Sharks Win To Face Sacramento In Championship Rematch
The New York Sharks needed a big play in a tight football game against the Tampa Bay Terminators. Leading by a narrow margin of 15-7 with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter, Sharks QB Val Halesworth saw an opportunity to make a big first down play. And she did.
Halesworth found WR Dana Sparling on a fade pattern down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown reception to give the Sharks a 21-7 lead.
It was the death knell for the Terminators as the Sharks won 29-7 to advance to the Independent Women’s Football League Championship on Saturday against Sacramento.
“I called an audible on the play,” Sharks QB Val Halesworth. “It was originally supposed to be trips right but the coach (head coach Ruben Sanchez) and I felt that we could throw the fade”.
Sparling evaded Terminators’ cornerback Brenda Larry’s diving tackle at the Sharks’ 30-yard line and ran down the sidelines untouched for the score.
The Sharks and Terminators played an intense game that was full of hard hits and stingy defense. The Sharks and Terminators fumbled on consecutive series in the first quarter. The Terminators caused intense pressure on QB Val Halesworth and sacked her 4 times in the game.
Halesworth fought through the Terminators’ pressure and became a force in the game by being involved in all The Sharks’ scores. According to head coach Ruben Sanchez, Halesworth has been an impact all season for the Sharks.
“Tampa Bay played hard against us”, Sanchez said. “We had a good and talented QB who can throw and run the ball better than any other woman in professional football”.
The Sharks took an 8-0 lead in the second quarter when Halesworth threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jennifer Blum. Tampa Bay quickly rebounded when QB Kim Shaw ran a 2-yard touchdown to narrow the score to 8-7.
Leading 15-7, the Sharks defense made their biggest stance in the fourth quarter. The Terminators went for the touchdown and possible tie on 4th and goal. Defensive back Lori DeVivio deflected a pass in the end zone intended for Terminatos’ wide receiver Karin Joot. BelleHarbor native
Rockaway resident and Sharks’ player Anne Perissi, heard quite clearly the trash talk emanating from the Terminators throughout the game.
It did not affect New York from the bottom line of winning the game according to Perissi.
“They were talking trash. I didn’t care who was out there. I got a sack on the quarterback”, Perissi said. “We played our game and we left it all out there on the field”.
The Sharks will travel to Sacramento in a rematch of the IWFL Championship, which the Sirens won last year 41-30 at St. John’s University. Halesworth is confident in her belief that this is the Sharks’ year to take home the trophy.
“This is our best team. We’re athletic in different positions and the receivers are great”, Halesworth said. “Our defense is so tough”.
Perissi agrees with Halesworth’ views on the Sharks chances on Saturday starting at 10 p.m. The game can be listened to on www.nysharksfootball.com
“It feels great.
I’m aware on how good they (Sacramento) are. We have been through up and downs this season”, Perissi said. “But we’re going to win. It’s in our heart. We’re going to bring the trophy back to the Wave”, Perissi laughed as she said.