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!