Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lingerie Bowl Canada I Game Recap

By Mark Staffieri
The inaugural season of LFL Canada came to an end this weekend, with the BC Angels prevailing in front of their home crowd at Abbottsford, BC. A highly emotional contest with a compelling cast of characters, the Angels wanted to avenge their 22-18 regular season loss to the Saskatoon Sirens.
Despite a scoreless first quarter, the tone was profoundly set for what would come. Although Saskatoon outrushed the Angels by an astounding 23-1 margin, the Angels defense made the real statement. On the first possession, Tamar Fennell would rush for 12 yards, but made a costly fumble. Katie Marshall would force said fumble, which would mark the beginning of a banner day for her.
The second quarter found both franchises getting points on the scoreboard. Anne Erler, the winner of the LFL Canada Most Valuable Player Award, connected with Tamar Fennell for a 20 yard touchdown pass. Erler’s rush failed but the Sirens got on the board first to make it 6-0.
While the efforts of Lindsay Berger, Ogom Chijindu and Casey Simpson frustrated the Angles on their first offensive possession of the quarter, the Sirens could not add to their lead. Incomplete passes to Carrie Britton and a sack by Katie Marshall wore down Anne Erler.
Marshall’s efforts in dismantling the Sirens high powered attack on offense helped the Angels gain momentum. On the second play of the Angels next drive, Aleesa Garcia, who caught the first touchdown pass in the league’s history, caught a 20 yard pass from Mary Anne Hanson to even the score at 6 heading into halftime.
The second half started with BC making their only fumble of the contest. A 32 yard kickoff by Erler was fumbled by Garcia. The Angels recovered the fumble, and prevented what would have been the Sirens first entry into the red zone. Despite being called for a delay of game penalty on the opening drive of the second half, Mary Anne Hanson retained her composure.
After the 5 yard penalty, Hanson connected with Jessica Hopkins for a 19 yard pass that would give the Angels the first down. On the Sirens 12 yard line, Garcia would redeem herself as she scored on touchdown run to become the first player to have both a receiving and a rushing touchdown in LFL Canada postseason history. Time of possession was crucial in the third quarter for the Angels as they held the advantage by 5:37 to 2:23.
This stifled the Furrler attack on offense, as the Sirens played with a sense of panic. In their only possession of the third quarter, Erler was sacked on two consecutive plays. Heidi Nordby and Stevi Schnoor combined on the first sack, while Schnoor had the second sack. It would be a great moment of redemption for Schnoor, as it was believed that she suffered a torn MCL/ACL in the regular season loss to Saskatoon.
With the score 12-6 in favor of the Angels, the Sirens attempted to turn things around in the fourth quarter. Instead, the Angels added to their lead as Christine Moore caught a 3 yard touchdown pass from Mary Anne Hanson. Although Katie Marshall would sack Heather Furr on the Sirens next possession, Furrler would make their impact felt in the quarter as Erler connected on a 32 yard pass with Heather Furr to reduce the Angels lead to 18-12.
On the next possession, Stephanie Manou frustrated the Sirens defense. Behind 20 rushing yards, Manou brought the Angels to the Sirens 6 yard line. The drive ended with Mary Anne Hanson running to daylight as the Angels logged their second touchdown of the quarter. In addition, she would run in the extra point to extend the Angels lead to 25-12.
With 1:30 left in the contest, the Sirens chose to emphasize the pass on their possession. Heather Furr attempted a pass to Casey Simpson which was incomplete. On second down, Erler threw an incomplete pass to Tamar Fennell. Erler struggled with her on-field awareness as her next pass was intercepted by Jessica Hopkins. As the heart and soul of the Angels defense, Hopkins ran the ball back 17 yards to ice the game for the Angels.
While Stephanie Manou did not score a touchdown in the contest, the LFL Canada rushing champion amassed 60 yards in the Lingerie Bowl triumph to lead all players. Manou accounted for 71% of the Angels rushing attack as she ground out crucial yards. Her efforts culminated in smart clock management for the Angels.
Despite the best efforts of the Sirens (Erler led in passing with 85 yards while Furr led all players with 49 receiving yards), the numbers tell the story. BC had 11 first downs, compared to 5 for the Sirens. The Angels also held the advantage in terms of rushing yards (84 to 52), total offense (155 to 124) and the ever important time of possession (19:20 to 12:40).
While Anne Erler provided a valiant effort, she was sacked three times and completed 50% of her pass attempts, with only 12 rushing yards. The Angels’ 4 sacks and advantage in turnovers (1 forced fumble, 1 interception) were key components in containing the high-octane offense of the Sirens. The inability of the Sirens to convert on third downs (0 for 6) and not take advantage of scoring opportunities in the red zone resulted in the Angels road to redemption.

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