudge breaking off a nice 20 yard return to start the half, and Winfrey running 10 yards for a score that cut LA’s lead to 28-26.  However, Coach Tui changed the momentum very quickly by inserting Kiara Patterson at quarterback; Patterson responded with yet another long bomb scoring completion to wide out Schmidt.    The teams proceeded to trade defensive stops, until Winfrey went back to work on a short TD drive, culminating in a 1 yard throw to Leilanni Lopez.

Early in the 4th quarter, Patterson went back to work, completing a 9 yard pass to Megan Hanson and gaining 26 yards on QB keepers, which produced a TD that gave LA more breathing room at 42-32.  It was then that perhaps the key defensive play of the game occurred, with Ogom Chijindu coming up with a critical interception to stop Austin dead in its tracks in LA territory.  After another Temptation pickoff by Suzanne Mapes and Caldwell TD run, LA had an insurmountable 49-32 victory.

Coach Tui was very pleased with his team’s performance on offense, commenting “We showed poise and executed well on both sides of the ball.  I loved the job we did on offense across the board, as our line opened up great holes for Nas, Jayne and Kiara, and we were also able to move the ball through the air.  On defense, we came up with the big plays when we had to, particularly with those two huge 4th quarter interceptions by Ogom and Suzanne.  That being said, we’ll need to execute better defensively to beat Atlanta, and in the bigger picture, if we intend to have any hopes of making it to the Legends Cup.”

LA now has a few weeks off before its regular season finale in Atlanta, which will be pivotal in determining positioning for the LFL playoffs.  Congratulations to the Temptation on another fine effort.


Brandon Chabner/ beat reporter for LA Temptation and ChabDog Sports Blog

Categories: LFL

LA Temptation Travel to Austin for Critical Saturday Night Showdown with Austin Acoustics …

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Temptation Travel to Austin for Critical Showdown With the Acoustics

The LA Temptation square off this Saturday night against their Western Conference rivals, the Austin Acoustic, at Cedar Park Center in Austin, TX.  This is a particularly critical game for both teams, as the loser will likely find itself on the outside looking in when the LFL playoffs begin in August.

The situation may be a bit more dire for Austin, whose record stands at 1-2. The Temptation are in a better situation, at 1-1, but they know that their best hope for controlling their own destiny is to come away with a big win. And Coach Tui of the Temptation has no doubts that his team will indeed be ready. “We’ve had 7-8 hard practices since beating Dallas in early May, and I think our focus on both defense and offense is much sharper. There’s no question in my mind we’ll be ready when they blow the whistle this weekend.”

It goes without saying that LA does not want to endure the same first half struggles that plagued the team in its last game against Dallas. Tui is encouraged by the fact that the team is now very healthy, and he’s confident that the QB rotation of Jane Caldwell and Tiara Patterson will be effectively lead the team down the field.  Look for LA to establish its powerful running game early on against the relatively undersized Austin defense, but also don’t be surprised to see some long passes aired out to Cynthia Schmidt and Delaney Hall, mixed in with throws over the middle to scary Sherri Awagah.

As for the Temptation’s defense, expect a continuation of the strong play that was seen in the second half of the Dallas game, with one change being Janai McElroy lining up as a second safety, next to lock-down defender Ogom Chijindu.

However, Austin does have some weapons that will pose a challenge for LA, including scrambling quarterback Teshay Winfrey, who has also had some success this season through the air, as well as elusive Michelle Marshall at running back and Leilanni Lopez (8 receptions) at wide receiver.  On this note, Tui is quick to observe, “After playing Dallas, we are well aware how dangerous an expansion squad can be, so make no mistake about it, we’re bringing our A game on the road with us this Saturday. We need all the points, and stops, we can get.”

Look for an entertaining game this Saturday in the Lone Star State!

Brandon Chabner,
LFL beat writer for the LA Temptation

Categories: LFL

LA Temptation Derail Dallas Desire and Thomas The Freight Train, 33-32

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LA Temptation Derail Dallas Desire and Thomas The Freight Train, 33-32:
For those in attendance, the May 7 game at Citizen Business Bank arena in Ontario between the Dallas Desire and the LA Temptation was certainly a Saturday night treat. It was almost a must win contest for the home team, which badly needed to rebound with a win if they were to have any realistic chance of making the playoffs. It was also an important statement game for the expansion team from Texas, which wanted to prove that they need to be taken seriously as a contender in the LFL Western conference. Although only one team one, both seemed to accomplish their objectives.
Dallas came out with guns blazing … that is with their big guns, in the form of some bruising running from their main offensive weapon, Victoria Thomas, “The Freight Train.” If LA’s defense thought they would have a bit of a respite after having to contend with Seattle’s Stevie “The Bull” Schnoor, they had another thing coming. On the first drive of the game, Thomas rammed her way for some large chunks of yardage, and QB Michelle Angel made things worse for LA with her TD pass to Jane Randall.
LA responded with a nice drive of its own, including effective running from Nas Johnson, but the drive fell just short when Sheri Awagah did not get into the end zone on fourth and goal. For the balance of the quarter, LA’s defense used some effective pressure from Awagah and good coverage schemes to confuse and hurry Angel, a theme that would persist for much of the game.
The tide seemed to turn in the second quarter, as LA QB Jane Caldwell completed a methodical drive down the field with a QB keeper that made the score 7-6. Johnson continued to have her way on the ground, while Cynthia Schmidt contributed with a big reception. However, just as things started to look bleak for the Desire, Angel completed a long bomb to Randall that seemed to take the wind out of LA’s sails. Angel, who been slated to play QB for LA in pre-season before moving over to Dallas, seemed to be on a personal mission to show the Temptation exactly what they had lost when she left, and was by all accounts back on track after this pass.
And things would only get worse for the Temptation after Johnson was stopped short of a first down on LA’s next possession. It was at this point that Thomas The Freight Train took over. With just a few carries, featuring a number of broken tackles and brutal collisions, the powerful running back plowed through the Temptation defense leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, including a collision with Delaney Hall that was no doubt heard in the stadium press box. Lucky to be down only 20-7 at halftime, LA needed to gather itself and regroup.
In the third quarter, things changed right away as Coach Tui made a big change, replacing Caldwell at QB with Kiara Patterson. This move paid instant dividends as a confident Patterson connected with Awageh, and then finished things off with a stunning 25 yard pass to Cynthia Schmidt. After the extra point conversion attempt failed when Thomas stopped an LA run cold, the score was 20-13. This shift in momentum would continue as LA’s defense rose to the occasion, with a big hit on Dallas’ next possession from linebacker Monique Gaxiola on third down and some tight coverage by safety Ogom Chijindu. And on LA’s next possession, Patterson would continue her masterful guidance of the Temptation offense, with a key completion to tight end Awagah, and letting Johnson do the rest, including a touchdown run. After a successful extra point, the score was tied at 20.
For the rest of the third quarter and into the fourth, Dallas would continue to threaten, particularly on the ground, with Thomas, as well as nice gains from the skilled Shawnte Shiree and the speedy Courtney White. Some stout defense by Awagah and Chijindu stopped the Desire, and the Temptation jumped in front 26-20 on a wobbly, but effective, TD pass from Schmidt to Patterson. That’s when things really got interesting.
As she had done before, Angel came up with a huge scoring pass to Courtney White, finding the diminutive, but speedy receiver, over the middle off of a scramble. After a long video review confirmed that White had not gone out of bounds, a shocked Temptation found itself tied at 26, with the extra point conversion looming. The entire arena knew what was coming next … a run by Freight Train Thomas over the right side; but this time LA was ready, as the big Dallas back was gang tackled by about 5 Temptation defenders and brought down a yard short of the goal line. Thomas, herself, was injured on the play (apparently knocked woozy) and was helped off the field, not to return. As a result, the game remained tied at 26.
On LA’s next possession, Patterson and Johnson took over, with LA ultimately taking the lead on a 7 yard QB keeper, making it 33-26, on an extra point conversion run by Johnson. However, Dallas would have one more chance, as Angel would calmly lead the Desire down the field with passes to White, and a 4th down 3 yard completion to Shiree. The nail in the Desire coffin would come on the conversion, when tough defense by Chijindu caused the extra point pass to fall harmlessly incomplete. After an unsuccessful onside kick, the Temptation had their victory, to the delight of a clearly exhausted, but thrilled crowd.
Coach Tui summed it up best with his post-game comments: “I couldn’t be more proud of this team who never gave up and played with resilience, poise, and so much heart! They fought tooth and nail for every yard and every defensive stop against a great Dallas team! Hats off to Coach Bullet and his Desire team for an incredible game and one for the ages…but for now, we’ll take the win .”

Brandon Chabner, beat reporter for LA Temptation/ChabDog Sports Blog

Categories: LFL

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