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Chicago takes Miami, heads to conference championship
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

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The Chicago Force took another step toward repeating as Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) National Champions, and again did it in dominant fashion.

The Force mauled the over-matched Miami Fury 66-8 on July 5 at Evanston Township High School, moving to 8-1 and ending the Fury's season at 6-3.

Chicago will now travel to face the Boston Militia in the National Conference championship game on July 19, after the Militia eliminated the DC Divas, 72-56. This is the fourth consecutive year that Chicago has advanced to the conference championship game, and revenge certainly is riding with the Force as the Militia defeated Chicago 35-18 in mid-May for the team's lone loss over the past two seasons.

"We were operating after the second ( offensive ) series, but still were super sloppy," said Chicago quarterback Sami Grisafe, who returned to action after missing the past 11 weeks due to a knee injury. She passed for 154 yards and three touchdowns—and was named the DLG Management Game Day Offensive MVP.

"I have to remember the speed and tempo of real game situations, [as opposed to practices,] and know that we now have two weeks to get better—and that, over the next two weeks, we will be working very hard.

"It really is exciting to see what this team can do when operating on all cylinders."

The Force struck early in the first quarter as Kelsey Casey rushed in from 2 yards out, and Chicago built a 38-0 lead at halftime. Casey finished with three rushing touchdowns.

And it could have been more if not for dropped passes and other Force mistakes.

"The important thing [was], we grinded out the victory," said Chicago receiver Jeanette Gray, one of many Force players who, after the 58-point bashing actually sounded upset with the win, mostly that it wasn't a bigger differential. "We have very high expectations for ourselves, and when we don't perform like we should, we get upset.

"We are a very, very, very good team, and we have to play better."

Still, Gray caught five touchdown passes, her most in a game this season. She has had three four-TD games this season, and had seven TDs against Atlanta last season.

Melissa Nelson earned the DLG Management Game Day Defensive MVP award after her nine tackle game.

Defensive back Dorian Bridges shined when she carried the ball on offense, rushing 75 yards early in the fourth quarter for a touchdown, giving Chicago a 52-0 edge at the time.

The Force led 58-0 when Miami scored its lone touchdown.

The Force defeated Boston 46-27 in the 2013 conference championship game, played in Chicago, and then mauled the Dallas Diamonds 81-34 to claim the 2013 WFA National Championship.

"This is another meeting between the two best teams in women's football," Chicago Force owner Linda Bache said of the upcoming game against Boston. "It's a shame that we are in the same conference.

"They are a very talented and well-coached team. I know our coaches will have the right game plan in place, so this game will come down to who wants it more and who executes."

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