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.