A pair of first-half interception returns set the tone for the Majestics 34-0 win over Portland

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Portlands Jody Odowick keeps Seattles Ashley Fenimore on the turf after a Majestics fumble in the first half Saturday. MILWAUKIE — The Portland Fighting Fillies missed numerous chances in the first half and never recovered during a 34-0 home loss to the Seattle Majestics in a Women’s Football Alliance game Saturday night.

Seattle took the opening kickoff and immediately moved the ball downfield with QB Rachel Gore completing a pair of long third-down passes. So the Majestics were perfectly comfortable facing 3rd-and-15 deep in Portland territory.

Gore came through once more looping a perfect pass over the top to Adrienne Wilson, who sprinted for the pylon before reaching for the goal line and losing her grip on the ball. It popped loose and Portland’s Nikki Ferchland scooped it off the turf at the 1-yard line. Both players stood frozen for a moment, unsure if Wilson had crossed into the end zone. No whistle sounded, and Ferchland started the other way getting about 10 yards before being pulled down.

Crisis averted — for a moment.

Portland’s first play from scrimmage saw QB Rebekah Chee drop back and fire a quick pass toward the sideline. Majestics cornerback Kalena Firstrider saw the play coming, stepped in front of the receiver and raced in with a 12-yard interception return.

The Fillies first three possessions ended in turnovers and it quickly became clear that going through the air was a risky endeavor.

Seattle wasn’t having much better luck holding onto the ball and a series of fumbles kept Portland within striking distance.

The Fillies were driving for the go-ahead touchdown early in the second quarter after Ashley Kondziela went straight ahead to convert a 4th-and-1 that pushed the ball inside the 10-yard line. But a false start penalty stalled the drive, and a 31-yard field goal try missed the mark.

Late in the first half, Gore went for a big play down the right sideline but her pass overshot the receiver by 10 yards. Portland safety Cassie Dunsire didn’t give up on the ball and made a sliding interception, getting both feet down before tumbling out of bounds.

Portland had the ball near midfield with 3:52 on the clock to find the end zone and take a lead into the locker room.

It would take one play. But it was the Majestics who would find the end zone.

Seattle’s Karen Lawton picked off a pass on the midfield logo, spun out of a crowd and broke free 45 yards for a touchdown.

The Majestics defense had given their team a 13-0 halftime lead.

The offense would catch up when the teams returned to the field.

After stopping Portland cold to open the third quarter, Seattle quickly moved into scoring range when Jackie McCall pulled down a 29-yard grab breaking free from a pair of tackles for the big gain. One play later, Firstrider ran through a wide hole in the middle and sprinted 17 yards to the end zone.

McCall ended Portland’s next drive with an interception, and the Majestics put the game away 27-0 when Gore hit Lawton with a 13-yard scoring strike on 4th-and-9.

The Fillies (1-1) take on crosstown rival the Portland Shockwave (1-0) at Hillsboro Stadium next Saturday, while Seattle (2-0) travels to Tacoma (0-2).

View a photo gallery from the game at ...

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