Things got off to a great start with Lara Guscott returning the opening kick-off 35 yards to the Chicago 46 yard line. Quarterback Jenny Schmidt followed with a quick first down after completions to Liz Sowers and Guscott. The drive stalled after a bad snap led to a loss of five yards, and the Tribe failed to convert on 4th down. Chicago methodically drove down the field, taking nearly eight minutes off the clock, and capped things off with a two yard Melissa Smith run for the score. The extra point attempt was no good, and the Tribe trailed 0-6 with 5:46 remaining in the initial quarter.
The Tribe quickly answered when Guscott returned another beauty, this time amassing 28 yards. Schmidt ran the quarteback keeper to add 8, and then connected with running back Larisha Graves for a 30 yard TD. Amanda Shell added the extra point, and the Tribe led 7-6 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Chicago again marched down the field with a series of rugby style runs, this time ending the scoring drive on a three yard run by Brandy Hatcher. The Force also converted for two points, leading the Tribe 14-7 with 13:17 remaining in the second period. The Tribe offense took the field on its own 10 yard line after the kick-off rolled to the two. Melissa Piper took the pitch after Schmidt kept the ball on an option play. She ran 69 yards to the Chicago 21 yard line before being tackled by defenders. After two failed passing attempts, Schmidt found Katie Sowers across the middle for a 13 yard gain for first and goal from the eight. Schmidt then connected with Liz Sowers in the endzone on a slant pattern for the score, but the play was called back for a questionable off-sides penalty on Sowers. A string of broken plays resulted in the Tribe failing to convert from the 25 yard line, and Chicago took over on downs with 9:10 remaining in the first half.
The Force drove the ball to the Tribe 11 yard line, where the Tribe defense produced a big stop on 4th down. After a short gain by Graves, Schmidt was eventually sacked on the one yard line, and the Tribe punted from its own endzone. Schmidt's punt traveled 25 yards, and the Chicago offense once again took the field. The Force's possession was short lived, as Leslie Gent picked off Sami Grisafe's pass (one of only two on the day) at the seven yard line. Despite competing three of the four passes in the drive, time expired on the Tribe, and the score remained 7-14 going into the half.
The Tribe kicked off to the Force to start the second half. After a no gain return, the Force offense took the field at the 50 yard line. A series of runs, which took more than half the quarter, advanced the ball to the eight yard line where Grisafe hit Ashley Berggren for a screen pass, which resulted in another Force score. The PAT was good, and the Force moved ahead 21-7 with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.
Melissa Piper returned the kick-off 15 yards to the 37 yard line. Schmidt advanced the ball past mid-field with a 14 yard gain, and after a pass interference penalty, the Tribe had the ball on the Force 20. Once again, Kansas City failed to score in the redzone, and turned the ball over on downs at the Force 15.
The Force used another clock eating drive to advance the ball to the Tribe 11 yard line, where once again, the defense held on the attempted fourth down. The Tribe offense went back to work, starting with a five yard gain by Graves. Schmidt then connected with Katie Sowers on a 17 yard pass, Guscott for five, and then Graves for 13. Another short pass to Graves, followed by a Graves run took the Tribe into Force territory once more. Schmidt connected with Liz Sowers on back-to-back plays, finishing with a 10 yard pass for the touchdown. Shell connected on the PAT, and the Tribe trailed 14-21 with 1:52 remaining.
The Tribe was unable to regain possession of the ball, as the attempted on-side kick traveled out of bounds. The Force manufactured one additional first down, and then ran out the clock.
Middle linebacker, Magdalen Obiefule led the Tribe defense with 11 tackles. Mindy White added 10, and Katie Sowers finished with 9.
Thank you to all our fans for your support. Please join us next weekend for our first division game against the St. Louis Slam, a perennial play-off contender.