Green Bay, WI (LFL360.com) — Two high-octane offenses collided in the 2011 LFL opener as the Minnesota Valkyrie managed to withstand several Green Bay Chill comeback attempts to outlast the home team in a thriller, 28-25.
The Valkyrie jumped out to an 8-0 lead with 10:14 left in the first half on Whitney Meierotto’s three-yard run. Green Bay hung tough, scoring on a 12-yard-pass from Anne Erler to Angela Matthews to cut the Valkyrie lead to 8-7. Nearly five minutes later the visitors responded, as Lisa Bastien rushed 12 yards to extend the lead to 14-7. Late in the first half, Erler led a compelling two-minute drill that culminated in a surgical 14-yard strike to Jessica Peyton to bring the hosts to within a point at the half.
Minnesota wasted little time finding breathing room in the second half as quarterback Jana Skrtic scrambled eight yards for her first rushing touchdown of the season. Green Bay’s Erler then channeled vintage Packers legend Brett Favre for the hometown faithful, including a jaw-dropping 47-yard run off of a broken play. She used her agility and speed to evade would-be defenders, ultimately breaking her free to bring the Chill to within three points with 11:02 left in the game. Said Erler about the play, “I needed an oxygen tank.” Minnesota then extended the lead for good as Kelli Gillispie, filling in for an injured Lisa Bastien, hauled in a 10-yard-pass to bring the Valkyrie lead to nine at 28-19.
Green Bay was not finished. Anne Erler used her arm to bring the team to the one-yard-line, and after a couple unsuccessful running plays, found Jessica Peyton (2 rec., 19 yards, 2 TD) for the clutch five-yard-touchdown to cut the lead to three.
“She’s a game-breaker. [Anne] is amazing and she does it all the time in practice,” said Chill Head Coach Gilbert Brown
The Chill defense encountered immense difficulty in containing the Valkyrie offense all evening. Brown’s defense surrendered 177-total yards, including 126 yards on the ground. Lisa Bastien ran for 74 yards and her low center of gravity proved difficult for Green Bay defenders to corral.
“Tackling was the difference. We needed to stay at home on the ball-fakes and that’s inexperience,” said Brown.
In the end, the Valkyrie narrowly defeated the Chill in a crowd-pleasing introduction of LFL Football to Titletown U.S.A. Valkyrie Head Coach Tony Nguyen said that, even in defeat, the Chill were a force to be reckoned with. “I was so impressed with how physical Green Bay was. They didn’t tank. They wouldn’t quit. They really have taken on [Coach Brown's] personality. I can’t say enough about [him].”
LFL360.com’s Pat Murphy contributed to this article.
Photos courtesy of Joe Petro, LFL National Director of Photography, Mike McGinnis and J&K Creative.
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