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.”