The Texas Elite Spartans faced off against the San Diego Rebellion on Aug. 7 at UNT Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas for the IX Cup Championship.
The Spartans kept their undefeated record alive and took home the five-foot tall IX Trophy for the second straight season. The final score was 27-6. In two seasons of play with the Women’s National Football Conference, the Spartans have yet to lose a game.
“It was electric. It was fast, physical, and it was on our home turf with our family and fans who’ve been supporting us all year,” Spartans owner Odessa Jenkins said. “It was the best football experience I think any of us have had.”
The Spartans dominated the Rebellion offense throughout the game, forcing turnovers on downs throughout the game as San Diego abandoned any effort to punt. The Texas offense, known for running up high scores on opponents, was largely held in check, but the Rebellion couldn’t keep the Spartans off the scoreboard.
Two touchdown tosses by Britanny Bushman to Amanda Heilman in the first half gave the Spartans a 14-0 lead at halftime. Heilman would be named the game’s MVP.
“Amanda has been unreal for us for a long time,” Jenkins said. “She’s got skills that for some reason, teams don’t respect. One of our best kept secrets might be out. We know what she’s made of, and she’s been doing it all year for us.”
As they have all season, the Spartans defense executed an aggressive game plan that shut the Rebellion offense down. Defensive Player of the Year Olivia Griswold led the defensive effort, blowing up passing plays and shutting down the Rebellion’s dangerous runner Adriana Gutierrez who spent most of the game running backwards in an effort to escape the Texas defense.
Spartans’ backup QB Bell Satoria came in to relieve Bushman after she took a shot from the Rebellion defense in the fourth quarter. Satoria put up a perfect lob pass and hit running back Deziah Greene on the wheel route to jump out to a 27-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Bushman returned in the next series.
San Diego’s only points of the game came with just 34 seconds to play in the fourth quarter that was set up by a Spartans turnover after a spectacular defensive stand to keep San Diego going backward in the previous series. Jenkins said the defensive stand at the goal line to deny a Rebellion touchdown was the proudest moment of the game.
“They were giving us their best stuff,” Jenkins said. “We have been talking about it all year -if we can withstand the storm and play together no matter what, we can’t guarantee wins or losses, but we can guarantee effort. That [defensive stand] was all about ‘want to.’”
The Texas Elite Spartans will head into the offseason touting a total of three National championships in three seasons. Their undefeated record stretches back to the formation of the team prior to joining the WNFC in 2018.
The WNFC IX Championship weekend was held in Denton, Texas and featured a weekend-long series of events to offer fans the opportunity to experience women’s tackle football and have fun.
Jenkins said she hopes that the event drives viewership next season and helps to bring the sport to national attention.