Kevin J. Stone, New England Football Journal
Another year, another unblemished record. What else is new?
The Renegades made it another perfect regular season at 6-0 by beating Pittsburgh on the road 32-12 on Saturday.
Quarterback Allison Cahill threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns. The 205 helped bring her over the 25,000 yard mark for career passing yards as she continues to build a ridiculous resumé. Meanwhile, Ruth Matta ran the ball 20 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns and the defense forced two turnovers while only giving up 192 total yards of offense.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” head coach John Johnson said of another unbeaten regular season. “I told the team that as much as we have things to fix and get better at, to have those mistakes and those issues and still win the game is a credit to the character and talent we have on this team. They need to be excited about their accomplishment but also get ready for the next step which is our playoff run.”
Stunningly, Boston was actually shut out in the first quarter and the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 heading to the second. A two-yard TD run for Matta (Vanessa Baer missed PAT), a four-yard TD reception for Tytti Kuusinen (failed two-point attempt) and a 12-yard TD run for Matta (kick no good) made it 18-0 Renegades in the second, but a seven-yard TD run for Pittsburgh cut it to 18-6 at the half. The early TD given up was extremely rare for the usually dominant Boston defense, almost as rare as the offense being quiet early on.
“We will work on the things we missed. Every win is still a learning experience. We gotta work hard, make sure we do our best, and play up to our own standards,” said linebacker Spring Gamble.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we ground out a win. But we aren’t happy,” said Matta. “We want to be better every week — we are trying to be perfect.This game, there will be a lot to learn from. We are excited, I think, to look at film, deconstruct, and see what happened. It’s a testament that while we didn’t play that great, we still won. And that says a lot about the team’s mentality — we didn’t panic, kept grinding, and did what we needed to do. I’m looking forward to the next game, but have a lot to improve on, a lot of work ahead of us as always.”
Stephanie Pascual hauled in. 14-yard TD from Cahill in the third which was the only score of the quarter. In the fourth, a three-yard TD reception for the Passion made it 25-12 before a four-yard TD run for Kuusinen and a Baer PAT capped the scoring.
Vincent and Adams each had an interception for Boston and the defense also held Pittsburgh to just 40 rushing yards and 4-16 on third downs. Offensively, the Renegades still put up 377 yards while running 81 plays. Cahill threw an interception and Boston also racked up 61 penalty yards on 10 flags.
The lack of discipline and offensive output was surprising, but championship teams find ways to win when they’re not at their best. Now, the Renegades will have some time off before beginning another playoff push with a quarterfinal game on June 24. A win would leave Boston just two wins from a fifth straight WFA championship.
“We gotta get good at the little things — its back to the basics and cleaning up all the mistakes we had,” added Johnson. “As Coach Belichick says, “Coaches have to coach it better, players have to play it better.” So we will look at everything, make our changes, and improve where we need to.”