Continuing its season-long dominance, the Boston Renegades bolted to a 58-6 victory over the Alabama Fire in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) semifinals Saturday night at Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere.
Head coach John Johnson’s unbeaten juggernaut will head to the WFA national championship game July 22 in Canton Ohio to play the St. Louis Slam with the hope of winning its fifth consecutive title. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
The Renegades put on a 60-minute football clinic against Alabama, excelling in all phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. Led by their legendary 42-year-old quarterback Allison Cahill competing in her 20th season, the Renegades scored nine touchdowns in their balanced, hurry-up offense.
Alabama head coach Cedric Lane credited the Renegades for taking away its strengths that had produced a 7-0 record.
“For sure, this was the best team we played all season,” said Lane. “They’re real physical up front and they’re well coached. I have a lot of respect for Boston and their coaching staff.”
In the middle of the Renegades’ 39th consecutive victory was Amanda Alpert, the team’s starting center who is the director of athletics at Chelsea High School. Combining with starting tackles Hillary Crook and Ashley Beckham, guards Samantha McKay and Jessica Hayden and reserve Molly Winsten, the offensive line provided the awesome blocking that helped running backs Tytti Kuusinen and Ruth Matta account for close to 250 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Cahill was extraordinary while completing 14 passes for 175 yards and five touchdowns. Stephanie Pascual had six receptions for 31 yards, scoring two touchdowns. Chante Bonds, who was honored with the Tradition’s prestigious Football Legacy Award in December, used her speed and elusiveness to turn a screen pass into a 46-yard touchdown, one of two scores for the Renegades all-time great.
Alpert was proud of the offensive line’s performance and her individual contribution to team’s success this season.
Alpert said the Renegades work hard on game preparations on and off the practice field. That extra effort has certainly showed up on the scoreboard as the Renegades have won 39 games in a row and built a WFA football dynasty.
“I think what we do day in and day out, people underestimate the work that they we put it in on and off the field to be better and be the best, honestly,” said Alpert.
Part of that incredible preparation extends to the Renegades’ kicking game. Alpert is the team’s long snapper on extra points for placekicker Vanessa Baer, who was a perfect 8-of-8 on PATs in the victory. Baer has been close to flawless all season for the league’s highest-scoring team. Ashley Beckham is the holder on extra points.
Alpert credited the Renegades’ defense for shutting down the Fire’s usually explosive offense. Fire running back Kelli Smith had been virtually unstoppable during the regular season, but the Renegades kept her in check.
“She’s [Smith] absolutely a great player,” said Alpert. “She plays offense and defense. She’s an athlete.”
Defensive back Megan McFadden made a huge play early in the game, stepping in aggressively to break up a pass that ended Alabama’s drive. Defensive back Carolyn Glynn had an interception as the Renegades frustrated Alabama quarterback Courtney Billingsley all game with their superb pass rushing and pass coverage.
Asked if the 2023 season has been satisfying, Alpert said, “Up to this point it has. But I won’t be completely satisfied until the final whistle of the championship game when we have more points than the St. Louis Slam.” Revere residents will be able to watch the Renegades’ quest for perfection live on ESPN2.