By Kevin Stone | New England Football Journal
Two minutes and 37 seconds.
That’s basically all it took for the Renegades to clinch the victory in the home opener at Harry Della Russo Stadium on Saturday night.
Boston jumped out to an early lead, built a 49-point cushion at halftime and waltzed to a 49-0 win over the Detroit Venom in the home opener in front of an impressive crowd. Ruth Matta led the way with four touchdown runs in the first half and the teams played running time for the entirety of the third and fourth quarters.
“We really live the one day at a time mantra and try to live and breathe it,” said Renegades head coach John Johnson. Boston is now on a 20-0 run dating back to the 2019 season opener. “It’s really one day at a time, one practice at a time, one player at a time. We keep it very simple and we never go past the next day. It helps when you have players in the program consistently and doing the things they do.”
Allison Cahill led a seven-play, 55-yard opening drive and finished it off with a 3-yard TD run early in the first with Sarah Tully adding the PAT to make it 7-0. Boston had eight first-half possessions and scored on all but one of them.
The Renegades’ next drive started at the Detroit 15 after a horrendous punt, but Boston turned it over on downs. Moments later after the smothering defense held the Venom to another punt, Cahill and the offense were back out at the Detroit 37. Two plays later – following a great punt return from Tee Creech coupled with a late hit out of bounds – Matta ripped off a 30-yard TD run to make it 13-0 after a missed point after.
“They’re absolutely amazing,” Matta said of her O-line. “It’s easy when you’ve got girls like them blocking for you. I get the stats and the touchdowns, but they’re the ones out there blocking. They don’t get the recognition but I try to let them know they’re loved.”
Matta’s second touchdown run from eight yards out made it 20-0 with 11:34 left in the second. With 8:24 to go in the frame, Adrienne Smith hauled in a slant from Cahill and did the rest, making two tacklers miss while scampering 44-yards to the house for a 27-0 advantage. Four plays after forcing a turnover-on-downs at the Detroit 34, Cahill threw a short bullet over the middle to Kyshani Dummott who made a great catch in traffic for a 5-yard TD.
A gang-tackle safety in the end zone for the Renegades made it 36-0 and just two plays after the free kick Matta broke off a 35-yard touchdown run for the 43-0 lead. Deanna Walsh recovered a fumble at the Venom 36 late in the half. Two great catches from Tully on the ensuing drive set up Matta’s fourth TD from six yards out, capping the 49-point onslaught and quite a show for the fans in attendance.
“It was amazing to see so many faces come down supporting us tonight,” said Matta. “They help us do what we do, we wouldn’t be here without them. We’re just so grateful for the support. It’s nice to know you’ve got friendly faces cheering for you on the sideline for you.”
“We have a deep roster and we’re trying to get a new players acclimated to the team, players that may not have had many game reps,” Johnson added when asked if a coach can take anything from a blowout like this one. “Getting them to put their work on tape, a game like this is about developing them and developing the roster.”
Both teams seemed perfectly content with running the ball and getting out healthy in a lightning-quick second half that took a little under an hour. The Renegades are back home next Saturday (6 P.M.) for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Passion.
“It’s a great brand of football if you’re looking for great stuff we’re here to do it,” said Johnson. “It’s awesome football. You want to see a quality product, come out and see us.”