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!

Monday, May 3, 2010


On Saturday, the Iowa Thunder hosted their divisional rival the Minnesota Machine at Martensdale-St. Mary’s Blue Devil Stadium. This contest was setup as a Battle for Bragging Rights and the winner would hold a firm grip on the outcome of the Midwest Division of the Women’s Football Alliance.
The game began has many anticipated with both offenses struggling to find any kind of consistency against stout defenses on both sides. Coach Grimes of the Thunder said before the game, “This game will come down to a couple of key things. First and foremost we cannot make the mental mistakes that plagued us last year in the second contest against the Machine in Minnesota and second can we contain Machine Quarterback Kim Miller. Miller is a rare player that is a converted running back to Quarterback that still possesses a great ability to run and make the big play."
The entire first quarter would see the Thunder and Machine trade big hit after big hit. The Machine would strike first however in the 2nd quarter when they put together an impressive 74 yard drive behind the strong running of Miller and Tailback Yolanda Searcy. Penalties and issues with the Machine’s formation would eventually end with a great five yard touchdown run by Machine Fullback Melisa Schuelter. The Machine would hold that score into halftime.
At halftime, Coach Grimes of the Thunder was forced to make a decision that few Coaches would make. Defensive End/Linebacker Jennifer Hirakawa who had five solo tackles and two assists which helped to contain the Machine offense in the first half suffered an injury. Despite Hirakawa’s known toughness and guile, Coach Grimes along with his training staff made the decision to sit her in the second half. “As I told the players after the game, this is just one game and in all the years I have played and coached football one game does not make a season. There was no point in me risking further injury to a player,” stated Grimes when asked after the game.
Even with Hirakawa out of the game the 2nd Half started in a fashion that left the fans at Blue Devil Stadium thinking this was still the Thunder’s night. Cornerback Allie Millonig picked off Miller and stormed down the sideline for a 57 yard touchdown that tied the score at 7-7 and gave new life to the Thunder.
As many good teams do when faced with this situation, the Machine responded with a quick strike by Miller that led to a 14-7 score and deflated the Thunder’s hopes of coming back on this night. In the 2nd half the Thunder made many mental mistakes on Offense and Defense which allowed the Machine to burn almost 22 minutes of the 2nd half and a final score of 21-7.
After the game Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Isaiah Shnurman stated, “I hope this loss will prove to be a positive. I know that sounds crazy, but sometimes when you loss you actually gain more, because it drives you to become a better individual player and a better team as a whole. We are a very confident team and we know what we are capable of doing. It really boils down to not making mental mistakes. In any football game when you have two good teams, the one that makes the most mistakes will lose most of the time. We made far too many mistakes in every facet of the game. Like Coach Grimes said after the game to the team, this game is over, not the season. We still have the opportunity to win out the year and win the division. We have work to do this week.”
The Thunder’s next game is this Saturday, May 8th in Nebraska at 1pm.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking it one day at a time

Take it one day at a time. These are the words that keep echoing in my head. Here we are, two games into the season, and I’m on the sideline. A torn meniscus last weekend left me unable to play. So I take it day by day, one day at a time. Waiting for my body to heal. Waiting to test my strength, speed, pain tolerance….it’s almost too much. It took me till today to log on to write a post for the blog. I’ve had SO many emotions the past 72 hours. I’ve worked so hard to prepare my body and to prepare my mind for this season, and I’m not alone. We have suffered our fare amount of injuries throughout the year. There isn’t one player on this team that wouldn’t be missed if they were no longer able to play. “Play every down like it’s your last because you never know when that final play will be.” I’m not ready for it to have been my final play. I’m NOT ready for that to have been my final down. I will get back to where I want to be, and continue by taking it day by day.


On Saturday, the Iowa Thunder faced off against divisional opponent, the Nebraska Stampede in their home opener at beautiful Martensdale-St. Mary’s Blue Devil Stadium. Head Coach William Grimes said before the contest, “My players and staff are chomping at the bit to get back at it today. Most teams would have been thrilled with our victory over the Spartans, but the truth is while we were happy to get the win, we were not happy with how we got it and we intend to make a statement today.”
This night the only thing that would not seem to favor the Thunder was Mother Nature. Driving rain would consume the majority of this contest, virtually making throwing the ball from the middle of the second quarter to the end of the game impossible.

Following the opening kickoff, the Thunder opened the night with a 51 yard touchdown run by tailback Jennifer Boling (16 Carries, 238 Yards, 3 TD’s, 1 Reception, 14 Yards) through a gaping hole provided by Center Kerri Gray and Right Guard Kristy Sorg. With only 33 seconds off the game clock the score stood at 7-0. This would be the first of 7 offensive touchdowns on the night as the Thunder Offense set out to correct mistakes from the previous week. The Offensive Line (Kerri Gray, Kristy Sorg, Marci Wilson, Dee Horn, and Lori Yoder) would dominate the line of scrimmage and enable Offensive Coordinator, Isaiah Shnurman to call just about any play he wanted. Quarterback Angela Schraeder would connect with Wide Receiver’s Sara Trammell and Steph Langstraat for touchdown passes and Fullback Lulu Keoouthai would add touchdown runs of 16 and 2 yards.

The Stampede could do very little against the Thunder Defense which has yet to yield a point and once again finished the night yielding negative yardage (-37) for a total of -50 yards given up on the season. Linebackers Cindy Taft (13 Tackles), Mook Bascomb (13 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Sack), and Chantella Steffy (9 Tackles) along with Defensive End Jennifer Hirakawa (11 Tackles, 1 Sack, and 5 Hurries) and Defensive Tackle Bri Robinson (7 Tackles, 4 Tackles for Loss, and 1 Forced Fumble) would harass Stampede Quarterback Ashley Diehm and disrupt blocking assignments. Defensive Backs Teresa Moss (11 Tackles, 2 Pass Defense), Amanda Brakke (4 Tackles, 6 Pass Defense) and Allie Millonig (3 Tackles, 1 Pass Defense, and 1 Interception for 38 yards) would only allow a single reception on the night and Millonig’s interception set up a Fullback Keoouthai’s 2 yard touchdown. Defensive Coordinator Ron Crowdis commented following the game, “We did a good job tonight of getting to the ball carrier and harassing the quarterback, but we still have things we have to work on before our contest this week with Minnesota.”
The Thunder (2-0) is at home this Saturday at 5pm versus the Minnesota Machine (1-1).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A HUGE thank you to the towns of Martensdale and St. Mary's

Many of you have probably heard of Martensdale-St. Mary's but probably have never been. This community south of West Des Moines off of exit 56 is absolutely amazing. They have welcomed the Iowa Thunder into their communities and have made us feel like a part of them. Last night we held our normal Wednesday evening practice. a journalist from the Indianola Tribune came out to take pictures and talk with staff/players. It is so nice to feel involved and having people take notice. Our season home opener is this Saturday, April 24th at 5:00 PM. I cannot wait to see everyone out there ready to support not only the Iowa Thunder but Martensdale-St. Mary's as well.

Here is a copy of the article. It can also be found on-line:

Women's football thunders into Warren County
Women’s full-tackle football is coming to Martensdale.Officials with the Iowa Thunder women’s football team said the team will play its home games at the new Martensdale-St. Marys Community School District athletic stadium in 2010. The first home game is at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 24.The Thunder played their first season last year at Johnston High School. William Grimes, head coach and founder, said he moved the team partly because of facility costs, but also because they didn’t feel a lot of support from the Des Moines area community.“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play at Martensdale,” Grimes said in an announcement this week. “...We are already seeing a huge amount of excitement from the cities of Martensdale and St. Marys and we have always wanted to find a location that would take us in and make us part of the local community.”The Iowa Thunder have four home games scheduled this year. Team officials are offering free season passes at the April 24 game for anyone who has family or children attending Martensdale-St. Marys Community School District. They also play May 1, May 15 and June 5. All games have a 5 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 13 to 18, and free for children 12 and under. This season, residents of Indianola, Norwalk and other surrounding cities can get two-for-one tickets, said Grimes.“It’s kind of to get everybody coming out, and once they see what we’re about we’ll go from there,” Grimes said.The Thunder’s roster includes two players from Indianola and one player from Martensdale. The team’s offensive line coach and two physical trainers are also from Martensdale.Martensdale school officials are excited to draw players and fans to their new 750-seat venue, said Jean Peterson, superintendent.“We were hoping to have more outside people take a look at our school district, and then maybe have a favorable impression of us and have their kids start coming here,” Peterson said. “We thought, the more we could do to promote our school district (the better.)”
Grimes said he hopes to pack many more than 750 people into the stadium. He hopes they’ll be standing along the sidelines and bringing their own chairs with them. Two of the four games at Johnston drew 1,000 spectators, another drew about 800 people and the fourth game - in heavy rain - brought about 350 people, he said.The field agreement between Martensdale schools and the Iowa Thunder has the team paying $400 per game for four home games. They also contribute 30 percent of concession revenues to the district. The team can practice twice a week on the field at no cost, Peterson said.The agreement also includes a three-year renewable option. Peterson said school board members wanted to see how things go the first year before deciding on additional years.The Thunder are part of the Midwest Division of the Women’s Football Alliance. The other teams are the Minnesota Machine, the Kansas City Spartans and the Nebraska Stampede, according to the alliance’s Web site,

~We hope to make ALL of you proud!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spartans Struck by Thunder Storm

Below is a media recap after our first game. You can also view this article on our website -

On Saturday, the Iowa Thunder kicked off their season on the road against their divisional rival the Kansas City Spartans at Shawnee North District High School in Overland Park, KS. The Thunder enters this season with high expectations and a desire to set a tone from day one that they fully intend to be in the mix for the Midwest Divisional Crown.
This game would prove to be a defensive battle from the outset. The Spartans, who are loaded with former defensive standouts from the powerful Oklahoma City Lightning of the now defunct NWFA were able to contain the high powered attack of the Thunder most of this night. Most of the first quarter was a back and forth battle of wills between two teams for field position. The loss of All American Center, Kerri Gray on the first play of the game due to injury seemed to throw off one of the top offenses in the WFA from getting any kind of rhythm. With the loss of Gray, the Thunder plagued themselves early with dropped passes, penalties, and missed assignments. Finally, late in the 2nd quarter, Offensive Coordinator, Isaiah Shnurman went to his bread and butter and Thunder finally struck. The Thunder Offensive Line was able to get 2009 WFA MVP Jennifer Boling outside on a sweep and a devastating pancake block by Fullback Lulu Keo on the only available tackler for the Spartans led to a 22 yard touchdown.
The Thunder would follow up this touchdown several minutes later with another 11 yard touchdown by Boling to make the score 13-0. Two series later, with only seconds remaining at the end of the 1st half, Head Coach William Grimes used his timeouts effectively to secure the ball from the Spartans with only 3.4 seconds left. A 30 yard field goal that went sailing through the up rights with no time left on the clock which sent the Thunder into the half with a 16-0 lead.
The second half would continue to be a defensive struggle with neither offense able to score and both defenses scoring on fumble returns. The Thunder Defense would end the night by giving up a total of -13 yards on the night and taking away the ball 10 times from the Spartans. Defensive Coordinator, Ron Crowdis stated, “We had a season’s worth of takeaways in one night and a defensive touchdown.” While the offense of the Thunder was unable to put it in the end zone in the second half, they were able to eat up a lot of the clock and retain field position for their defense.
When asked after the game about his team’s performance, Coach William Grimes responded, “I am always happy when we win, but I am not happy about our performance and I know my players and coaching staff feel the same way as we have very high expectations and goals for ourselves. As a Football Coach, you always have a chance if you can win two of the three areas between Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Tonight we won the defensive and special team’s areas and they carried us to victory. My Defense did an amazing job, but if you told me before the game that we would get 10 turnovers and only score 22 points, I would have laughed. My kicker, Kendra Parker and punter, Allie Millonig did an excellent job of securing field position and Parker’s 30 Yard field goal as time ran out at the end of the second quarter was huge. Several Rookies came up huge for us tonight as well. Marcie Wilson, who never took a snap at Center was forced into the game after Gray went down and did an amazing job. Defensive Back Alexis Pena’s interception and Linebacker Amanda Alden’s fumble recovery for a touchdown were huge. I am a firm believer that in any championship run you will always face a game or two where nothing seems to work and you are forced to rely on pure grit and determination to win. To win a championship, you must win even the ugly games when things just do not seem to be going your way. Tonight was one of those nights for our offense and some other areas and it is my responsibility to get it fixed.”
The Thunder was led by All-Americans Jennifer Hirakawa (DE/LB) (16 total tackles, 4 Tackles for Loss, 3 Sacks, and 7 Forced Fumbles), Cindy Taft (LB) (12 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 2 Forced Fumble, and 4 Fumble Recoveries), and Brianna Robinson (DT) (10 total tackles, 4 Tackles for Loss, 2 Forced Fumbles, and 2 Hurries).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thunder Capture First Win of the Season!!!!

Iowa Thunder came home with their first win of the season on the road against the Kansas City Spartans! The Thunder won 22-8 despite it being the first game of the season, on the road, with players in new positions. Everyone did an amazing job and I’m so proud of this team. However, I forgot to get the license plate number off the semi that ran me over last night. I forgot how sore I am the day after a game. I was pretty positive after pre season that I had worked every possible muscle in my body, apparently there were a few I forgot to work out the past two months.

We had players step up big time last night in positions they had never played. Our rookie players and veteran players alike got all the jitters worked out, and we’re looking forward to our home opener next weekend against the Nebraska Stampede. Kick-off is set for 5:00 PM at Martensdale-St.Mary’s.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Days, Just TWO DAYS!!!

We are two days away from the official start to our 2010 season and I’m so excited. I’ve been on this constant buzz since I woke up Monday morning. I could do without all the anxious energy, makes sleeping a little difficult, but it’s a feeling that I wouldn’t change for the world. I am SO PROUD (insert the emotions from ISU Head Football Coach, Paul Rhoads’, victory speech after beating Nebraska at Lincoln in the 2009 season…”I am so proud, I am so proud…) of our football team.
We have been working our butts off since the beginning of January. Watching this transformation take place has been an inspiration. Looking at these women, we are all from different walks of life, become a family in this short amount of time….AWESOME is the only word I can use to describe what I’ve been fortunate enough to witness.
We have put our sweat, tears, and yes, even blood into this sport. Pushing ourselves both physically and mentally the past four months and it’s all about to unfold. This is the portion of writing a blog that becomes difficult for me. It’s impossible for me to accurately depict to you, the reader, what it’s like for us as a team when things click. All of a sudden you look around on the field. You see the player on your right, the player on your left, and all synapses are firing. That players block, or that players drop, our the route your receiver ran, it flows and creates this beautiful living chess match. I realize that might sound over the top but for me, personally, it’s what I see and how I feel.
We’ve only been playing football for an extremely short period of time. We didn’t grow up playing in the pee wee leagues or in high school. Half of us only threw a football around at a family tailgate when we were younger. Yet, here we are. One of the highest ranked women’s football teams in the WFA and we’re from Iowa. I’d say we have plenty to be proud of. It’s my great honor to introduce the 2010 Iowa Thunder Women’s football team. I hope you enjoy our photos and check out our player bio’s as the season continues. More pictures can be seen at!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Iowa Thunder and Iowa Barnstormers

We’re looking forward to a great night of football here in Des Moines, Iowa. The Iowa Thunder have partner with Wells Fargo for fundraising events throughout the year. Tonight members of the Iowa Thunder will be continuing with our fundraising efforts, while other players will be enjoying the game. Our Iowa Barnstorms will be taking on Chicago tonight at 7:00 PM at the Well. Hope to see you at the game!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Update on the Field

My teammate, Mook, kindly pointed out to me that I had the wrong exit posted on here. The Iowa Thunder will be playing the 2010 season at the new, state of the art, athletics complex out at Martensdale-St. Mary’s. 10 minutes South of Des Moines off of exit 56. Turn left and head towards the town of Martensdale when you get off the exit. Stadium will be on the left hand side about a mile down the road (take your first available left and it will take you right to the field).

We're Getting Recognition Iowa!

It might not seem like a big deal but we’ve put a lot of time, energy and work into getting our name out there. I am so happy to finally see the team getting the recognition it deserves. Iowa Sports Connection did a small clip on the team -

We’re always looking for new ways and suggestions to get our name out to the public. We’ve done fundraising, benefits (my favorite was our Susan G. Komen Kick For The Cure Game), team meet and greets, anything and everything to get our name out there. If you have suggestions please send me your comments.

It’s a great feeling to be ranked 4th but that doesn’t mean the work stops, ever. Last weekend the Iowa Thunder traveled down to Kansas City for our first pre-season game. We played in a controlled scrimmage environment and learned a ton. We learned that we still have a lot of work to do in areas, and we also learned how far our rookies have come. We have a talented group of athletes this year; quick on their feet but also mentally. We were able to go back to the “drawing” board this past week and fine tune some areas in preparation for practice this Saturday.

After the scrimmage we took Sunday to unwind, take team photos and have a special teams practice. Look for updated photos coming soon on our website –

It felt so nice to finally get out there and kick again. It’s been almost a year since I was out on the field kicking through the uprights. Last year I set a league record 36 yard field goal. This year, with the help of the coaching staff and a little push from Mother Nature (5 MPHW) I kicked 38 yards during practice. Have to keep my focus and keep getting better.

The Thunder will be taking this Sunday off in observance of Easter. We wish you and yours a very safe and joyous holiday. Look forward to seeing you under the lights!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is This Heaven?

No, but its close, this is Iowa. I happen to love living in the Midwest but weather seems to always play a gigantic factor when planning any event outdoors. Last year during our football season we played in sleet, freezing cold, monsoon rains and blazing heat. So why should this year start off any different?
The Iowa Thunder players don’t receive special circumstance just because we’re female athletes. In fact, we’ve been practicing outside since the first weekend in February. Frost bite is always a concern but we’ve learned little tricks along the way. Wearing a plastic grocery bag between socks to keep water out, bringing multiple pairs of hand warmers, and knowing that you can never wear too many layers are just a few. So what happens when Mother Nature decides to dump six beautiful inches of glistening white onto our field……the shovels come out! These pictures were taken just this past weekend and now the weather is in the mid 50’s.
Our competition is still practicing inside!
All hands on deck for clearing the field before practice

We are all anxiously preparing for the upcoming weekend. This Saturday we will be traveling to our first pre season game, funny how the nerves never seem to go away. While we will prepare for this weekend as though it were a league game, we’ve actually been afforded the opportunity of a controlled scrimmage. Each team will have the opportunity to stop play when needed to correct things before the season gets underway. After Saturday’s matchup, the Thunder will travel back home and prepare for team pictures the following day. Lots of exciting news still to come as this season starts to get moving!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to the Blog of the Iowa Thunder Women's Professional Football Team!

Hi, I’m Kendra and this is my husband, Doug.
We’ve been married for four months and we are Weekend Warriors. I discovered a tryout poster for a women’s professional football team at our local gym. Having just completed our last year of 3v3 outdoor soccer tournaments, I was looking for my next competitive sporting endeavor. Nineteen months ago I went to my first football tryout. I was armed with nothing more than a pair of soccer cleats and a passion for the game. I remember walking into the stadium, my stomach doing flip flops. I was extremely nervous to compete in a sport I had never played. I knew I wasn’t very good at throwing a ball but what if I couldn’t catch one? What if what I thought was blazing speed, back in my college days, had turned into a sluggish pace? Would I be able to compete, would they want me on the team?
Well, it turns out you don’t have to be Jerome Bettis, Al Toon or Brian Dawkins to be able to play this sport. You do, however, need a desire to learn and a willingness to exert tremendous amounts of mental energy. “Football is nothing more than a game of high speed chess.” Our Owner and Head Coach, William Grimes, often makes this statement throughout the season. Think about it, football is more mentally challenging than it is physically….tell me that after I’ve taken my fifth Ibuprofen and am on my seventh bag of ice…..but in all seriousness, he’s one hundred percent correct. So, after three combines in the Summer/Fall of 2008 I became a professional women’s football player. I naturally gave my husband no other choice than to join me for this adventure. He’s now into his second year of coaching and serves as both the Defensive Back and Special Teams coach for our team.
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this. I’ve been tasked to create a blog that gives an inside look at what it means to play for the Iowa Thunder. A task I hope to do justice and also provide good representation of professional women athletes. Throughout our season you’ll be given an inside look into our world, the different paths that lead us here, as well as, our joys and pains over the next four months.
First, I’d like to address some commonly asked questions we receive when people first hear about our team. We are Iowa’s only women’s professional football team. We are also the only winning team in state history. Something we take extremely serious and carry with us at all times. We play by NFL regulation rules with two exceptions:
1. We kick off from the 40 yard line
2. We only need one foot to be kept in bounds
We have the same calls and penalties that you would find in any game. This is not touch football or powder puff and it’s definitely not lingerie football.

(first down) (block below the knee) (pass interference) (my personal favorite, touchdown)
We wear REAL gear. Our uniforms are complete with helmets, mouth piece, shoulder pads, hip-thigh-knee and tail pads, etc.

We come in all different shapes and sizes that enable us to specialize in different positions. For example, I play Free Safety, Wide Receiver and I’m also the kicker. Our roster this year has several returning All-Americans from last year, as well as, the league’s most valuable player. We’ve added several talented new rookies to this year’s roster and are excited for our first pre season game next weekend. For complete roster information and player positions, please visit our website at
All home games will be played at the new stadium in Martensdale-St.Marys. Directly South of Des Moines 15 minutes, off of exit 52. We look forward to seeing you this season under the lights!

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi