Renegades heading back to WFA Pro National Conference Championship

Image courtesy of Boston Renegades

One down, one to go.

Despite a roller coaster regular season that the franchise hadn’t experienced in years, when the Renegades took the field at Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere on Saturday night for a first round playoff matchup against the D.C. Divas, everyone was 0-0.

The five-time defending WFA Pro division champions didn’t blowout the Divas like they have in most of their previous meetings, but a few key stops late for the defense – particularly from  Kylee O’Connor during the final drive of the game – helped Boston prevail 27-20.

The Renegades (5-2) will now head to face the 7-0 Pittsburgh Passion in a conference title game on July 13th with the winner of that game moving on to the championship game in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I’ve been bouncing around a lot this season and my heart is in the defense. I love that side of the ball so much and I was so happy to be able to contribute there,” O’Connor said. “Towards the end of the game when it really became crunch time, just trying to stay disciplined, look to (John Johnson) for a signal…I think ultimately it was our cohesion and communication on defense that enabled me to know my job, know where to focus and make the play in the end.”

Boston built a 14-7 lead after one thanks to a 10 yard TD catch for Stephanie Pascual (5/25/1 TD) from Megan McFadden (13-18/160/1 TD/1 INT) and a four yard TD run for Katie Falkowski sandwiched around a 10 yard TD pass for D.C. The Divas cut it to 14-13 in the second but missed the PAT. The score remained there until a three yard TD run for Pascual in the third and a failed two point attempt made it 20-13. Ruth Matta added an eight yard TD run in the frame and a Maggie Barden PAT pushed it to 27-13.

Matta was a force in the passing game all night too, especially in the screen game. Matta finished with 70 yards rushing on 12 carries and 107 yards receiving on just four receptions, including a 74 yard catch and run.

The offense sputtered in the third, but the defense did the rest in the fourth, getting the late stop in the red zone to secure a seven-point win and a trip back to the conference championship.

Boston lost to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago on the road, a game that ended up determining home field advantage for this next matchup. The Renegades have hosted the game before ‘the game’ for years now, but in a season of new challenges, this is just another one that’ll be added to the list.

“People have been saying this season that the Renegades aren’t the Renegades no more,” said Solina Pascual, who racked up a ridiculous 15 tackles and a sack. “I love being the underdog and I love when people count me out, so when they step on the field they’re going to feel me. They’re going to feel us. They’re going to feel the defense and that’s exactly what we gave them.”

“I think these next four practices, we’ll just be so dialed in,” added O’Connor. “We’re going to bring the energy…we need to practice how we play. I think we’re a lot more confident and cohesive as a team on both sides of the ball heading into Pittsburgh this time around. I have all the confidence in the world in this team.”

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