Prodigy vs. Keystone Assault

(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.

Prodigy at Lady Gators

The Prodigy (7-0) took a drive down I-95 to face their toughest opponent of the season, and remain undefeated after a 19-0 victory over the Hampton Roads Lady Gators (4-2).

Washington’s defense opened up the scoring. After getting sacks from Ramzeh “Pinky” Deen-sie and AJ Johnson, a botched snap by Hampton Roads resulted in a safety. The ensuing kickoff gave the Prodigy prime field position and long runs from running backs Tierra McCormick and Cheri “Mimi” Gantt set up a 1-yard touchdown from Gantt to put the Prodigy up 9-0 it the first quarter.

Hampton Roads threatened to score in the second quarter after completing a 58-yard pass to put them in the red zone. But the Prodigy defense — including a 20-yard tackle for loss by Deen-sie — kept the home team off the board.

In the third quarter, on third down from the Hampton Roads 20 yard line, Defensive end Tasha Ware and linebacker Mildred “CeCe'“ Williams brought down the Lady Gators running back at the one-yard line. That tackle for loss forced a punt where the snap was botched, giving the Prodigy two more points.

Prodigy quarterback Vicky Lyles completed a 14-yard pass to Johnson at tight end on fourth-and-three. But she was injured on the play. So McCormick pounded the ball all the way into the end zone to put Washington up 17-0. Quarterback Meredith Bell completed the 2-point conversion to Johnson for the final points of the game.

Defensive end Tinoi Jones sealed the shutout for the Prodigy with a strip fumble on a sweep, recovered by Benita Rouse.

UP NEXT: The Prodigy host the Keystone Assault for their final regular season game. Washington is back at home on June 15th at Dunbar High School.

Prodigy vs. Fayetteville Fierce


Washington (4-0) returned to a new home field and finished off the Fayetteville Fierce (1-2) with a 72-0 victory to remain undefeated.

The Prodigy defense started the game with an interception from Mildred "Cece" Williams, but a Prodigy offensive fumble would give the ball right back to the visiting team. The possession did not last long as linebacker Ramzeh Deen-sie recovered a  Fayetteville botched snap at the 7 yard line. 

Cheri "Mimi" Gantt finished the job, scoring the first touchdown of the game with seven minutes to go in the first quarter. 

After another Fierce four-and-out, Gantt took in another score, this time from the 11 yard line. (14-0) Four plays later, it was a bit of deja vu, as defensive end Natasha Ware recovered the botched snap this time, and running back Tierra McCormick took the ball in for a touchdown from the 3-yard-line. 

On the ensuing Fayetteville offensive series, from the 25-yard line, cornerback Tamera Maxwell intercepted a high pass and returned it 17 yards to set up a touchdown by running back LaNia Charity. That brought the score to 26-0 with less than three minutes left in the first quarter. 

Washington opened up the second quarter with McCormick dragging several defenders into the end zone for her second touchdown of the night. 

Once again a four-and-out gave the home team great field position and this time Deen-sie, in at fullback, scored six points on a 12-yard run. Gantt added another score just before the half, giving the Prodigy a 47-0 lead.

The second half was much like the first, as Gantt's first play from scrimmage was a 75-yard touchdown run and McCormick (8 yards) ran the ball in for another score later in the third quarter. Charity caught a 24-yard pass from quarterback Vicky Lyles for a score as well. 

Not to be outdone, safety Keshia Cousar picked off a Fayetteville pass and took it 21-yards for a touchdown.

UP NEXT: The Prodigy head to nearby Upper Marlboro, MD to take on the DMV Knights on May 18th. Washington is back at home on June 15th at Dunbar High School. Tickets available HERE.

Prodigy at Keystone Assault

In their first away game of the 2019 season, the Prodigy (3-0) took down Keystone Assault (1-2) 45-6, to keep Washington undefeated in their quest for a three-peat.

Keystone started at 9 yard line after kickoff but were only able to get out to the 35 yard line before they were forced to punt. And on the opening play for the offense, Prodigy running back Cheri “Mimi” Gantt ran for a touchdown with a run of 30 yards and 7 yards.

On the ensuing series for Keystone, Defensive End Shantel Wilson stepped in front of the quarterback pass and took the ball 20-yards for a touchdown to make the score 13-0 after the extra point.

A botched snap on the Keystone punt gave the Prodigy offense a 16 yard field to work with and Gantt once again took the ball in for a touchdown. With about 4 minutes left the quarter, the score stood at 19-0 Prodigy.

But after a Keystone four-and-out, that wasn’t it for Gantt in the first half. LaNia Charity set up the touchdown with a 20 yard run and Gantt topped it off with a 10 yard score for her third of the day.

Assault’s offense spurted in the second quarter, after the QB fumbled and Linebacker Ramzeh “Pinky” Deen-sie recovered the ball on the Keystone 49-yard line. But a Prodigy fumble would bring Keystone’s offense back on the field…but not for long as Defensive End Natasha Ware picked off the quarterback and returned it 10 yards before stepping out of bounds.

After a nearly 30 yard run from Charity, quarterback Vicky Lyles outran the Keystone secondary for a 5 yard touchdown, putting the Prodigy up 31-0 to end the half.

The second half seemed it would be much of the same as Gantt opened the scoring with a 28 yard touchdown just three minutes into the third quarter and did it once again with a 23 yard score six minutes later to put Washington up 45-0 with the extra points.

But the Prodigy faced their toughest defensive challenge of the past two seasons. A 15 yard completion and a pass interference penalty set up the Assault in the Prodigy redzone where they would capitalize on another penalty and finish off the drive with a 5 yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was no good, ending the game with a final score of 45-6.

UP NEXT: The Prodigy are back at home as the Fayetteville Fierce travel from North Carolina to play Washington at Dunbar High School in northwest DC on May 4. Get tickets for the second to last home game HERE.

Prodigy vs. DMV Lady Knights

The new cross-town competition, the DMV Lady Knights, came to the Prodigy for its second home game of the season but left with a loss as Washington continued its winning streak in a 48-0 win.

The Prodigy offense started the game with runs from Shawntae “Tank” Barnes and Cheri “Mimi” Gantt all the way to the 4 yard line where Tank ran it in for the team’s first touchdown less than three minutes into the first quarter.

The defense gave the Prodigy an especially short field after forcing DMV to a four-and-out and a five-yard punt. The Prodigy backfield once again led the way into the end zone, this time with Mimi running in an 11-yard touchdown with less than four minutes in the quarter.

In the second quarter, it was the Prodigy passing game that led to the next score. Quarterback Victoria Lyles hit Tank with a 14-yard pass that she ran in to make the score 21-0 with the successful extra point. Prodigy’s defense held the Lady Knights scoreless as the first half expired.

And it was the defense that would start off hot for Washington to start the third quarter. On second down, defensive end Shantel Wilson came off the edge and blasted the DMV quarterback to create a fumble recovered at the 10-yard-line by linebacker Antoinette Bell.

From there the offense would once again lean on Mimi Gantt, who only needed two runs to cross the end zone and put the Prodigy up 27-0.

But the defense wasn’t done there. Corner back LaNia Charity stepped in front of a Lady Knights pass for the interception with a 12-yard return to the home team’s 18-yard-line with 7:50 to go in the third. Charity then turned to the other side of the ball as running back and took a handoff 15 yards for a touchdown to make the score 34-0.

Fullback Crystal Boyd would too get in on the scoring. After the defense forced a turnover on downs, Boyd rumbled over three Lady Knight defenders for a score to end the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, safety Keshia Cousar intercepted DMV on third down, which led to another touchdown from Gantt to end the game.

UP NEXT: The Prodigy hit the road for a rematch with the Keystone Assault on April 27th. Washington will be at Dunbar High School in northeast DC on May 4th to face the Fayetteville Fierce. Get tickets for the second to last home game HERE.

2019 Season opener: Prodigy vs. Assault

Washington (1-0) kicked off the 2019 season -- and the quest for a historic third USWFL Championship against a familiar foe, the Keystone Assault (0-1).  But unlike previous encounters with the Pennsylvania team, the Prodigy came out on top, winning 43-0.

Prodigy's defense set the tone early with a opening play sack from Antoinette Bell and a tackle for loss by team captain Shantel Wilson and rookie Ace Walker. But the offense could not turn great field position into points, as they fumbled the handoff on Keystone 5-yard-line. 

So the defense took scoring into their own hands. Defensive End Tasha Ware came up with a safety to put Washington up 2-0 with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter. That was enough to inspire the offense to get some points of their own. 

The talented backfield of Cher "Mimi" Gantt and Shantae "Tank" Barnes marched it down the field to the Keystone 20 where Mimi ran it in for the score. With the extra point the score was 9-0.

After a three and out by the visiting team, more Prodigy offensive backs wanted to get in on the run. Tank, Mimi along with fullback Crystal Boyd and running back Tierra McCormick marched the ball back down the field for Tank to run it in with a minute to go in the half. After a missed extra point, the Prodigy headed into the locker room with  15-0 lead. 

In the second half, it was the Tank show, as Barnes scored again for the home team, making the score 22 - 0 with the extra point. 

The visiting team was forced to punt on their opening series of the half, and veteran safety Keshia Cousar took that punt to the house, bringing the home team up 29-0 with the extra point. 

However, Keystone fought back, completing a 40 yard pass on their second offensive series. Coupled with two Prodigy penalties, the Assault were looking at first and 10 from the Prodigy 10 yard-line. But the bend-dont-break defense of Washington was able to keep the visitors out of the end zone, with Ware intercepting an Assault pass and returning it 15 yards the other way. 

In the final quarter of the game, the 2018 league Offensive MVP, Gantt scored a 27-yard touchdown and once again Tank punched in a touchdown from the one-yard-line for a final score of 43-0. 

NEXT UP: The Prodigy face new cross-town rival DMV Lady Knights at home on April 6 at 7pm. Get tickets HERE.

2018 USWFL Championship: Prodigy vs. North Florida Pumas

The Washington Prodigy returned to the Bristol Tennessee for the 2018 USWFL Championship looking to leave back-to-back champs. When the clock read 0:00 the Prodigy were on top after defeating the North Florida Pumas 20-0 for the title. 

Prodigy's impermeable defense took the field after the opening kickoff and forced the Pumas to punt. Defensive End Natasha Ware took advantage of the situation, blocking the punt and giving the Prodigy offense the ball at the North Florida 33 yard line. 

USWFL MVP Cheri 'Lil Mimi' Gantt started off the offensive series with a big run, followed by a facemask penalty.  From the 24 yard line, fullback Crystal Boyd ran in the first points of the game. With the extra point by Lindsey Walton, the score was 7-0 halfway through the first quarter.

On the next series, defense once again came up big, recovering a fumble on the 49 yard line.  But the Prodigy offense did not take advantage of the turnover, giving the ball back on downs.

In the second quarter, the Prodigy offense turned the ball over to the Pumas three times, including two forced fumbles and an interception.  As the clock closed in on halftime, North Florida drove the ball to the Prodigy 11 yard-line. But big play after big play the defense stepped up, holding the Pumas scoreless.

The second half looked a lot different than the first. After a 40 yard kickoff return the Prodigy offense was rolling. Gantt opened with a 16 yard run and with a face mask penalty, Washington was in Puma territory. Fullback Shawntae 'Tank' Barnes combined with Gantt to work the ball to the North Florida 20 yard-line where rookie tight end Tierra Hawkins caught a wide open pass from Quarterback Vicky Lyles to make the score 14-0 with the extra point. 

After that the Prodigy and Pumas traded three-and-outs and not much yardage was gained for either team until the fourth quarter.

The Pumas went for it on 4th and 5 from the 12 yard line but Prodigy defense pressured the quarterback for an incomplete pass. Washington's offense took advantage of the field position, with Barnes running in a touchdown from the 7 yard line.  The extra point was no good making the score 20-0.

Defensive tackle Benita Rouse intercepted a tipped ball for the final big play of the game. 

Click HERE For More on the Prodigy All-Stars & Award Winners

Prodigy at Pumas

Running back Cheri "Mimi" Gantt gets great blocks as she breaks through the Pumas defense

Running back Cheri "Mimi" Gantt gets great blocks as she breaks through the Pumas defense

Defensive End Natasha Ware gets her first of two sacks on the North Florida QB

Defensive End Natasha Ware gets her first of two sacks on the North Florida QB

Washington (5-0) took the more than 700 mile trip south to Jacksonville to take on the North Florida Pumas (3-2). Even with a few key players missing, the Prodigy were able to defeat a tough team, 26-0.

The Prodigy defense set the tone early. On the opening drive, defensive end Natasha Ware sacked the Pumas quarterback for a 8 yard loss on third down forcing a punt. But Washington had a hard time finding a rhythm on offense.  Despite several long runs from running back Cheri "Mimi" Gantt, the Prodigy could not put any points on the board in the first quarter. 

The defense, however, continued to shut down the home team. Ware got her second sack of the game followed by an interception at the 11 yard line by cornerback Ashley Botts. The short field was enough to get the offense going.  Fullback Crystal Boyd led the way scoring a touchdown on her second run of the series to make the score 6-0.

Once again, it was the defense who set up the Prodigy offense. Linebacker Ashley "Smoke" Marshall intercepted a Pumas pass at the 35 yard line. And from there the ground game took over marching the ball to the two yard line. Quarterback Victoria Lyles made the score 12-0 with the QB-sneak.

Washington linebacker Tinoi Jones, once again, brought the Prodigy offense back on the field after she forced and recovered a North Florida fumble at the 22-yard-line. Lyles then sailed a pass to Shantel "Telly" Wilson to put the Prodigy up 18-0 with less than three minutes left in the game. 

North Florida ended the half in possession, but the quarterback was sacked by Prodigy defensive end Benita Rouse.

In the second half, the Prodigy offense once again started slow but towards the end of the third quarter, passes to Keisha Cousar and runs from Gantt set up Washington at the 18 yard line.  On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Gantt ran 18 yards and tip-toed up the sideline for a touchdown. She also ran in the two-point conversion for the final points of the 26-0 game. 

NEXT UP: The Prodigy face the Carolina Queens at home on June 2nd at 7pm. In their first meeting the Prodigy handily beat the Queens 58-0.