By: Jim Wallin (LFL360.com)
Photos: Joe Petro, Don Montague, B.J. Fleming, Mark Rigney/LFL PHOTOS
LAS VEGAS – The Los Angeles Temptation muscled their way to a record-setting third-straight Lingerie Bowl Championship with a convincing 28-6 victory over the Philadelphia Passion before an electric crowd at Orleans Arena.
On the game’s opening drive, Game Co-MVP Amber Reed (7 ATT., 44 YDS., 59 TOTAL YDS., 2 TD) led an offensive assault that forced the Philadelphia defense to retreat and ultimately crumble on her eight-yard run, elevating Los Angeles to the early 8-0 advantage.
The Passion attempted to counter on the ensuing drive, advancing all the way to the Los Angeles 2-yard-line behind the strong early play of Christy Bell (8/21, 86 YDS., 1 TD, 1 INT) Jenny Butler (3 REC., 14 YDS.) and Danielle Gassler (4 ATT., 14 YDS.). But ultimately, in what would foreshadow the Passion’s fortunes for the rest of the afternoon, the offense fell short when it mattered, ultimately turning the ball over on downs and wasting a key red zone opportunity.
Los Angeles’ high-octane offense then began to take off, as Game Co-MVP Ashley Salerno (15/22, 125 YDS., 3 TD) engineered an impressive 48-yard drive, culminating in a two-yard touchdown pass to Audrey Latsko (3 REC., 44 YDS. 1 TD) to vault the Temptation to a 14-0 halftime lead.
On the opening play of the second half, Philadelphia’s Bell and Whitney Paronish (2 REC., 49 YDS. 1 TD) jump-started the Passion rally machine, connecting for an electric 43-yard score which would bring the Eastern Conference Champions to within 8 points.
Then, Salerno, Margulies and Reed teamed up to aggressively attack the Passion, setting up a 24-yard reception by Danielle Harvey to extend the L.A. advantage to 21-6. And, after a promising Passion drive was extinguished by a Audrey Latsko interception, the Temptation secured the game, as Salerno once again found Reed, this time for a ten-yard score to set what ultimately would prove to be the final score, 28-6.
The ferocious Temptation defense dished out hard hits and punishing blows most of the afternoon, as stand-outs Tessa Barrera (5.5 tackles), Chloe Butler (3.5 tackles, 1 sack) and Monique Gaxiola (3 tackles) led the charge while the much-maligned L.A. secondary of Latsko (1 INT.) and Stephanie Psick (3 tackles) elevated their games to another level, stifling the Passion offense at nearly every turn.
Philadelphia’s top-ranked offense was limited to a season low in points and offensive output. Filling in for the injured Marirose Roach, the Passion were led by Heather Roy (3 ATT., 23 YDS.) as well as Jenny Butler (3 REC., 14 YDS.) and Whitney Paronish (2 REC., 49 YDS., TD).
The Passion defense was led by stand-outs Jenna Robertson (5 tackles) and Shanae’ Thomas (5 tackles), who were instrumental in limiting the Temptation’s rapid movement on the ground.
Temptation Head Coach David Bizub and Defensive Coordinator Tui Suiaunoa, along with several veterans, hoist the Lingerie Bowl ‘Ring of Champions’ Trophy once again, marking an unprecedented third-trip to the apex of the LFL World.
The Passion end the season on a sour note, however, still maintain an unblemished record against Eastern Conference foes over the past two seasons.
Many experts felt that this game would be close, but in the end, L.A.’s championship swagger coupled with Philadelphia’s lethargic play ultimately equaled a blowout score.
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