The Legends Football League featured one of the best rivalries in the game on Saturday night, in a fierce battle between the Los Angeles Temptation and the Seattle Mist. This was the third game this season between the two Western Conference front-runners and both previous contests featured a one-point margin of victory, with each team stealing a win on the road. Though the score was not as close as those first two games, this game featured some incredible highlights and both teams laid it all out on the field, as a playoff berth for victor was on the line.
Both LA and Seattle were missing some key starters on Saturday night. The Temptation’s quarterback Ashley Salerno and center Laura Barba were not in the lineup and Salerno’s presence was certainly missed for the second straight game. The Mist did not have safety Lily Granston and they were still without starting defensive-end Deanna Schaper-Kotter and corner-back Lashaunda Fowler, but some players have stepped up big for the Mist. Katie Whelan has played great in her last two games at defensive-end, as she recorded four solo tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack on Saturday night, and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery against the Sin two weeks ago in a game that she also had multiple tackles one of which was a tackle-for-a-loss. The addition of Mele Gilmore also helped both offensively and defensively and it is clear the Seattle’s depth has answered the call so far this season.
Los Angeles started out on offense and quarterback Michelle Angel was ready to lead the Temptation offense in her second career start behind center. However, LA could not get much going and after a quick turnover on downs, Seattle took over on the LA 24 yard line, with just over two minutes into the first quarter.
After a Mele Gilmore 2 yard run and a Danika Brace 5 yard run, the trash-talk and physical shoving had already begun between the two rivals. On a third and three, KK Matheny found Jessica Hopkins in the flats, who caught the ball at the 18 yard-line, then sidestepped and shuffled by three defenders, as the veteran wide-receiver made her way down to the five yard-line. The next play Matheny found her receiver Bryn Renda in the back of the end-zone for the first score of the game. After a failed extra-point attempt, the Mist took a 6-0 lead.
During the drive quarterback KK Matheny took two big hits from the rookie defensive-end Naja Christmas. Both times Matheny has grabbed her towel and stood back up displaying the fearlessness the 5’2” and 120 pound quarterback has on the field. Though Matheny has only been sacked once this season, she has been on the receiving end of nearly a dozen hits by LA’s Naja Christmas and Kimm Chase, who are not showing any signs of making an effort to slow up after she releases the ball, so Matheny knows that she will need to take some hits in the pocket.
LA took over on their own fifteen yard-line with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter and after a seven yard Carmen Bourseau rush on first down, Seattle’s Katie Whelan sacked Angel for an eleven yard loss on the next play. Two plays later on fourth and thirteen, Angel connected with Monique Gaxiola for a five yard gain after Gaxiola was hit hard by defender Stevi Schnoor. Seattle’s defense again forced LA to turn the ball over on downs after just four plays.
The Temptation defense started the next series at their own 17 yard-line looking to stop the Seattle offense. After a Gilmore rush for no gain and three incomplete passes in a row by Matheny, LA quickly got the ball back with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The great defensive stop was exactly what LA needed to get the momentum rolling.
From their own 17 yard-line, the LA offense began a six play drive where it was nearly all Carmen Bourseau who led the 33 yard drive. After two Bourseau runs for a combined 10 yards, Angel threw an incomplete pass to Monica Jaramilo on first down. After a 5 yard run by Sherri Awagah and a pass that went for no gain to Monica Jaramilo, LA had a fourth and five on the Seattle 18 yard-line. On the play Bourseau got by the right side of the Mist defense, using the great blocks by Monique Gaxiola and Chelsey Haardt, and ran the ball nearly untouched for an 18 yard touchdown. After a Bourseau run attempt was good for the extra-point, LA took a 7-6 lead on Seattle.
The Mist quickly answered two plays later when Matheny was under pressure and made a spin move on defenders Naja Christmas and Kimm Chase, as she evaded the rush and then connected with Bryn Renda for a 31 yard touchdown completion. Matheny resembles the NFL’s Russell Wilson more and more, as she is able to use her legs to extend plays to find the open receivers. After another failed extra-point attempt, Seattle took a 12-7 lead over LA with 6:32 remaining in the first half.
The last six minutes of the half were a must see, as the big plays and momentum swing for Seattle going into the half was huge for the Mist. LA took the lead after a great seven play scoring drive that ate up four minutes of the clock, after Sherri Awagah found the end-zone on a nine yard run. A failed extra point had LA up by a score of 13-12 with 2:29 remainig.
After a six play drive that ended with a turnover on downs by Seattle on the LA 19 yard-line, LA had the ball back with 41 seconds remaining at half to try and extend their one point lead. However, on second down Angel fumbled the ball after a Megan Hanson hit, and Seattle’s Katie Whelan recovered at the LA 18 yard-line. With 23 seconds remaining the Mist got down the field to the LA one-yard line on two plays after a Chelsey Haardt pass interference and a Matheny pass complete to Hanson for an 8 yard gain. On the next play Renda took the handoff and ran around the left side finding the end-zone following a great open-field block by Hopkins. After a third failed attempt at an extra point Seattle took an 18-13 lead over LA going into the half.
After half-time Seattle received the kick-off and started a six play scoring drive from their own 15 yard-line, where on third and five from the LA 13 yard-line Matheny found Jessica Hopkins for a 13 yard touchdown pass which extended their lead to a two-score difference, 24-13 after another failed extra-point attempt.
By the way the game was going, no one would have guessed that score would have been the final score of the game, but the remainder of the second half was nearly all great defensive play by both teams.
The next LA drive ended after three plays, when Danika Brace intercepted Angel’s pass and returned it down to the LA 12 yard-line. The Temptation defense made a terrific stop after keeping the Mist offense out of the end-zone after four plays.
LA then started a 10 play drive that took up 7:11 off the clock but they failed to reach the end-zone. That drive showcased by far one of the most dominant defensive performances as Danika Brace recorded seven tackles, three of which were smashing highlight-reel hits. Keep an eye out this week for a wow clip that features the wrath of that defensive series, led by Brace.
Seattle took over with 3:39 remaining and was able to pound the ball downfield with the legs of Stevi Schnoor. After the game clock had ran out on a two yard gain Seattle had defeated LA and took the season series 2-1 against their rivals in the Western Conference. These two teams put together three great games with unbelievable effort on both sides of the ball. Many fans are hoping for a rematch in the playoffs with both teams fielding a healthy roster, for another epic showdown between the Temptation and Mist. In order for that to happen, Los Angeles needs to regroup and focus on the other dangerous threat in the West, the Las Vegas Sin.
The Western Conference now stands at Seattle 3-1, Los Angeles 2-2, and Las Vegas 0-2. Next week the schedule features the Eastern Conference match-up between the Omaha Heart and the Atlanta Steam. After the league bye week, the Western Conference play returns when the Las Vegas Sin host the Los Angeles Temptation at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on Thursday July, 23rd. Las Vegas needs to win their next three games for a playoff spot, otherwise LA will face Seattle in the Western Conference playoff game August 15th in Chicago.
– Text by Colton Cull, originally posted on LFL360.com
Don't miss the latest Legends Football League games every Saturday at 9/8c, only on Fuse.
Find Fuse in your area with our channel finder.