BY KEVIN J. STONE , NEW ENGLAND FOOTBALL JOURNAL
For the first time in 1,484 days, the Boston Renegades trailed in a football game at halftime on Saturday night.
Boston trailed the St. Louis Slam 21-19 after a rare slow start in the first half. The last time the Renegades trailed a game at the break was April 21, 2018 in game that ultimately ended in a three-point defeat, one of the last losses for the franchise over the last three full seasons excluding 2020.
As championship teams do, Boston made adjustments in the second half and continued to rely on the running game, scoring 30 unanswered points en route to a 49-21 win. At 5-0, the Renegades close out the regular season at home on Saturday night (6 P.M.) against the D.C. Divas – a team they beat 69-28 in Week 1 – before getting a break heading into the WFA playoffs which begin on June 11.
Stephanie Pascual had touchdown receptions of four and five yards in the first quarter from Allison Cahill (14/26 128) and Boston led 12-7 after one, but a missed two-point conversion and PAT ultimately hurt heading into halftime. After Tytti Kuusinen (24/177/4 TD) plunged in from a yard out to make it 19-7 in the second, St. Louis rattled off 14 straight for the two-point lead.
“Going into this game, we knew St. Louis would put up a good fight in all three phases and that we would face adversity at different times throughout the game,” said Pascual. “As competitors, these are the moments we live for. The defining moments where you get knocked down and you’re forced to decide how hard you’re going to fight back. After being down at the half, we came out knowing that the Renegades do not back down from a fight. We play together, trust one another to make plays and trust our coaches to make the right calls and adjustments. It’s our resilient mindset that I believed helped us to come away with a win. I’m proud of our team. I’m proud of our coaches. There’s no other group of women I’d rather be on the field with and I am looking forward to finishing the season strong going into playoffs.“
The second half turned into the Kuusinen and Ruth Matta show. Matta (21/163) had the first TD of the third quarter from two-yards out, but another failed two-point attempt left the score at 25-21 Renegades. It didn’t natter though, as the defense smothered the home team while Matta, Kuusinen, Cahill (36 yards) and Kate Falkowski (19 yards) all chipped in on the ground with Kuusinen scoring three more times the rest of the way for the 28-point “comeback” victory.
“We came out flat in the first half, whether that was due to travel or the heat and humidity, that was not Renegades defense,” added linebacker Charlene Casey. “At half time we rallied, reiterated our game plan and came back out and did what we came to do. We didn’t change anything, we just executed our game plan, something we didn’t capitalize on in the first half.”
A little adversity may have been good for a team that has just been obliterating opponents for three seasons now. The home finale should provide a nice opportunity to get back in championship form heading into the postseason too.