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Tri-Cities women’s team set to battle for national football championship

Jamey Vicars • Jul 11, 2019 at 12:10 PM

BLUFF CITY — This weekend is full of women’s football as the United States Women’s Football League will host two championship games Saturday and an All-Star game on Sunday at Sullivan East High School.

Admission to the championship games on Saturday is $12 for both events, with children ages 6 to 17 $5 and kids 5 and under free. Admission to the All-Star game on Sunday is $5, with kids under 5 free. Admission is cash only for all games.

The first of two championship games on Saturday is the Ironwoman Division National Championship, with local team Tri-Cities Thunder from Piney Flats competing for the prize. The Thunder finished the 2019 season with an 8-0 record and are appearing in their fourth national championship game. The Thunder won in 2017.

Their opponents will be the defending national champions, the Hampton Roads Lady Gators from Norfolk, Virginia, who completed their season with a 6-3 record. In an earlier bout this season, the Thunder were able to maintain their undefeated streak with a 24-12 win against the Lady Gators. 

The gates will open at 9 a.m., with kickoff at 11 a.m.

“This is my sixth year playing football, and this is what you play for, to scrap it up on Saturday for a championship,” said Tri-Cities Thunder owner and player Jennifer Johnson. “To put ‘champion’ beside your name. No one can take that away.”

The second game of the day will see the USWFL Division II National Championship up for grabs. The teams competing for the title will be the Washington Prodigy from Washington, D.C., taking on the Keystone Assault from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Prodigy, with a 7-0 record, are the two-time defending champions. The Assault have a 4-4 record this season. The game will kick off at 6 p.m.

In addition to hard-hitting, full-contact football, concessions will be available all day Saturday, trophies will be awarded between games and hip-hop artist Dolla$hyne will perform at halftime.

Sunday afternoon will finish off championship weekend with the USWFL All-Star Game. The All-Star teams this year will be the South-West, coached by Mike Ochmanowicz of the Keystone Assault, and the North-East, coached by Tony Bell of the Washington Prodigy.

The USWFL has teams representing Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Charleston, West Virginia; Detroit; Norfolk; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Piney Flats.

The All-Star game will kick off at noon, with awards presented afterward.

“I encourage people to come and check it out. We have activities all day long,” Johnson said. “This is hard-hitting, real-deal football. We pad up just like the NFL on Sunday. We have women from all walks of life. I encourage people to come out and support these ladies. You can follow Tri-Cities Thunder on Facebook or go to tricitiesthunder.com. We are always looking for new recruits for 2020.”