A strong defensive effort, led by four interceptions by defensive back Zakiya Shaw, earned Tacoma Trauma the first victory in team history on June 1 at Curtis High School. The Trauma, in their first year of competition in the Women’s Football Alliance, defeated the Everett Reign 24-0.
The teams struggled to sustain drives in the first quarter, which ended with no scoring.
Trauma running back Dee Smithingell caught a pass and made a long gain in the second quarter, but a penalty nullified the effort.
On Everett’s next drive, Trauma linebacker Mikisa Johnson intercepted a pass and ran it back to the Reign 18-yard-line. That set up a four-yard touchdown run by Smithingell. Tacoma went for two points, with running back Patricia O’Connell taking the handoff into the end zone.
Tacoma’s next drive ended when Everett’s Alexia Escamilla intercepted a pass. Shaw responded by picking off a pass. The Trauma’s last shot at scoring in the half ended when Escamilla picked off a pass.
Johnson showed great form early in the third quarter when she broke through the line and sacked the Everett quarterback.
Shaw gave the fans something to cheer about when she grabbed her second interception and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Smithingell ran the ball in for two points to put Tacoma up 16-0.
She had an encore performance on Everett’s next drive, picking off a pass and taking it to the end zone. O’Connell ran the ball in for two points.
Everett’s next drive stalled after a long run was called back due to a penalty.
Everett was driving early in the fourth quarter when Trauma defensive back Brandi Ockenfels intercepted a pass.
Shaw got her final interception later in the quarter.
“I am real happy for the girls,” head coach Dennis Stone said of his players. Of the 23 players, only six have played the sport prior to this season.
Tacoma returned two of its six interceptions for touchdowns. Stone noted the team’s goal is to score on half of interceptions.
With only 19 players available for this game, many on the Tacoma squad played offense and defense. Shaw is a wide receiver on offense and participates on special teams. Stone noted she is in very good shape and was on the field for most of the contest.
Stone, who used to be assistant coach on defense for the Pierce County Bengals, said he prefers coaching women to men. “They have nothing but heart.”
He also acknowledged the dedication of his assistant coaches, Tom Pugh, Mike Vernoy and Michele Volk.
The Trauma wrap up their season with a road game against the Seattle Majestics at 6 p.m. on June 8.
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