KAT HASENAUER CORNETTA | BOSTON GLOBE
Chanté Bonds is used to being a playmaker, playing multiple roles for the Boston Renegades on offense and defense. But Sunday, the team’s Swiss Army knife showed off how multi-faceted she truly is.
Filling in for veteran quarterback Allison Cahill, who missed the game due to an ankle injury, Bonds ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns, an MVP performance as the Renegades earned a 32-12 victory over the Minnesota Vixen in the Women’s Football Alliance championship. The win, the team’s 31st in a row, gave them their fourth consecutive national title.
“I visualized a lot about being here in this moment,” said Bonds to the crowd at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. “That visualization came true.”
Shannon Singletary started things off strong for the Renegades (9-0), taking the opening kickoff 40 yards. A few plays later, Tytti Kuusinen got Boston on the board with an 8-yard dash into the end zone.
On the Renegades’ first possession of the second quarter, Bonds displayed her game management skills. She passed, rushed, and handed off the ball during an eight-play drive that was capped off with her 39-yard touchdown run, putting Boston up, 14-0.
Minnesota (6-3) quarterback Erin Kelley, the WFA passing leader, tried to get her offense going in the latter part of the quarter, but found herself stymied by Boston’s defense. That included Deanna Walsh, who stuffed Kelley for an 8-yard loss and set up a punt that Singletary took to the Vixen 30-yard line. The Renegades only needed two more plays to score again, with Ruth Matta going in from two yards out. A Vixen defender got her hand on kicker Sarah Tully’s extra-point attempt, leaving it 20-0 at halftime.
The defense was the story of the second half, as both teams traded frustrating possessions at the beginning of the third quarter. After Boston turned the ball over on downs, Minnesota had an extended 19-play possession that spanned the third and fourth quarters. On its final play, Kelley sent a pass sailing towards the end zone from the 19-yard line. Renegades defensive back Briannah Gallo popped up at just the right moment, deflecting Kelley’s pass with her helmet and keeping Minnesota off the board.
Kuusinen had four quick rushes in the Renegades’ first possession of the fourth, setting up Kate Falkowski’s 11-yard touchdown and a 26-0 Boston lead with 8:37 left to play.
Minnesota did not go down without a fight. Kelley connected with Kaiya Sygulla for an 11-yard touchdown less than two minutes later to get the Vixen their first score. Undaunted, Bonds turned around and added a second rushing touchdown on the next drive, this time from 41 yards.
Though the Vixen added one more touchdown with two minutes remaining, their bid was too late, and they found themselves watching the Renegades celebrate with the trophy for the second straight season.
With the win, the Renegades have further cemented themselves as the leaders in women’s pro football, with seven titles over the franchise’s history.
“These ladies work so hard, and that they are now getting the recognition that they are now is amazing,” said head coach John Johnson, with the team since 2016. “It’s not just what they have done this year and the last four years, but what they have done for the last 20.”