Coming off a slim victory over the league champions on the road last week, the New York Sharks women’s pro tackle football team came home to devour the Washington Prodigy on Saturday at Floyd Bennett Field at Aviator Sports Complex.
The 41–24 win puts the Sharks (3–1) in a tie with the Montreal Blitz (3–1) for first place in the Independent Women’s Football League’s North Atlantic Division.
Rookie Brilynn Fields had a record-breaking game as quarterback Karen Mulligan kept passing to the wide receiver. She caught four touchdown passes — a team record — including one that soared for 66 yards. But Fields was gracious in her glory.
“You can’t have the touchdowns without a great coach and quarterback, and a whole team to block,” said Fields, whose prior football experience was limited to “playing in the streets.” “I enjoy being on a team that is competitive and not ‘just for fun’ — even though it is.”
Veteran quarterback Kathryn Hemlock was the star for the Prodigy (1–3) scoring twice and throwing for another score.
It was a fairly close game early on, with the teams trading touchdowns early on to end the first quarter tied at 12–12. Things slowly shifted over the next two quarters, with the Sharks holding on to a six-point lead going into the fourth. But with Fields scoring her fourth touchdown of the game, and the Sharks defense shutting out the Prodigy in the last 15 minutes, Brooklyn’s home team won the game with a healthy 17-point margin.
Sharks wide receiver Erika Cottle scored two of her teams’ touchdowns against the Prodigy, but said he mainly concentrated on yardage rather than scoring.
“I focused on getting the ball toward the end zone at least, not scoring touchdowns,” she said. “I did what I have to do — which is setting up my teammates to score.”
Running back Caprece Gray was another major source of yardage for the Sharks on Saturday, and she was proud of the teamwork it took to turn those yards in to points.
“Although I did not score any of the touchdowns, I’m happy to get down the field and allow my teammates to take over,” she said.
Last week’s away game against the 2013 league champion Carolina Phoenix was a triumphant thrill ride, with the Sharks down 22 points coming into the fourth quarter. Three touchdowns later, the Sharks had narrowed the deficit to just one point with 50 seconds left, and won the game on a two-point conversion.
The Sharks’ final regular season home game is June 7 versus the Montreal Blitz.