Western Michigan Knocks Out Philadelphia in Battle of Heavyweights
VICKSBURG MI: Detroit Michigan a city known for some classic heavy weight boxing matches well there was another heavy weight battle on Saturday night this one took place at Vicksburg and winner would advance to WFA National Championship August 15 in New Orleans. In one corner, you had the visiting Philadelphia Liberty Belles who enter Saturday night with a perfect 9-0 record led by a stellar offense and tough defense, and in the other corner you had the host Western Michigan Mayhem who also enter the game with a perfect 9-0 record mainly because their high power offense that enter the game averaging points per game and even better defense that enter the game only allowing an average of 1.9 points per game. Once the final gun went off it was the Mayhem leaving Vicksburg High School with WFA National Conference Championship by virtue of a 28-21 victory. When asked about the game Belles Coach Bill Sytsma responded saying “That’s what you want out of a Conference Championship you don’t want a blow out you want two teams going pound for pound strike for strike.”
The Liberty Belles would land the first haymaker of the evening when WFA Offensive Rookie of Year and First team All American Marirose Roach would put the Liberty Belles in the lead with hers 13 yard touchdown run.
The Mayhem would land their first haymaker of the evening when RB Reagan Radke punched the ball in from 4 yards out to tie the ball game up at 7.
Heading into the contest the Liberty Belles knew they would have a tough task ahead of them in having to contain 1st All American QB Jody Markwart and hers powerful arm. The Belles defense which stepped up to the task all season long and was there for Belles when they needed them the most continued that Saturday night holding Markwart to only one completion for 31 yards. However, that one completion to Danielle Daughty would hurt the Belles has it resulted in a touchdown giving the Mayhem the 14-7 lead.
Like any good team the Belles would respond behind the arm of rookie QB Mik Austin all she did was find Roach in the flat with no defenders near her. Roach showed hers’ speed as she raced 66 yards for the touchdown tying the game at 14 heading into the half.
Much like the first half the Belles would land the haymaker in the second half when the Belles showed their speed as Austin hit Jeanette Hibbs who raced away from the Mayhem defenders on hers’ way to a 70 yard touchdown giving the Belles the 21-14 lead in the 3rd quarter. When it was all set and done, Austin would finish with 199 yards passing. “She (Austin) has really come along in the pass two weeks and obviously tonight was hers’ best night passing” is what Liberty Belles Head Coach Bill Sytsma would say about his QB performance on the evening.
The Mayhem would tied things up with 2:34 left in the third quarter when Markwart would end the 4-play 47 yard drive with hers 12 scamper.
On the ensuing Belles Drive Austin would be intercepted by Lisa Ludtke at the Mayhem 44 yard line setting up the game winning drive in which the Mayhem drove 56 yards on 10 plays before Cathrine (Cat) Converse punched the ball in from six yards out. Converse would finish the game with 151 carries on 20 carries. After the game Austin “ I can’t stop thinking about it. I feel like the outcome would be different.” Austin also gave praise to her teams effort on the night saying “I think everyone played the hardest they could.”
Despite the set back Austin remained positive about the future of the Belles saying “I think we realized before we came here we had a special group great coaches, it wasn’t just the personnel, I think we can expect Philly to have a winning team for years to come.” Sytsma echoed Austin’s comments saying “ We are definitely going to be a force in the WFA for years to come.” Sytsma added it that this season was “the most fun he ever had playing or coaching football.”
The Mayhem advance to take on the St Louis Slam in the WFA National Championship game
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