By Meg Kelly
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — April 16, 2016 — After a back-and-forth contest Saturday night at the Boston Renegades’ 2016 home opener at Dilboy Stadium, the visiting D.C. Divas scored a go-ahead touchdown with only 17 seconds left in the game, resulting in a final score of 35-32.
Boston’s Allison Cahill threw for four touchdowns — a pair each to Adrienne Smith and Emily Beinecke — while running back Asia Asante also found the end zone on a one-yard rush. Victoria Eddy and Briannah Gallo paced the defense as each tabbed an interception apiece.
After forcing Boston to turn the ball over on downs on the opening possession of the game, D.C. took advantage of the turnover on its first drive, ripping off two plays over 20 yards before crossing the goal line on quarterback sneak. A successful PAT gave D.C. a 7-0 advantage 4:08 into the game.
Boston responded on its ensuing possession as Cahill connected with Beinecke down the sideline on fourth and long to set up the Renegades in the red zone. Cahill again hit Beinecke two plays later for a 19-yard TD reception to cut D.C.’s lead to 7-6 with 7:06 left in the opening frame.
The Renegade attack stayed hot on its next possession as Cahill drove Boston into the red zone on a 25-yard scramble. Asante polished the drive off, posting an eleven-yard reception, and six-yard rush, and a one-yard gain to find paydirt and put the Renegades ahead, 12-7, with 2:40 left in the opening quarter.
After recovering Boston’s onside kick attempt, D.C. took advantage of excellent field position and scored a touchdown after six plays to reclaim the lead at 14-12 five seconds into the second quarter.
Cahill and the Renegades’ offense continued moving the chains with three first-down completions to Kathryn Tylander, Smith, and Beinecke, that set up Boston in D.C. territory. Cahill delivered a short pass to Smith, who broke a tackle to find cross the goal line and reclaim the upper hand for the Renegades at 18-14 with 11:14 left in the half.
Gaining big chunks of yardage on the way, D.C. answered two minutes later on a 20-yard TD pass to regain the lead at 21-18.
With 2:06 left before the break, linebacker Vicky Eddy ended a deep D.C. drive with an interception, but the Renegades were forced to go three-and-out.
Boston’s defense rose to the occasion as it forced its a three-and-out giving Boston’s offense possession on its 35 yard line with 35 seconds left. Then Cahill found Smith for a big 35-yard strike down field. A five yard rush by Chanté Bonds set up Boston on the D.C. 25-yard line with 5 seconds remaining in the half.
That is when, just before taking a hit by an onslaught of pass rushers, Cahill lofted a pass to Smith, who leapt up in traffic and dragged a pair of defenders into the end zone for the go-ahead score. A successful kick by Brooke Goodman sent the Renegades into halftime with a 25-21 advantage.
Boston’s defense asserted itself as the second half began as cornerback Briannah Gallo snatched the Renegades’ second interception of the game. Unable to take advantage, Boston punted. D.C. drove 61 yards on its next possession, scoring on another quarterback sneak to put them in the lead. It was the only scoring play of the third quarter.
Boston’s offense sprang back to life at the start of the fourth quarter as Cahill connected from 16 yard out with Beinecke, who fended off tight coverage in the corner of the end zone to put the score at 32-28 in favor of the Renegades.
After being stopped near mid field by the Renegades’ defense, D.C. benefitted from a rolling punt that put Boston back at its own 19 yard line. The offense moved the chains three times to cross midfield, but a costly 16-yard sack of Cahill followed by a 5-yard false start back moved the Renegades back to its own 35 yard line. Unable to cover the additional yardage, Boston was forced to punt with 4:12 left in the game.
Starting from their own 47-yard line, D.C. converted twice on third down and once on fourth down to eventually work their way to Boston’s 20 yard line with seconds winding down. D.C. scored on four-yard pass with 17 seconds left to take the lead at 35-32. After the ensuing kickoff, the Renegades ran out of time to mount a scoring drive.
The Renegades (2-1) will have a bye week before returning to Dilboy Stadium April 30 to face the Philadelphia Phantomz (2-1).
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