The Texas Elite Spartans defeated the Utah Falconz 48-12 to win the team’s third consecutive Women’s National Football Conference IX Cup Championship on Sunday at The Star at Frisco.
The Elite Spartans have yet to lose a game in three seasons of play in the WNFC behind a high-flying offense that led the league in scoring and a stifling defense that did not allow more than 20 points in a game in 2022.
“Our women played the best game of their season on the biggest stage,” said Head Coach and Texas Elite Spartans CEO Odessa Jenkins in an interview with The Dallas Express. “They were super-focused and showed a lot of pride and being ready to prove that they deserved to be there.”
While the lop-sided final score demonstrates that the Elite Spartans offense showed off their prowess, the real victory for Texas came in the trenches.
The defensive front, led by Amber Kimbrough and Defensive Player of the Game Latoria Randile, regularly set the offense up with a short field by shutting down the Falconz offense. The Texas defense was particularly focused on shutting down Utah’s most-proven offensive ability, running the ball.
“It surprised me how much they kept trying to run in the middle,” Jenkins said. “I thought they would try more off tackle stuff. Our tackles, Fancy Robinson and Latoria Randile, played their best football last night. There was no one in the world that was going to run the ball between the tackles with the way they were playing.”
Early in the fourth quarter and already leading 41-0, the Texas defense demonstrated their run-stopping ability by preventing Utah from scoring a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. The stop ended the first promising drive the Falconz had put together so far in the game.
Throughout 2022, Texas has leaned on quarterback Brittany Bushman and a deep roster of receiving talent to out-shoot opponents.
A key addition to the squad this season was Brittany Satterwhite, who had hung up her cleats five seasons ago. She returned to play for Texas in 2022 to honor offensive line coach Billy Hughes who passed away shortly after the 2021 season. Hughes had asked Satterwhite to return for one more season every year since her retirement.
On Sunday, Satterwhite became the Offensive Player of the Game with a versatile performance that showed off her skills as a receiver and her dynamic athletic ability to make defenders miss for huge yards-after-the-catch.
Elite Spartans players wore gear with Hughes’ favorite phrase, “Be about it,” and wore special uniforms to honor their former coach and recognize that the team is a family. All players replaced the name plate on their jerseys with the phrase “WITCHU,” a team slogan that means “I am with you.”
Satterwhite recorded the Elite Spartans’ third touchdown on a screen pass early in the second quarter. Bushman took the second down snap at the Spartans’ 32-yard line and quickly got the ball to Satterwhite. She then made several Falconz players miss as she broke down the sideline 68-yards for the score. Fellow receiver Liz Landry had a key block downfield that sprung Satterwhite.
Jenkins said the team had two overarching themes entering the playoffs this season: Championship discipline and communication.
“Championship discipline is about knowing your job and doing your job,” Jenkins said.
She added that the team entered the playoffs in Florida with this mindset and it has been a key to reducing penalties and preventing mistakes, though the Elite Spartans were not free of errors on the night.
Utah finally scored mid-way through the fourth quarter when back-to-back miscues between Elite Spartans backup QB Kristi Taylor and runningback Rasan Gore ended an Elite Spartans drive early. The Falconz added a second touchdown with just 1:32 remaining in the game when the outcome was already clear.
The WNFC was formed in 2018 and began play in 2019. The Texas Elite Spartans won the IX Cup Championship over Utah in the first year. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all games in 2020, but the WNFC rebounded for a full slate of games in 2021. Texas defeated the San Diego Rebellion to win their second IX Cup Championship last year.