New York 35 @ Bay State 0

Medford, Massachusetts, June 12, 2004
Nothing was on the line except for pride and a few records as the New York Sharks (8-0) traveled back to New England to take on the Bay State Warriors (0-8) in the last game of the regular season. New York had already clinched the top seed in the playoffs last week in Rhode Island, but the Sharks were looking for their third consecutive season of going undefeated in the regular season.

It was a beautiful afternoon in Massachusetts. The skies were clear and the temperature was in the low 70’s.

The Sharks started off by winning the coin toss and quickly went to work. Starting at mid-field, New York quickly moved down the field with a mixture of running and passing plays. The Sharks had moved the ball all the way down to the Bay State 9-yard line when a pitchout was fumbled and the Warriors recovered the ball. Bay State had dodged the bullet but it wasn’t long before the next bullet came their way.

The Warriors were able to move the ball to their own 30-yard line. Most of the yards coming when quarterback Robin Mazen ran to her right downfield for 5-yards and then lateraled the ball back to running back Nikki Valila who picked up another 15 more yards. But on the next play, Veronica “Vicious” Simmons broke through the line and sacked Mazen for an 8-yard loss. Things got worse when Bay State fumbled the handoff and the Sharks recovered the ball on the Warrior’s 20-yard line.

The game was marked with numerous fumbles, mainly by the Warriors who lost 5 fumbles in the game.

New York did not squander this opportunity. Quarterback Val Halesworth was in fine form as she was near perfect in the game completing 11 of 13 pass attempts for 120 yards. By the end of the day, Halesworth had thrown for over 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year. A feat not performed by any IWFL player. On this drive, she connected twice before hitting receiver Jen Blum in the endzone with a 5-yard pass. The Sharks went for the 2-point conversion and Halesworth hit Missy Marmorale at the 2-yard line who then pushed her way into the endzone. This gave New York an early 8-0 lead with 8:17 left in the first quarter.

It wasn’t long before New York struck again. The Warriors fumbled the ball on their second play in the next drive. The ball was recoverd by Michelle Brown on Bay State’s 27-yard line. After a Bay State off-sides penalty, Halesworth found receiver Lori DeVivio for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Place kicker Nikki Gwinnett kicked the extra point and extended the Sharks lead to 15-0 with 7:14 left in the quarter.

It was deja vu all over again as the Warriors fumbled the ball on the second play of their next drive. This time Darleen “Blue” Hall recovered the ball on Bay State’s 31-yard line. It only took one play for New York to visit the endzone again as Marmorale smashed her way through for a 31-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, but it was now 21-0 with 6:08 left in the first quarter.

New York was not yet finished scoring in the first quarter. After forcing Bay State to go three and out, the Sharks started their next drive on the Warrior’s 41-yard line. It started with a Marmorale 11-yard run and then a 20-yard pass to Blum anad a 5-yard pass to Dana Sparling. The remaining 5 yards to the endzone was picked up by Halesworth herself with 59 seconds left in the quarter. On the extra point attempt, the snap went awry and Halesworth as the holder quickly picked up the ball and started looking into the endzone. She found Marmorale and threw to her for 2 more points. The score was now a very comfortable 29-0 lead.

With the game firmly in New York’s control, the Sharks started to substitute a lot for their starters. As the first half was coming to a close, the Sharks scored their last touchdown of the day. Andra Douglas was in as quarterback and moved the Sharks 38 yards in 3 plays for the touchdown. The scoring play came on a 3-yard pass to Sparling in the back of the endzone. It was Sparling’s first career touchdown pass and she threw the ball up into the air in celebration.

In the second half, the Sharks defense continued to clamp down sharply on the Warriors. Bay State gained only 32 yards in the second half and only 70 for the whole game. New York’s offense threatened once more but got stalled at the Warrior’s 3-yard line because of penalties. The Sharks did get in to the endzone on a spectacular playground play. Douglas handed the ball off to running back Teresa Schirrippa who quickly saw a wall of Warriors in front of her. She quickly turned around and pitched the ball back to Douglas who then spotted DeVivio streaking down the left sidelline and hit the receiver in stride with a 42-yard strike. Unfortunately, the Sharks had an ineligible man downfield and the play was called back.

When the game ended, the Sharks not only had their third straight undefeated regular season, but extended their regular season winning streak to 29-games over 4 years. Game balls were given out to Sparling for her first career touchdown and to Brown for her defensive prowess.

The game not only marked the end of the regular season, it also marked the end of the career for Bay State’s Laurie “Lou” Kelly. Kelly has been playing women’s tackle football for 5 years but announced her decision to leave as a player before the start of the game. She was presented with a signed jersey by the Warrior’s at the end of the game.

The Sharks now start preparation for the playoffs as they will host the wildcard Chicago Force on June 26th. Game time is 5pm at August Martin High School. Tickets are available, but if you cannot make it to the park, you can hear all the exciting football action on our flagship radio station, KEDU-FM.

1 2 3 4 Final
New York Sharks 29 6 6 0 35
Bay State Warriors 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring Summary
NY – (08:17) Blum 5 yard pass from Halesworth (Marmorale pass from Halesworth)
NY – (07:14) DeVivio 22 yard pass from Halesworth (Gwinnett kick)
NY – (06:08) Marmorale 31 yard run (pass failed)
NY – (00:59) Halesworth 5 yard run (Marmorale pass from Halesworth)

Second Quarter
NY – (02:00) Sparling 3 yard pass from Douglas (kick failed)

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