(IRVINE, CA – Saturday, August 31) The mark of any athlete, team, or league is partly gauged by the on-field product when teams and athletes are not playing with anything on the line. The Los Angeles Black Storm were factored out of the Playoffs due to their 50-18 blowout loss to the Austin Sound and for Mexico’s National All-Star team there were no post-season opportunities but perhaps an opportunity for something much grander – the chance to create excitement amongst women and girls in Mexico to get involved in the game of football.
As the sun began to set on Championship Stadium in Irvine, California the crowds flooded through the stadium gates with most in purple in black attire however quite a number of Mexican flags and colors also shined under the Southern California sunset. Even during warm-ups, you could be the visible difference between a set of athletes that were raised around the game and embodied the sport versus a grouping of athletes who are just being introduced to football.
If there were any whispers about the potential for Mexico upsetting Los Angeles, those whispers were quickly silenced in the 1st Half primarily on the arm of Marissa Lopez and on the legs of ‘Game MVP’ Miriah Lopez. The dynamic duo of sisters would account for all 22 of the Black Storm’s 1st half points. Three scores on the ground and one through the air with an impressive 29-yard touchdown pass from Marissa Lopez to Miriah Lopez. The Mexico National All-Stars did have some success running the ball in the 1st half but without the threat of a passing game, Los Angeles’ defense crowded the line and forced multiple turnover on downs sequences for Mexico.
At halftime, the scoreboard reflected Los Angeles’ domination of Mexico with a score of 22-0. It was at this moment that the Mexico team could rally and avoid an absolute embarrassment or simply roll over and wave its white flag.
The 2nd half for Los Angeles was almost the same production of the 1st half offensively with the Lopez sisters headlining for the Black Storm and accounting for two of the three 2nd half scores. The only non-Lopez score on the night would be from the 6’1 Black Storm tight end Jillian Schmidt who hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Marissa Lopez. Schmidt is the type of athlete that could mature into an impressive pass-catching option for years to come.
On the verge of pitching a shutout going into the 4th Quarter with a commanding score of 36-0, Los Angeles would now simply focus on keeping Mexico off the scoreboard. The 4th Quarter would play out like most of the game with a quick 2-play 28-yard drive capped with a Miriah Lopez 23-yard touchdown run to extend LA’s lead to 42-0.
The Mexico National All-Star Team orchestrated its most impressive drive late in the 4th Quarter, a 5-play 35-yard drive that ended on Karla Villaincencio 4 yard touchdown run and a burst of cheers from the Mexico fans in attendance. Mexico also converted the 2pt conversion as Vallaincencio completed her sole pass of the night to Yoseline Hernandez Good to bring the score to 48-8. The Mexico touchdown was a pivotal point in the game, not because the game was ever in doubt but simply because it proved that the impossible is possible for Mexico and its future in the game.
Despite Los Angeles attempting to score on its final drive the Mexico defense once again bowed their necks and finally shutdown Miriah Lopez. In fact, the Mexico defense held Los Angeles to only 18pts in the 2nd half after giving up 36pts in the 1st half. The 2nd half surge for the Mexico National All-Stars Team made you wonder, what if the team had more than 40 days to prepare for this game and built actual chemistry?
Nonetheless, the final score spoke for itself as Los Angeles would conclude its 2022 season with an impressive 48-8 win.
There is discussion now about the X League expanding to Mexico City as early as Summer 2022 and an eventual X League Mexico national federation. Certainly, while the scoreboard did not reflect it, you could see the potential of building a great product ‘South of the Border’ once the coaching staffs have more experience and the athletes build their football acumen and skillset. Raul Rivera, one of Mexico’s most-decorated coaches will be tasked with building the product in Mexico, at least now both the coaching staff and athletes have a sense of the speed of the game on the biggest platform for Women’s Football.
For Los Angeles, despite the win, the overall expectations were much higher coming into 2022. In the off-season, the franchise will need to evaluate its coaching staff most importantly and figure out if Marissa Lopez is truly the answer at QB1. Certainly, there is a core group of athletes the team can build around.
|Passing Yards (Net)||0||60|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||33-74||15-188|