By Kevin Stone | New England Football Journal
When MVP quarterback Allison Cahill spoke to us for a story on Thursday as her team prepared to play in a fourth straight Women’s Football Alliance National Championship, she said that the Renegades were used to succeeding in the shadows, but that they would welcome any and all new supporters and fans with open arms.
Well, there are going to be a lot more now.
Behind 218 yards and three TD’s through the air and one on the ground from Cahill, Boston earned a 42-26 win over the Minnesota Vixen at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, completing a three-peat and winning the WFA National title for a third straight season. Boston also finishes the year at 7-0, extending their already historic WFA unbeaten streak to 22 games.
Cahill — who just completed her 18th season of pro ball and was named the game’s MVP — will also have her jersey on display in Canton now as well to go along with her six rings and four conference MVP’s. The Renegades will also have a signed ball from the entire team on display in the Hall of Fame, but most importantly, there is a new football dynasty residing in New England and it isn’t in Foxborough.
“Honestly, we’re just focused on the next one,” said head coach Jim Johnson. “It sounds cliche but it’s really what we’re focused on, the next game, the next opportunity. We just take it one game at a time and when everything is all said and done you can look back and say ‘wow that was awesome’ but I didn’t know about the winning streak.
“We’re just trying to go 1-0 every week. We study these great teams, in particular the Patriots and we try to measure up and set a standard like they do. Something’s working, right?”
Saturday was a bit of an aberration for Renegades fans who are used to watching their team blowout opponents early and often. On Saturday, neither team scored until Cahill hit Adrienne Smith with 7:55 to go in the half for a 22-yard TD on a well-ran slant.
Minnesota’s Grace Cooper (18 carries, 192 yards, 4 TD’s) was a problem all night and ripped off a 62-yard TD but a missed PAT kept Boston up 7-6. Thirteen plays later, Cahill hit Ruth Matta on a quick wide receiver screen from 3 yards out to make it 14-6 with 2:22 to go in the second.
After Boston forced a punt Cahill was picked off near the Renegades’ 40. One play later Minnesota coughed the football right back to Boston at the Vixen’ 48 with 45 seconds left in the half in what may have been the biggest spot in the game.
As the clock hit zero moments later, Cahill found Emily Beinecke from 23-yards out to give the Renegades a 21-6 lead and momentum heading into halftime.
It didn’t last long as Cooper broke off a 40-yard TD after Boston turned the ball over on downs coming out of halftime. Cahill did her thing on the ensuing drive though, leading a methodical march that ended with a short Chante Bonds touchdown run to push the lead back to 28-14.
The defense did its part despite Cooper’s best efforts with two more fourth quarter touchdowns. The Renegades got a five-yard TD run from Matta and Cahill fittingly finished off the special night with a late 31-yard touchdown run before the celebrations began.
“It was the way a championship game should be,” Bonds said regarding the competitive nature of the game after so many blowouts over the last few years. “I think it was great for women’s football, great for our fans, it was great for women’s football fans all across the country to be able to see a hard fought battle for a national championship. This is the reason we play, for games like this.”
There will be no more succeeding in the shadows for the Boston Renegades. The whole area now knows who the newest New England GOAT is at quarterback and they now know just how dominant this franchise is becoming.
In the immortal words of the late, great Gil Santos following the Patriots’ win over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX:
Yes, it’s a dynasty.