Female fury erupted at Kapiolani Park as the Wardawgz lost their most recent match to Wahine Koa, 12-6, during an all-women Hawaii Gridiron League flag football game, June 23, 2013.
At 1 p.m., the Wardawgz, made up of Marine Corps Base Hawaii service members and family members, won their first match due to forfeit. The Wardawgz instead began their second match earlier than scheduled, against Wahine Koa.
Wahine Koa, made up of Navy and Air Force affiliated players, came to Sunday’s game undefeated, 6-0.
“This is a good day for football,” said Wahine Koa head coach August Young. “I hope that we win, cause you never know.”
At 2 p.m., both teams knelt in the grass beneath the blazing hot sun, baring their mouth-guards, their eager blocking hands up in anticipation.
The game began, and women on both sides scuffled, fighting for the ball till the shrill whistle of the referees stopped them in their tracks. Young, and Wardawgz co-head coach Joseph Zola, were both animated, screaming and waving. Many of the Wardawgz were constantly in and out of the sidelines with little time to rest due to the team’s small size.
Some of the highlights included Wardawgz corner Jenna Folks conducting an interception close to the endzone, and Wardawgz wide receiver Amanda Pendarvis making the team’s touchdown. By the end of the first half, the teams were tied, 6-6. The intensity grew in the second half when Wardawgz quarterback Luretta “Old School” Palmer received the ball and tossed the pigskin. Wardawgz running back Tiffany Epps caught the ball, and temporarily evaded Wahine Koa players, progressing the ball at least 25 yards as she headed to the endzone.
At the end, Wahine Koa walked away with the victory, but the Wardawgz are still headed for the playoffs. Young commented that although Wahine Koa has won all of its games, the other teams in the league have been progressing.
“We can’t get away with the same (strategies) we did the first time,” Young said of the other teams.
Like many military sports teams, the inevitable deployment and permanent change of station cycle affects the number of players available, and Wahine Koa is no exception.
The Wardawgz have not been able to recruit as many players this year, and while some teams have enough players to relieve each other during a game, the Wardawgz have had to wear two hats, defense and offense, often running themselves into the ground.
“It’s tiring,” said Wardawgz player Crystal Herrera. “It’s just 45 minutes of running.”
Wardawgz defensive line Rubi Soto and Herrera agree that the team has a positive outlook despite their losses. Both said they met new friends on the team, and consider the Wardawgz family.
Wardawgz head coaches Matt Muzacz and Zola said they were proud of the team’s hard work and dedication. Despite Sunday’s loss, Zola told the ladies he felt they had shown through their performance how much they wanted to win.
“You guys played it like you wanted it,” he said. “I have nothing negative to say.”
The Hawaii Gridiron League championship games are scheduled for this weekend at University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Clarence T.C. Ching Field at 1 p.m.
When asked about his thoughts at the close of Sunday’s game, Zola said simply, “It’s playoffs time.”