Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Iowa Thunder Finish Regular Season 6-2

Your Iowa Thunder completed the most successful football season in Iowa Women’s Football history with a 33-14 victory on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 in Kansas City against their divisional rivals the Kansas City Spartans.

This road trip started off in a very ominous fashion with a blown tire on their charter bus that delayed their arrival to Spartan Stadium by more than one and half hours. Despite the adversity, the Thunder coaching staff took full advantage of the stop along I-35 by completing a vast majority of their pre-game walkthrough at a small truck stop. The delay along I-35 would push back the start of the contest by 20 minutes and early in the contest seemed to really affect the Thunder.

Early in the contest the Spartans struck first on a long pass play caused by a blown assignment by the Thunder secondary. This additional adversity though only seemed to awaken the Thunder in all facets of their game and shortly thereafter the Thunder regained the lead and never looked back.

Offensively the Thunder for the first time in their two year history fired on all cylinders in both the passing and rushing game at the same time. The Player of the Game for all those in attendance were the ladies of the Offensive Line of the Thunder which dealt with six and seven man rushes all evening and only gave up only one sack and helped their offense move the ball for over 420 yards (179 Passing, 241 Rushing). 2009 American Conference MVP Jennifer Boling (14 Carries, 216 Yards, 2 Touchdowns) led the rushing attack, including a team record 96 Yard touchdown in theearly part of the 4th Quarter which made the score 27-14 and surpassed her league best 1266 yards in 2009 with a 1267 yard campaign this season. Quarterback Courtney Axline (8 of 12, 154 Yards, 2 Touchdowns), who missed most of the 2010 season due to the birth of her son, Cooper, returned to her 2009 form. The entire Thunder receiving corp would get involved on this evening. Kendra Parker (3 Receptions, 83 Yards, 2 Touchdowns) would lead all receivers with the help of Sara Trammel (3 Receptions, 46 Yards), Steph Langstraat (2 Receptions, 20 Yards), Jennifer Boling (2 Receptions, 20 Yards), and Ashley Blackford (1 Reception, 10 Yards).

Offensive Coordinator Isaiah Shnurman stated after the game, “I am really proud of my offense. I wish we would have been able to get to this point earlier in the season, but the truth is that if I had to have a choice, I would not trade this season or how it has progressed for anything. We have had to overcome a lot and learn on the fly and I am so excited that we are executing the way we are going into the playoffs. The Spartans are the most athletic defense we have faced all season and playing them the last week before the playoffs and doing what we did have given us a lot of confidence.”

Defensively, the Thunder continued to show that nothing would come easy for any team they have to encounter. This year’s Defense improved upon their total points given up lowering their mark from 101 in 2009 to 99 in 2010 (14 Points given up by Offense). Linebackers Jennifer Hirakawa (16 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss) and Cindy Taft (9 Total Tackles, 1 Tackles for Loss) would lead the defense statistically. Big individual plays from Lulu Keoothai (5 Total Tackles, 3 Tackles for Loss, and 1 Fumble Recovery returned for 50 Yards), Amanda Brakke (6 Total Tackles, 2 Interceptions), and Bri Robinson (3 Total Tackles, 3 Tackles for Loss, 2 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble Recoveries) helped the defense to shut down the Spartan rushing and passing attack.

On special teams, Allie Millonig continued her amazing rookie season with a 30 yard Punt Return for a touchdown which put the game away at 33-14.

“I am so proud of my team. Our number one goal coming into this season was to improve upon our record, which we did and to make the playoffs, which we did. We have overcome a lot of adversity this year versus our 2009 season internally, but it has made us a much better team and brought us together in a way I never imagined. This is the second game in a row all three phases of our team has performed at a high level and getting to this point at this time of the season gives us a lot of confidence. We are thoroughly excited and ready to go up to Minnesota and play the Machine again at their place,” stated Head Coach William Grimes.

The Thunder (6-2) takes on the Minnesota Machine (6-2) in the opening round of the WFA playoffs on Saturday, June 26th, 2010. The Thunder would next play again with a victory over the Machine at home against the Lonestar Mustangs (8-0) or on the road versus the Pacific Warriors (7-1) depending on the results of their June 26th, 2010 contest.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Revenge Is Sweet

On Saturday at Jack Griffin Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota the order of business for the day for your Iowa Thunder was simple…..Redemption. And Redemption they would have with a final score of 21-13 evening the season series at 1-1.

“My message to my team all week was simple and clear. Control the controllable! In other words, don’t worry about the score, the conditions, the refs, or anything else besides making it your objective to one do your job and two beat the player across from you on each and every play. Football is a high speed chess match which requires every player on the field to do their job. When each individual does their job and wins the individual battle and you add those up and you have more than the other team you have won that play. When you do that all game you will typically come out on top in the end,” stated Head Coach William Grimes prior to the game.

Offensively for this battle, Offensive Coordinator Isaiah Shnurman took to a more conservative approach and relied heavily on his seasoned and extremely talented Offensive Line and stable of Running Backs. All-American Jennifer Boling (19 Carries, 124 Yards, 3 Touchdowns) along with Megan Egli (5 Carries, 24 Yards), Allie Millonig (10 Carries, 40 Yards) and Chantella Steffy (3 Carries, 8 Yards) would help the Iowa Thunder control the clock and wear down the Machine defense.

Defensively, the Thunder harassed the Machine Offense all evening and only allowed one score on the evening off of a short field. Key contributors on the defensive line were All American Bri Robinson (9 Total Tackles, 6 Tackles For Loss, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery) along with Kristy Sorg (8 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles For Loss) and Love Brown (8 Total Tackles, 1 Tackle For Loss, and .5 Sack). At Linebacker, All Americans Jennifer Hirakawa (18 Total Tackles, 3 Tackles For Loss, .5 Sacks, and 1 Forced Fumble) and Cindy Taft (14 Total Tackles, 1 Tackle For Loss) continue to put up strong statiscal numbers on the season. Other key Linebacker contributors were Megan Egli (11 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles For Loss), Chantella Steffy (11 Total Tackles, 5 Tackles For Loss) and Mook Bascomb (8 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles For Loss). The Secondary was very opportunistic on this evening with the help of Interceptions from All American Kendra Parker (6 Total Tackles, 1 Interception) and fellow Safety Teresa Moss (5 Total Tackles, 2 Interceptions).

One of the biggest factors of this contest was the punting of Rookie Punter, Allie Millonig (4 Punts, 155 Yards, 3 inside the 10) who had three kicks of over 40 yards and put the Machine inside of their own 10 yard line. This enabled the Thunder to control the battle of field position for most of the contest and aided heavily in securing this victory.

After the game, Coach Grimes was asked about the importance of this outcome. “A win is a win. I do not care if you win by 1 or 40, to me and my staff we do not care. As far as who will get home field regarding the playoffs and such it really does not matter. Both the Machine and my team have proven that location is not a factor in the outcome of this game. We have an amazing rivalry going between two very talented and well coached teams and I am excited to be playing them again in two weeks. Playing each other 3 times in one season and so close together makes things very difficult on coaches as there is really not a lot you can change or alter about your style that the other coach does not already know. Regardless of where the game is played, I am excited and I know my team is excited to get to it, but first things first and that is our game this upcoming Saturday against the Spartans in KC. Our first goal this season was to improve upon our record from last year and we have an excellent opportunity this week to do that.”

The Thunder (5-2) takes on the Kansas City Spartans (3-4) at 7pm on Saturday, June 19th, 2010. See website for complete details.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Keeping Our Heads Up!

The Iowa Thunder are coming off a tough home lose to the defending WFA National Champions, the St. Louis Slam. Here’s a stat for you sports fans…we scored 14 points against the WFA defending NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! That hasn’t happened to them a whole lot in the past two seasons.
I'm proud that we continued to play together as a team when our spirits could have been broken. We took a beating but we never stopped getting back up. This type of opportunity allows us to learn so much about the game of football. We haven’t been playing together for nine years, we’re a newer organization in the league and we will get there someday.
We had great moments of success on both offense and defense. The Thunder defense held several scoring drives made by the SLAM. Resulting in multiple punts by both teams. The Thunder offense ran a couple new formations which allowed players to work on blocking and timing. I hope you will all take a look at the link tab at check out the WFA website and see some of the amazing things we’re doing throughout the league.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Saturday, June 5th is going to be a big night in Iowa Thunder football history. We are taking on the defending WFA Champions, the St. Louis Slam. For many of us on the Thunder this is a game that we’ve been looking forward to since the start of the season. Our goal from day one this year was to earn a berth into the playoffs, which we’ve accomplished. When I look back on the other goals we set as a team, there is one thing that drove me in pre season. There is one thought that made the conditioning, the sore muscles, broken bones, bone chilling temperatures bearable. My determination and strength came knowing that we would get a rematch against the Slam.
The final time we played the Slam last year was much closer than the score indicated. We’ve been working hard as a unit over the past two weeks. I am extremely excited for the upcoming practice week and for our game next Saturday. I was sent a video clip from my old coach on one of my favorite players in the NFL, Brian “Wolverine” Dawkins. I hope you find this video as remarkable and inspirational as I found it to be. A true Christian, Dawkins displays how to play like Goliath, while acting like David.
I hope all of you have a safe and happy Memorial Day. Remember to thank your veterans and those currently serving in our armed forces. It is because of these brave individuals that we enjoy the freedoms we have. May you always be remembered!

God Bless

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Radio Show

Huge thanks to our friends Blake Derouchey and Joe Earp for having us on their radio show last night. We appreciate the opportunity to share our passion of football with the Des Moines broadcasting area. Please take a look at the hour spot we were a part of at -
- under the saved shows for Tuesday, May 25th.

We hope to get a big turn out for our last regular season home game on Saturday, June 5th against the defending national champions, the St. Louis Slam. Your Iowa Thunder have been working hard the past two weeks to prepare for this showdown. See you under the lights!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We're going to the PLAYOFFS!!!!

THUNDER MOVE TO 4-1 AND SECURE PLAYOFF BERTHThe women of the Iowa Thunder took to the gridiron once again on Saturday against their divisional foes from Kansas City, the Spartans at Blue Devil Stadium. Several firsts for women’s football in the State of Iowa were on the line as the two teams took to the field. With a victory the Thunder would become the first team in states history to post back to back non-losing seasons and more importantly they would become the first team ever in states history to secure a playoff berth. The Women’s Football Alliance was calling this the game of the week as the previous week the Spartans just fell short of defeating the Minnesota Machine in a 13-12 slugfest.
This game started off in perfect fashion for the Thunder with their high powered offense taking the field first. As one fan put it at the end of the game, “Offensively it was the Matrix and Offensive Line show!” Following a 19 yard kickoff return by Jennifer Boling (11 Carries, 256 Yards, 3 Touchdowns), aka the Matrix, the Thunder coaching staff unleashed the newest formation in their arsenal, the Wild, and the Spartans would struggle all evening. Two plays and 46 yards later the Thunder were up 7-0 behind great blocking by the offensive line and receivers and the speed of Boling. The Thunder would never look back.
The Thunder defense would take an attitude of “bend but not break” on this night. Aided by untimely miscues by the Spartans the defense would secure its second shutout of the season (3rd if you take into account the only score in the first game of the season was a fumble return for a touchdown). Defensive End Jennifer Hirakawa (17 Total Tackles, 6 Tackles for Loss, 2 Forced Fumbles, and 1 Fumble Recovery) and Free Safety Kendra Parker (14 Total Tackles) would lead the way in corralling the Spartans. Key turnovers by Cornerback Amanda Braake (2 Interceptions) and Defensive End Love Brown (2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery) would secure the victory 24-0.
The Thunder has three weeks off before there next contest at home versus the WFA Defending National Champion St. Louis Slam at Blue Devil Stadium on June 5th. “I am excited for my team that we secured this victory and once again established ourselves as the innovators in the sport of women’s football in this state. This time off could not have come soon enough as we have been struggling with some major injuries that have limited some of our key personnel. We will look to take the next couple of weeks and get everyone healthy and prepared for the last three games before heading into the playoffs,” stated Head Coach William Grimes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I’ve had an amazing opportunity over this past week to reflect on a single word, family.
According to Wikipedia, In human context, a family (from Latin: familiare) is an exclusive group of people who share a close relationship —a unit typically (or "traditionally") composed of a mated couple and their dependent children (procreation) in co-residence.
Blake, my cousin from California, recently stayed with us for a few days. It’s funny how a change in routine/pace can shape your whole attitude. Blake’s attitude is contagious. From the moment he landed in Des Moines I wasn’t able to wipe the smile off my face. Blake and I are more like brother and sister then cousins. For a period of time, it felt like he was the only family I had. We’ve been through so many ups and downs together in the short 25 years we’ve known each other.
Anyways, Blake was in town and was super excited to meet the women I play football with. He joined us at our Friday night practice to meet the team. Watching my football family and my real family come together was such a treat! It’s difficult for me to describe how much Blake means to me and what an influence he has had on the person I’ve become. I wasn’t expecting my teammates to understand exactly what I was feeling but somehow, someway, they just did.
Blake was able to make it to our game on Saturday against the Nebraska Stampede. I felt anxious, nervous and exhilarated all at the same time during that game. We had some healing to do as a team and I also had some healing to do with my family. For the next two hours we all played our hearts out. We finally got all eleven of us out there on that field to click, it was absolutely the most fantastic game I’ve been involved in since joining the Iowa Thunder back in 2008.
So I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to my Thunder Family. Thank you for helping me heal and thank you for being there. All of you hold such a special place in my heart and I’m so proud to have you as my FAMO!

Home Game This Saturday

The Iowa Thunder are getting ready to take on the Kansas City Spartans this Saturday, May 15th at 5:00 PM. Despite a never ending thunderstorm over Iowa this past week; making practice conditions difficult, the Thunder are ready to once again prove they are the best in their division.
Coming off a win over the Nebraska Stampede, Iowa Thunder are sitting well in their division and look forward to earning their first ever birth into the WFA play-offs.

Iowa Thunder are 3-1


On Saturday, the Thunder faced off for their second time against divisional opponent the Nebraska Stampede in Ralston, NE.
This game from the beginning would be dominated by phantom referee calls costing the Thunder not only excellent field position, but also a 56 yard punt return touchdown by WR/FS Kendra Parker. Despite the obvious 12th man the Stampede had with on the field, the Thunder’s stingy defense and explosive offense would not be held back.
Quarterback Angela Schraeder connected with WR/FS Kendra Parker for a 32 yard strike to make the score 7-0 late in the first quarter. DE Jennifer Hirakawa, who in this game played in more of an outside linebacker roll would pick off two passes in the second quarter that led to a 12 yard run by TB Jennifer Boling to make the score 14-0 going into the half.
At halftime, Head Coach William Grimes and Offensive Coordinator Isaiah Shnurman decided to go double tight and pound the Stampede defense and run the clock. TB Jennifer Boling and FB Lulu Keoouthai would rip off big yardage including an amazing 51 yard touchdown run by Boling that put away the game in the middle of the third quarter.
The Stampede would eventually score on a broken assignment by the Thunder defense that made the score 21-6 late in the fourth quarter, but as most great teams do the Thunder would respond. With less than 21 seconds left in the game, the Stampede chose to kickoff instead of going for the onside kick. RB/DB Allie Millonig picked up the kick and scampered down the sideline for a 66 yard touchdown and a final score of 28-6.
“Despite what seemed like us most of the game playing not only against the Stampede but also the refs, I am very proud of my team. You always know that playing on the road and playing someone for the second time is going to be a tough thing to do. The Stampede are a team that is improving every week they play and as I told them when we circled up at the end of the game. Keep working, the wins come eventually.” Stated Head Coach William Grimes following the game.
The Thunder are at home on May 8, 2010 at 5pm at Martensdale-St. Mary’s Blue Devil Stadium against the Kansas City Spartans

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We've Got Player Cards!

The Iowa Thunder would like to give a huge thank you to team photographer, Robbie Lydic, for the amazing pictures he’s taken at our last two home games. We appreciate all the time and effort he’s made capturing our passion of football. Recently, Robbie even made Iowa Thunder player cards. It is extremely awesome to have these moments captured and on display. Thank you Robbie for all that you do!