(Photos by Reneka Watkins)
The Prodigy (8-0) closed out the 2019 regular season with a statement victory over division foes the Keystone Assault (4-4), 47-0.
Setting the tone early, cornerback Shantel Wilson hit the visiting team hard on the opening kick off, dislodging the ball for Natasha Ware to recover at the 25-yard line. That set up Cher “Mimi” Gantt’s touchdown less than one minute into the first quarter.
The Prodigy defense forced a turnover on downs on the ensuing series and after a short run by Gantt, quarterback Victoria Lyles hit rookie receiver Tamera Maxwell for the 38 yard touchdown to make the score 13-0 after the botched snap on the extra point.
The next offensive series for Washington wasn’t as smooth, as Keystone intercepted a long pass and was tackled at their own 15 yard line. But the visitors gave the ball back on their first play from scrimmage after a bobbled snap that cornerback Ashely Botts recovered. From there, Gantt took in another score to make it 20-0 with the extra point.
After the Prodigy defense forced another three-and-out, the offense took over at the Keystone 31-yard line. But it would be a short offensive series as Keystone stepped in front of a pass for another interception. The Assault offense were able to move the ball slightly and thanks to a false start on the defense, gained a first down but they were forced to punt three downs later.
The lull restarted the Prodigy offense. Gantt ran the ball 60 yards, followed by an 11 yard catch by fullback Crystal Boyd to put the home team in the red zone. From there, Gantt took it in 25 yards for the touchdown to send Washington to the locker room up 26-0 at the half.
Quarterback Lyles looked to redeem herself in the second half, opening up the scoring on a 33 yard touchdown run, 2 minutes in to the third quarter, to make the score 33-0 with the extra point.
Washington’s defense were next to get in on the scoring as Ware strip-sacked the Keystone quarterback, and took the fumble recovery in for a 40-yard touchdown to make the score 40-0 with the extra point.
A 20-yard pass and one-handed catch by fullback Shantae “Tank” Barnes, followed by two 10-yard runs from Gantt, and a 5-yard quarterback keeper by Lyles, allowed Barnes to punch in the 1/2 yard touchdown on fourth down to end the game. You can watch the game on Youtube here.
NEXT UP: The Prodigy head to Bluff City, Tennessee for the USWFL Championship on July 13th.