Minnesota Vixen at Chicago Force
The Minnesota Vixen knew they had to have a top-notch performance in all facets of the game to beat the Chicago Force and remain undefeated, but couldn’t find their groove and suffered a 53-0 loss on May 6 at Evanston Township High School.
Chicago got off to a fast start with Cassey Brick’s 79-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown. Minnesota’s offense began strong, marching from its own 26-yard line to the Force 38 in 9 plays before having to punt, but then had just one drive that lasted more than four downs before halftime. Meanwhile, Chicago scored four more touchdowns, one on a punt return, and added a field goal to lead 39-0 at halftime.
The second half saw the Vixen defense come up with a fumble recovery and interception yet not able to keep Chicago from scoring twice more. On offense, Minnesota punted three times, lost a fumble and turned it over on downs.
Quarterback Kiersten Hansen was the night’s leading rusher, garnering 12 yards on 6 carries. Grace Cooper added 11 yards on 10 tough carries, along with 17 yards on 4 catches. In addition, the offensive line put up a great fight, only allowing one sack against a swarming Chicago defense. Hansen was 12 of 24 for 77 yards. Sam Barber caught 6 passes for 61 yards. Minnesota had just 94 yards of total offense but also its least-penalized game of the season.
On defense, Madison Schmatz and Erin Tilford each had 7.5 tackles, with at least one tackle by 8 other Vixen. Crystal Ninas and Red Bryant recovered fumbles and Anne Thiessen had an interception.
Minnesota falls to 4-1, and 1-1 in Division 1 play. They are off for a week, then hit the road for a rematch with the Kansas City Titans (2-2, 0-1 D1) on May 20.
Kansas City Titans at Minnesota Vixen
The last time the Minnesota Vixen played a team from the Sunflower State, they were both in another league, the southerly team was named the Tribe, and Minnesota had fewer than 30 players on the roster. That day, the Tribe was the victor.
But time passes, fortunes change, and a Vixen squad of 50-plus players collected four pick sixes by three different players, three sacks and three fumble recoveries on their way to a 41-0 victory over the Kansas City Titans on April 29 at Simley High School.
Cool temperatures and a steady breeze could not keep an enthusiastic and boisterous crowd of over 500 from witnessing the Vixen defense buckle down and shut down Kansas City’s running and passing games, including standout wide receiver Liz Sowers, whose sister Katie is a former quarterback for the Titans and now works in the Atlanta Falcons organization. In 2016, Sowers caught 26 passes for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns, good for ninth in the league.
The task of covering Sowers fell to second-year linebacker Crystal Ninas. “I was super nervous, but I just took it one play at a time,” said Ninas, who sent the Vixen to the 2016 championship game in their former league with a 100-yard pick six in double overtime against the New York Sharks. Ninas would return one interception 48 yards for a touchdown in this game.
The Vixen started the game with the ball but had to punt. On third and 4 for Kansas City, defensive end Drue Barber penetrated the pocket and forced Kansas City quarterback Brooke Liebsch to fumble. Cynthia “Red” Bryant recovered for the Vixen, setting Minnesota up on the Kansas City 23.
Minnesota couldn’t capitalize, however, and a bad handoff exchange resulted in a fumble and the Titans taking over on the Vixen’s 7 yard line. But two plays later, Sheena Reed popped the ball out and Liz Bain recovered it on the Titans 15. A pass interference penalty on Kansas City gave Minnesota first and goal on the 2, and Kiersten Hansen squirted through the line on second down for a 1-yard score. Katie Muller’s extra point was good and the Vixen led 7-0. Erin Tilford’s 60-yard interception return for a touchdown put the Vixen up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Neither team scored in the second quarter, despite Minnesota having first and goal on the 1 after a diving 31-yard reception by Amanda Dvorak on third and 3. Angela Griffin lost two yards on first down followed by two incomplete passes, then Muller’s field goal attempt was low and short.
The second half saw more defensive dominance by the Vixen, with rookie Connor Jo Lewis snaring two pick sixes for 46 and 72 yards. On the kickoff after Lewis’ second interception and score, Anne Thiessen caused a fumble that was recovered by Jodi “Moose” Rehlander to put the offense back on the field. In addition, Lewis clawed the ball out of the arms of a Kansas City runner to give Minnesota the ball back one play after the Titans recovered a muffed punt in Vixen territory early in the fourth quarter.
Overall, defensive end Madison Schmatz tipped three passes incomplete. Liebsch was sacked twice by the Vixen and knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a blitz by Bain. Reed and Griffin had Minnesota’s other two sacks. The Titans were held to 8 rushing yards on 30 carries, 62 total yards passing on 32 attempts, and three first downs.
Emily Evans finished the game at quarterback for Minnesota, going 3-for-3 and connecting with Sam Barber twice on the final scoring drive for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Hansen was 9 of 24 passing attempts for 98 yards and a touchdown. Barber had 6 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. After Grace Cooper left the game in the first quarter due to injury, the Vixen used a committee of Mikaila Soule, Angela Griffin and Andri Vogt at running back. The trio combined for 44 yards on 19 carries. Minnesota had 216 total offensive yards and 10 first downs.
Kansas City falls to 2-2 (0-1 Division 1) and Minnesota improves to 4-0 (1-0 D1). The Vixen’s next game is against the 2013 WFA champion Chicago Force (4-0, 1-0 D1) on Saturday, May 6, in Evanston, Il.
Minnesota Vixen @ Minnesota Machine
It was a story nearly 10 years in the making, but the first chapter of crosstown contests between the two North Star State franchises in the Women’s Football Alliance finished with an exclamation point when the Minnesota Vixen handed the Minnesota Machine a 62-2 loss at Osseo High School.
Although the Machine began play in 2009, the two teams had never met on the field prior to this season due to the Vixen being in a different league. When the Vixen switched to the WFA in 2017, a collision was all but guaranteed. While both organizations were eager to start the rivalry with a victory, the Vixen’s larger roster and deeper talent were too much for the Machine in the end.
Both teams started out a bit tentative, trading punts on their first possessions. The Vixen got going on their next drive, however, starting on the Machine’s 38-yard line and scoring after an 8-yard run by workhorse running back Grace Cooper and a 30-yard catch and run by tight end Sam Barber. The ensuing PAT was blocked, and the Machine’s Sami Linberg picked up the loose ball and scampered the length of the field for a safety. That would end up being the only Machine score of the night.
The Vixen defense had the Machine pinned down on third and 14 on their own 27 when Erin “Tilly” Tilford ran back an interception for a touchdown. The Vixen looked to break the game wide open on their next drive, but after two consecutive first down runs by Cooper, a bad snap was recovered by the Machine. The Machine however, failed to capitalize and had to punt the ball away.
The next Vixen drive was all Cooper, who gained almost a third of her 142 total rushing yards on 5 carries over the next six plays. Barber caught a 9-yard touchdown and the Vixen took the lead 14-2 when Angela Griffin ran it in for a 2-point conversion.
The Vixen would score three more times on their way to a 42-2 lead at the half. The second half was played with running time. Another pick six by Erin “Tilly” Tilford in the third quarter, plus one more score each from Barber and Mikaila Soule, accounted for the final score of 62-2.
On defense, the Vixen held the Machine to negative yardage (1 yard on 18 passes and -60 rushing yards on 19 carries) and only 2 first downs. Outside linebackers Crystal Ninas and Connor Jo Lewis each had 4½ tackles. Anne Thiessen added another interception and the team finished with 14 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery to go with Tilford’s two picks.
The Vixen had 358 yards of total offense, 203 rushing and 155 passing, including 17 first downs. Griffin rushed for a trio of 2-point conversions, and Katie Muller was good on 2 of 3 PATs. Kiersten Hansen was 6-of-13 for 122 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Backup quarterback Kenzie Anderson completed 2 of 4 pass attempts for 33 yards and a touchdown. Cooper had 14 carries with a touchdown, and added 2 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Barber led all receivers with 4 catches for 85 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Vixen now look forward to their home opener, a Division 1 matchup against the Kansas City Titans on April 29 at Simley High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central.
Minnesota Vixen @ Madison Blaze
On a beautiful early spring evening in the Midwest, the Minnesota Vixen opened their 2017 season in grand fashion, using an arsenal of weapons to churn out just over 500 yards of combined offense in a 44-0 shutout of their longtime rivals, the Madison Blaze.
It was both teams’ inaugural matchup under the Women’s Football Alliance umbrella. The Vixen, who lost to the Utah Falconz in the 2016 Independent Women’s Football League championship, were eager to build on a season in which they posted six shutouts and set attendance records at nearly every game. The Blaze, meanwhile, were looking to re-establish dominance in a new league after a 5-4 finish in 2016.
Madison started the game with the ball near midfield, but two tackles for loss and an incomplete pass had them punting to the Vixen, who took over on their own 16 yard line. Minnesota looked stalled at third and 11 on their own 26 when a mad scramble and heave by second-year QB Kiersten Hansen ended in a 66-yard reception by rookie tight end Samantha Barber for first and goal. A few plays later, Hansen stuck it in from 1 yard out for the game’s first score. A good PAT by Katie Muller had the Vixen up 7-0.
Two possessions later, Hansen and Barber hooked up again for a 37-yard score. Minnesota’s defense continued to harass Madison for the rest of the first half, sacking QB Paisley Bennett five times, allowing only one first down and standing tall to prevent a score when the Blaze had first and goal on the 4 yard line early in the second quarter. Madison’s defense also showed some mettle, sacking Hansen on second and goal from the 11 and intercepting Hansen on the next play.
Undaunted, the Vixen defense answered with a safety and Minnesota owned a 16-0 lead at the half.
The second half was all Minnesota, with Madison only taking 16 snaps on offense. Linebacker Crystal Ninas led the way with 5½ tackles, followed by defensive end Sheriba Dunn with four tackles and three sacks. Madison Schmatz added 2½ tackles and two sacks. The Vixen had 2 safeties, 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks total, plus a fumble recovery (forced by Sheena Reed and recovered by Cynthia “Red” Bryant) and two interceptions (one a 66-yard score by Connor Jo Lewis).
On offense, Barber added another touchdown reception in the second half, and Grace Cooper caught three passes for 40 yards and pounded her way to 110 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in her women’s football debut. Speedy rookie Mikaila Soule had 7 carries for 50 yards and the Vixen’s final touchdown. Muller was good on four of five PATs. Hansen was 12-of-24 passing and rushed 9 times for 37 yards. Overall, the offense generated 505 yards of total offense, 241 on the ground and 264 in the air.
The team’s next contest is Saturday, April 8, against the Minnesota Machine at Osseo Senior High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Central.
Join the Minnesota Vixen on February 25th for their annual Mixin’ with the Vixen Silent Auction and Beer Bust.
- Meet Vixen players
- Bid on over 50 baskets including sports memorabilia
- All you can drink beer*
- Dance the night away to a DJ
- Barrel of Booze raffle
All of this for only $10 at the door!!!
See you Saturday, February 25 2017 from 6pm to midnight at the newly renovated enVision Hotel!
*until both kegs are gone
The Minnesota Vixen are excited to announce they are joining the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) for the 2017 season.
The Minnesota Vixen, established in 1999 are the longest continuously operating women’s American Football team in the nation. The Vixen finished the 2016 season undefeated and Eastern Conference Champions in their former league. They expect to be strong contenders for the 2017 WFA National Championship.
The Vixen will be part of the WFA’s American Conference and compete in the Great Plains Division along with the Nebraska Stampede, Kansas City Titans, Minnesota Machine, St. Louis Slam and the newly added Madison Blaze. “We are excited for the move and are looking forward to competing against other strong Midwest teams” stated owner Laura Brown. “The move is a win-win-win scenario. It is great for the team, the WFA as well as the fans.” she continued.
The Vixen will begin their season 19th season in early April. All home games will be played at Simley Athletic Field in Inver Grove Heights, MN.
Minnesota Vixen Hold 2017 Contract Signing
The Minnesota Vixen, fresh off an undefeated regular season and two titles to their name, signed 76 women to the 2017 Minnesota Vixen Women’s Tackle Football Team Tuesday evening.
The Vixen originated in 1999 and have seen tremendous growth in the last several years. With All-Star players Lisa Brown, Cynthia Bryant, Amanda Dvorak, Kiersten Hansen, Hanah Martin, Crystal Ninas, Sheena Reed, Jodi Rehlander, and Erin Tilford highlighting the roster, this is the largest roster in team history. “We are proud to have provided a platform for so many women to join the sport of tackle football here in Minnesota” said owner James Brown.
The Vixen will compete for a championship in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) in the 2017 season. The Vixen have the majority of the 2016 roster from their championship run returning for 2017, and are excited regarding the incoming talent to the team.
See if you have what it takes to be a Vixen!!
The Minnesota Vixen are the longest continuously operating women’s tackle football team in the nation. We are currently looking for women of all shapes and sizes for the 2017 season. All women 18+ are encouraged to attend. We don’t require any prior football experience – we will teach you everything you need to know!
2017 Season Tryouts
TIME: 11 am to 2 pm
Depending on the weather we’ll either be outdoors on the field (west side of the school & parking lot), or indoors in the gym (enter through door 1 on the NW side of the school)
- Athletic shoes (cleats if you have them, but not required)
- Workout clothing
- Tryout fee – if you didn’t pre-register (same day registration $50 cash or check)
- Copy of your ID (license, Gov’t issued ID)
- Copy of your Health Insurance card (front & back)
$25 Pre-registered on-line.
$50 Same day registration.
Women- Tired of sitting on the sidelines as you watch the men play football? Want to see what
it is like to go through those football drills yourself? Ready to relive your powder puff days?
Well here is your chance!
The Minnesota Vixen are proud to announce their third annual MN Vixen Girl’s and Women’s Football
Clinic. Females of all shapes and sizes are invited to participate in this unique on the field
The Minnesota Vixen football clinic offers a distinctive opportunity for females to learn and
experience the game of football from on the field. Participants will have the opportunity to be
coached by the MN Vixen coaches and to meet actual Vixen players.
This one day clinic will encompass instruction on all three phases of the game; special teams,
offense and defense. Women will get a chance to learn about positions on the field and
participate in specific football drills.
The Minnesota Vixen are excited to announce that an historic nine players and one coach have been named to the 2016 IWFL East Conference All Star Team.
It’s not surprising that after an undefeated season and a Midwest Conference Title, that the All Star roster would boast several Vixen players. What is surprising is that the Vixen had a record nine players named to the IWFL All Stars. Even more impressive is that four of the nine players are in their rookie season including rookie quarterback Kiersten Hansen. Hansen had 18 touchdowns this season with only 2 interceptions. The other five All Star Players included three long term Vixen veterans (Bryant, Rehlander, Tilford) and two players acquired in the off season (Brown, Reed).
Representing the Vixen on the First Team East Conference All Stars are Cynthia ‘Red’ Bryant, Erin Tilford, and rookie quarterback, Kiersten Hansen. Additional Vixen players named All Stars were; Jodi ‘Moose’ Rehlander, Lisa Brown, Sheena Reed and Rookies Amanda Dvorak, Hanah Martin, and Crystal Ninas.
Not to be forgotten and appearing on his third All Star Team is Coach Damion Topping. Coach Topping’s defense led the League in points allowed (13) and had shut-outs in 6 of their 8 games during the regular season. The exceptional defense combined with the impressive offense has been the crucial to the Vixen’s success this season and the resulting nine All Star players.
The 2016 IWFL All Star Game will be held in Charlotte, NC on Saturday July 23rd as part of the 2016 IWFL Championship Weekend!