Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thee Toledo Reign Celebrates Our All-Americans!

On the eve of the WFA Championship Weekend in Chicago, IL, Thee Toledo Reign would like to recognize and celebrate the All-American selections for the 2014 season.

#25 Brianna "Bugg" Patman - Fullback - 1st Team

Brianna Patman earned two personal honors for the first time this season – selection as a captain for Thee Toledo Reign and a First Team All-American selection.  The 5'3” 168 pound running back joined the Reign in 2010 and immediately became a staple of Reign football.  Patman received her nickname “Bugg” when she first joined the Reign.  “Coach Mitchi (Collette) saw me run and said I was going to bug the other team every time I was on the field” Patman recalls.  “The name just stuck.”

The 25 year old from Detroit, Michigan made a personal choice to join the Reign instead of women's football teams located in her home town.  “My friend was playing for the Reign and said I should check it out.”  Football was always a love for Patman, having played in powder puff games while attending Southfield High School in Southfield, Michigan.  In addition to football, Patman played basketball and softball in high school and upon graduation enrolled at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.  While attending BGSU Patman played intramural basketball.  Outside of football, basketball is one of Patman's favorite hobbies.

On the field Patman has been a force, both offensively and defensively.  This season alone Patman gained 1,043  all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns.  Patman's career numbers are eye-popping: 854 yards rushing, 454 yards receiving, 115 ½ tackles (20 for loss), 7 interceptions, 2,146 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns.  Even before Patman put up career highs in carries, rushing yards and total touchdowns this season she had earned the trust and respect of her teammates as a true leader on this team.  This led to her proudest football-related accomplishment to date when she was selected as the Veteran Captain for Thee Toledo Reign.

During the day, Patman is a Site Coordinator for after school programs in Pontiac, Michigan.  She is constantly working to provide guidance to youth in the Pontiac area while always fighting for equality in all areas.  When asked for any advice to women considering playing football she hopes more women take the challenge and offers encouragement and support.

“Always work hard and go after whatever you want!”

#9 Jacki Clark - Quarterback - 2nd Team

At the end of the 2011 season, quarterback Jacki Clark stepped away from women's football.  After two years away from the game the 43-year-old signal caller returned to the field and helped guide Thee Toledo Reign to the second playoff berth in three seasons and earned a second team All-American nomination.

Jacki is the definition of a lifelong athlete.  As a student at Camden-Frontier High School in Camden, Michigan Clark was a 4-time state champion in track while also participating in basketball, volleyball and softball.  While attending Siena Heights University Clark was an All-American in Track while earning a B.A. In Business Ed/Health/PE and a M.A. In Educational Leadership.

At 5'6” and 140 pounds Clark is not afraid to move the ball with her legs, spending the 2010 season as the Reign's primary running back.  However, Clark's true calling was under center, achieving career highs in completions (54), yards (623) and touchdowns (9).  It's no wonder why the Reign's Offensive Captain considers the 2014 season her proudest football-related accomplishment.

“Being able to step into somewhat of a coaching role for our rookies while still performing as a quarterback and leader on the field was very fulfilling.  I'm very proud that I could return to the game and read defenses and see the field more accurately than ever before.”

Off the field Jacki is currently working as quality control for a chip sealing company.  Her hobbies include physical fitness, spending time with her three sons and watching and playing various sports.

Clark will take many memories with her from her time with the Reign.  “Having my children working the sidelines during my games will always be a special memory for me.  The history and involvement with the Toledo Troopers, and being able to share my last game with Coach Mitchi (Collette).  She has taught me so much about the history of women's football, the game itself, and how to be an effective mentor.  I will truly miss bonding on the field with all my teammates.”

As she closes her football career Jacki has a very encouraging message for any women interested in chasing their football dreams.  “If you love the game, seek out a local team.  Watch them play, get to know the players and coaches, and give it a shot.  It truly is for all types and ages of women.  You will learn more than just about football and you will create a special bond with a great group of women.”

#10 Barb "3G" Willobee - Wide Receiver - 2nd Team

Barb Willobee burst onto the women's football scene in 2014 and the Reign rookie could be one of the league's best kept secrets.  Towering over many of her opponents, the 5'10” 145 pound wide receiver presents a matchup nightmare for defenses trying to neutralize her, a big reason she received a Second Team All-American nomination in her first year of organized football.

The 27 year old from Lake Orion, Michigan has an extensive athletic background, participating in basketball and soccer while attending Southfield High School in Southfield, Michigan.  She continued her basketball career at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan where her team won a NCAA Division II National Championship in 20005-06.

Willobee was introduced to the Reign by her close friend and fellow All-American nominee Brianna “Bugg” Patman.  She was dubbed “3G” by her teammates early in the season.  “It's short for Go-Go-Gadget, which I got because I could reach nearly anything” she recalls.  From the first practice coaches could see that with her athletic ability and rare range and wingspan that she could be a true difference maker.  “I've always enjoyed playing football and I wanted to see how my skills would hold up in a competitive setting.”  It didn't take long to put those skills on display as she scored her first touchdown on a 75-yard reception in the season opener against the Derby City Dymanite.  Willobee finished the season leading all Reign receivers with 16 receptions, 244 yards and three touchdowns.

Outside of football Barb is a product engineer for Chrysler, working on Mopar interior Jeep accessories.  She is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding.  After her rookie season Barb feels any women who are interested in trying out tackle football should follow their dreams.

“Do it!! As a female engineer I spend a lot of time holding my own with the guys at something they think they are dominate in. The confidence and self-worth that comes from hard work and making a name for yourself in an area you aren't expected to is irreplaceable. Football is now another one of those outlets. It can be for you too.”

#53 Brandi Rizer - Defensive Tackle - 2nd Team

Brandi Rizer is an excellent example of never giving up on your goals and dreams.  At 21 years old Rizer tried out for the Columbus Comets but did not make the team.  Ten years later the defensive tackle from Marysville, Ohio earned a Second-Team All-American nomination playing for Thee Toledo Reign.
At 5'9” and 245 pounds Brandi is a physical presence in the middle of the Reign defense, frequently taking on multiple blockers and making the offense pay when trying to block her one-on-one.  Brandi finished the season with 19 tackles, 8 for loss and 2 fumble recoveries.

Brandi attended Westland High School in Galloway, Ohio and after graduation enrolled at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio.  Unlike many of her Reign teammates Brandi was not able to participate in sports through school.  “I decided to play women's football because I never got to play sports growing up and I always wanted to play, especially football in high school” Brandi recalls.  She credits Reign veteran Sandi Bowen for her tireless recruiting efforts.  “Sandi tried to recruit me at Toledo Pride in 2012 and we ran into each other at another function.  After getting together with her and some other Reign teammates I decided to try out and it was the best decision I've ever made.”

When she is not working as a Direct Care Provider in the Northwest Ohio area, Brandi enjoys fishing, scrapbooking and geocaching.  In addition to being selected as a Second-Team All-American, Brandi experienced another moment of pride when she met former members of the Toledo Troopers, the team that dominated the women's football world in the 1970's.  “Seeing them cheering us on in the stands and getting first-hand advice from amazing women I look up to is something I'll never forget.”

When asked what she would share with women thinking of playing football, Brandi encouraged anyone to follow her example and never give up.  “You can do anything you put your mind to.  Never doubt yourself and never tell yourself that you can't because you can.  Dreams can come true, and sometimes you'll discover dreams you never even knew you had.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reign Falls to Comets in First Round


Thee Toledo Reign opened the playoffs with a trip to Columbus looking to avenge one of their two regular season losses.  Unfortunately they could not find redemption as the Reign fell to the Comets 22-0.

The first half was a back-and-forth defensive battle highlighted by a 65-yard fumble return by Brianna "Bugg" Patman to the Comets 5-yard line.  The Comets defense stood strong and denied the Reign the early lead. Rookie defensive back Sarah "Dozer" Stephens hauled in two first-half interceptions including one on the goal line to keep the Comets off the board.  Both teams remained scoreless until the Comets struck with less than a minute remaining in the first half to take an 8-0 lead.  The Reign had opportunities throughout the game but was unable to put points on the board while two second half scores by the Comets put the game out of reach.  The Reign fought all game long and though the result was better than the Week 6 48-0 loss in Columbus, the Reign are still on the losing end and are eliminated from the WFA playoffs.

Brianna "Bugg" Patman showed once again why she was chosen as a WFA First-Team All-American.  Along with the fumble return she also rushed for 54 yards on 8 carries including a 27-yard scamper out of the shadow of her own end zone.  Including playoffs, Patman rushed for 539 yards and five touchdowns on the season and racked up an incredible 1,043 all-purpose yards with eight total touchdowns.

Marabeth "Mama Red" Lewis led the charge defensively with 13 tackles and one tackle for loss.  Lewis finishes the season with a team-leading 47 tackles (3 for loss) with veteran Defensive Tackle Maegan "Beast" Applegate just behind with 42 1/2 tackles (8 for loss).  Rookie linebacker Sarah "Swaggz" Wagner was on her way to a dominant game with 7 1/2 tackles and two tackles for loss before exiting the game very early in the second half due to injury.

The Reign finish the 2014 season with a 6-3 record, matching the record for most wins by the Reign in a season (6-4 in 2005).  The Columbus Comets (5-4) will travel to Washington D.C. June 21st to face the D.C. Divas (4-3) in a Mid-Atlantic Division rematch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reign Opens Playoffs with Rematch In Columbus!


Thee Toledo Reign has reached the WFA playoffs for the second time in three years after winning the Mideast Division.  The Wild Card round sends the Reign to Columbus for a rematch with the Comets.

The Reign (6-2) matched a franchise record with six wins during the 2014 season.  All of the Reign's victories (disregarding two forfeit victories over the Central Maryland Seahawks) were by 20 points or more, including a 37-0 shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Force in Pittsburgh on May 31st.  Driving the Reign offense is a trio of WFA All-Americans - quarterback Jacki Clark (2nd Team), running back Brianna "Bugg" Patman (1st Team) and wide receiver Barb "3G" Willobee (2nd Team).  Defensive tackle Brandi Rizer (2nd Team) received an All-American nomination playing in the middle of a defense that, in the Reign's four on-field victories recorded two shutouts and gave up a single touchdown each of the other two games.  Despite claiming the Mideast Division title, the WFA's playoff rules send the division champions on the road for a rematch with the Columbus Comets.

The Comets (4-4) claimed the 3rd Wild Card in the National Conference by finishing 2nd to the DC Divas in the Mid-Atlantic Division.  The Comets are limping into the playoffs after losing the last two games including a 72-8 rout against the Chicago Force the last week of the WFA regular season.  Despite this, a quick look at the playoff history of the Comets show that they are always a formidable opponent with a playoff victory in 2013 and an appearance in the WFA championship game in 2010.  With 10 players nominated to the All-American team the Comets appear poised for another playoff run.

The first meeting between these two teams was one-sided with the Comets claiming a 48-0 victory.  The Reign, however, has some momentum heading into the playoffs claiming a victory in Pittsburgh in their last regular season contest.  Can the Reign get revenge for their Week 6 defeat at the hands of the Comets and advance to the second round of the WFA playoffs?  Can the Comets shake off the effects of the loss to the Chicago Force and sweep the season series with the Reign?  The DC Divas await the winner of this rematch between the Reign and the Comets!

Be sure to listen to the live audio broadcast with Candice Fournier on Spreaker starting just before 7pm on Saturday, June 14th.  Thank you for your continued support and if you can't make it to Columbus be sure to tune in to Spreaker and cheer on YOUR women's full-contact tackle football team!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reign Closes Home Schedule Against Cleveland!


Thee Toledo Reign closes out the home portion of the 2014 regular season as they welcome the Cleveland Fusion to Waite High School.

The Reign (4-1) saw their four game winning streak snapped with a 48-0 loss on the road against the Columbus Comets.  The Reign defense stepped up and caused four more turnovers, bringing the season total to an amazing 15 forced turnovers in four games (excluding the forfeit victory over Central Maryland).  Unfortunately special teams miscues combined with the offense not taking advantage of mistakes by the Comets doomed the Reign to their first defeat of the 2014 season.  The Reign now comes back home looking to start a new winning streak against in-state foes the Cleveland Fusion.

The Fusion (3-2) are coming off a commanding 71-0 victory over the Cincinnati Sizzle.  The Fusion have had better luck outside of their division, going 3-0 in games outside the Northeast Division but 0-2 against foes within their division.

The Reign and Fusion are very closely matched this season, both scoring approximately 23 points per game with Team Offense numbers ranging from 163 (Reign) to 154 (Fusion) yards per game.  Defensively the Reign holds a slight advantage in points per game (15) over the Fusion (20.2).  Cleveland swept the 2013 season series between these teams, but the Reign is poised to get back on the winning track as they march toward the playoffs.

The game this Saturday will be played at Waite High School, 301 Morrison Drive in Toledo, Ohio.  Kickoff is at 7pm and tickets are $6 with kids 5 and under free!  For our special attraction this week, all Toledo Public Schools students and staff will get into the game for $4 with their school ID's.  The film crew for "Perfect Season: The Untold Story of the Toledo Troopers" will be in attendance and we are hoping to fill the stands to provide crowd shots for the movie.  Who knows, you may find yourself in a motion picture!  We are also offering a discounted ticket price for participants in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on May 10th.  Anyone who wears their shirt from the event to the game May 17th will receive a discounted ticket price.

This will be your last opportunity to catch the Reign at home this season so be sure to make your way out to Waite High School this Saturday and support YOUR women's full-contact tackle football team!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reign Sweeps Division!


Thee Toledo Reign took a huge step toward locking up the Mideast division championship as they completed the sweep of the division with a 33-0 victory over the Cincinnati Sizzle.

The Reign (3-0) kept their undefeated season intact with a showcase game by Brianna "Bugg" Patman (#25).  Patman opened the game with a 54 yard touchdown run on the first offensive snap.  Patman ended the game with 131 yards on 14 carries.  Patman's night was not confined to the offensive side of the ball as she also returned two interceptions on defense for touchdowns.  On the season Patman has scored six touchdowns - three rushing, two interceptions and one punt return.

Rookie wide receiver Barb "3G" Willobee (#10) notched her second touchdown of the season with a 15 yard score and Julia "Stretch" Koralewski (#14) added to the scoring with a 22 yard strike.  Quarterback Jacki Clark (#9) finished with 9 completions for 67 yards and touchdowns to Willobee and Koralewski.

Defensively Maegan "Beast" Applegate (#51) once again lived up to her name recording five tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 1/2 sacks.  Sarah "Swaggz" Wagner (#32) and Kristi "Popeye" Lillie (#93) chipped in 3 1/2 tackles of their own, while Lillie also recorded 1/2 sack and two tackles for loss.

In her first game as primary kicker, rookie Sarah "Dozer" Stephens (#11) connected on three out of four extra point attempts and averaged 32.5 yards per punt.

The Reign will be back in action this Saturday, May 3rd in their first ever meeting with the 2-0 Pittsburgh Force.  Saturday's game will be held at Jack Mollenkopf Stadium on the campus of Waite High School (301 Morrison Drive, Toledo, OH).  Kickoff is at 7pm and tickets are only $6 with kids 5 and under free!