By JOE SCANNELLA
Spartans News Service
EVERETT, Wa. — The Seattle Spartans (0-1) hope the three-hour drive down Interstate 5 leads to their first Womens Football Alliance win of 2022, when they play the Capitol City Pioneers (1-0) on Saturday in Keizer, Ore.
The game is a clash between two of the WFA's top running offenses. Seattle, with Division II's second-ranked ground game (159 yards), lost 20-0 to the Portland Fighting Shockwave in the season-opener, while Capital City's sixth-ranked Division III rushing attack (211 yards) paced a 14-6 win April 9 against the Oregon Cougars.
Seattle features halfback Ashley Gearardo, the division's No. 3 running back, who carried 23 times for 109 yards, added nine catches for 47 yards, and grabbed an interception against Portland. Halfback Nicole Pelham (12-49) alternates with Gearardo. Seattle's offensive line includes all-stars Katrina Rooks and Ines Cuevas, and rookies London Hester-Willams, Rachel Killstrom, Emily Ketzenberg, and Ciara Jay.
Spartans quarterback Lashaunda Wansley, a surprise starter, went 18-22-77 against Portland. Her main targets are tight end Sabrina McDonald (2-14) and Pelham (2-9). Wansley is spelled by rookie Lauren Blaser, who went 2-5-14 in the season-opener.
The Spartans sixth-ranked defense expects more good things from defensive end Hester-Williams, who racked up a sack and a fumble recovery against Portland. McDonald and defensive back Suellen Siqueira-Fisher each added an interception.
Seattle's defense will have its hands full with Pioneers running back Alyssa Flores (19-96, one TD), who leads Capital City's 11th-ranked offense (232 yards per game, 211 rushing). Flores also plays a linebacker and is the division's top punter (1-45).
Both teams look to clean up on the penalties that marred their opening games. Seattle's eight penalties top Division II, while the Pioneers eight penalties rank seventh in their division.
WHAT: Capital City Pioneers vs. Seattle Spartans
WHEN: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: McNary High School, 595 Chemawa Road N., Keizer, Ore.
ADMISSION: $10 adults, free ages 12 and under.