The Utah Falconz women’s football team traveled to Phoenix Arizona to battle against the Phoenix Phantomz in the first game of 2016. The season opener against Phoenix was a good test for a large roster of athletes with over 20 rookies as they performed against an aggressive opponent, putting to use the months of coaching and practice.
“It was good to get back on the field as we started another season,” special teams coach Ashley Guinan said. “Our rookies learned a lot in their first game, and I’m sure all of our players will keep learning and improving with each game.”
Utah started the game strong, scoring on the opening drive by the reliable Keeshya Cox. Additionally, Jordan Willis, Tina Tela and quarterback Louise Bean each scored a rushing touchdown bringing the grand total to an astounding 239 rushing yards, resulting in four TDs.
Incidentally, the passing game was not lacking as Utah performed six passing touchdowns. Lexie Floor and Veronica Siqueiros each provided two receiving touchdowns while rookies Chanta’l Babcock and Tasha Aiono contributed one each. Overall there was a total of 214 passing yards.
Affectionately earning the moniker “The Darkside,” the defense for the Utah Falconz put on a show of force during the spirited match between two powerful teams. In a demonstration of ball recovery, Utah intercepted the ball twice, achieved by Floor and Willis. Lyndi Prestgard forced a fumble, while on a separate play Danielle Musick forced a fumble, recovered by Galica for a gain of 15 yards. The Falconz Defense was able to sack the Phantomz quarterback twice, once by Susan Widdison and a shared sack between Renica Iese and Krisie Merrill.
In terms of not allowing the Phantomz ball to move, The Darkside effectively shut down their opponent with an impressive 43 tackles, 26 of which were pulled off solo. Iese alone had five tackles, Prestgard, Memory Ware, Lorette Cooper and Merrill had three solo tackles. More so, Defense broke up a whopping 12 passes; three contributed by Musick while Willis and Galica batted down two. Dani Moyes, Prestgard, Floor and Aiono each broke up one. Five times this Defense tackled the ball carrier for a loss of yards, done by Kim Solomon, Iese, Willis, Galica and Musick.
Under the pressure of a Falconz defense, the Phoenix Phantomz were able to move the ball 248 yards and secure one touchdown by a pass.
The Falconz continued their trend of cycling through athletes to utilize their roster depth. Throughout the game, 11 separate Falconz players scored, between six 2-point conversions and 10 touchdowns; six receiving and four running. Uniquely, Utah had all three of their quarterbacks, Bean, Galica and Elizabeth Lane, throw a receiving touchdown, a difficult feat for a team to accomplish competing at any level.
By the end of the fourth quarter, both teams had played hard, and the Utah Falconz walked away with a 72-6 victory.
The strength and conditioning coach talked a little about the performance: “I thought the team played very well for our first game of the year. It’s good to get a quality win like that early on to set the tone for the season.”
Coach Dave Lima also commented on the game, saying, “All of the coaches know how hard the team works for the last three months and to see their work translate into a victory it was an awesome thing to be a part of.”
To watch a Utah Falconz game, you can catch them at home Saturday, April 16, at 3 p.m. at Cottonwood High School in Murray. Tickets are $10 for ages 11 and up, children 10 and under are free. Tickets for seniors and veterans are $8.