D.C. Divas WR #81 Natalie Randolph slides for a catch. Randolph made history when she became the head coach at Coolidge HS in Washington DC.
A Championship Team - Dominant for a Decade!
Donna joined the D.C. Divas when they made their full-contact football debut in 2001 in the National Women's Football Association (NWFA). Composed of women from varied professional and athletic backgrounds, the team was the first of its kind in the Washington metropolitan area. Coach Ezra Cooper took the helm and was the Divas head coach for 8 seasons.
In their first year the Divas discovered that there was a lot of football to be learned if they wanted to be a successful football franchise. After losing the first game to Philadelphia 40-0, and going 3-7 on the year, the Divas focused on off-season training and improvements.
In 2002 the Divas improved to 5-3 and just missed the playoffs. The following year Donna moved from playing on both sides of the ball at Defensive End and Fullback to Running Back and rushed for over 1000 yards in 8 games to lead the league in rushing and the D.C. Divas to their first Division Title and a 7-1 regular season record. The Divas lost to Philadelphia in the playoffs.
The Divas went on to win another Division championship in 2004 and made it all the way to the Conference Championship game where they lost to Detroit, in a battle. The Divas made an off-season move to bring in ardent fan Paul Hamlin as the owner. He agreed to purchase the team after encouragement from his daughter, quarterback Allyson Hamlin.
In November 2004 the Divas partnered with radio personalities "The Sports Junkies" for a highly successful charity game called the Turkey Bowl. The game pitted men vs. women in a full tackle game for the first time in history. The Junkies stacked their team with top athletes and former players and prepared for the battle of their lives. They beat the Divas that night but gained a tremendous respect for the way we play the game and the way we HIT! Over 8,500 fans turned out, which is believed to be the largest crowd ever to watch a women's tackle football game on a team's home field. The success of The Turkey Bowl was tied closely to the trash talking , bantering and women bashing by the Junkies on local radio every day for months leading up to the event, which created a stir for the Divas and the local community.
In 2005 the team moved its home field to the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex. The Divas continued their success with another Division Championship and a perfect regular season. They advanced to the Conference Championship game for the second year in a row only to lose once again to the Detroit Demolition.
In 2006 Donna moved to linebacker and the Divas rolled to their third straight undefeated regular season. The Divas defense was dominant, allowing just six points over the course of the first nine games and only twenty for the entire season. The Divas offense was just as imposing, rolling to a scoring average of 47 plus points per game. On Saturday, August 5th, 2006 in Pittsburgh, the Divas faced the Oklahoma City Lightning in the Championship Game. This time they would not be denied, winning the NWFA Championship over the Oklahoma City Thunder 28-7. A total team effort led to the victory and the team's first World Championship. Donna came back to play with a torn ACL and contributed with several carries at running back including a two point conversion.
The Divas moved to the IWFL in 2007 and were undefeated during the eight-game regular season for the fourth straight year. Combined with the 11-0 season in 2006, the Divas had a record-setting 19 straight wins over the two seasons, They lost to Atlanta in the playoffs to end the season in a heart-breaker. From 2007 to 2010 the Divas played in the IWFL.
The Divas 2008 season was an exciting one against outstanding competition from New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh. The team finished with it's worst record since 2001 at 4-4. In a season where all four exciting and hard-fought defeats come in the last two minutes of the game.
In 2009 Coach Howard was hired and became the second head coach of the Divas. He led the team back to the playoffs with an undefeated regular season to Boston to play for the Eastern Conference Championship. In one of the most thrilling moments in Divas history, Tara Stephenson returned a kickoff 85 yards for the game-winning touchdown against the Militia with less than a minute to play. The Divas advanced to the IWFL Championship game in Texas against the Kansas City Tribe. The Divas led the contest 10-7 in the third quarter but fell 21-18 as the Tribe made a comeback in the fourth quarter.
In 2010 the Divas finished the season as the Southeast Division Title. This was the seventh division title in the Divas ten-year history. The team advanced to the Eastern conference championship for the second straight year and the fifth time over all, but lost to the Boston Militia (who went on to win the IWFL Championship).
The 2011 season brought about another coaching change as Tim Smart took over the head coaching position and a move to the WFA (Women's Football Alliance). The Divas won the Division Title for the seventh time in eight seasons and advanced to a Conference Championship rematch with Boston. The Militia defeated the Divas and went on to win their second World Championship.
Going into the 2012 season the Divas made another coaching change, this time bringing in former player Allison Fisher as the head coach. On her first play from scrimmage, Donna was hit by by a Pittsburgh defender on the side of her knee and blew out her MCL, leading experts and doctors to believe that her season was over. The Divas would lose that game and find themselves in a hole to start the year. In one of the most astounding comebacks in football history, Donna pushed through an intensive treatment program and came back to play in the rematch against the Passion 6 weeks later. She made an immediate impact on the game and helped the Divas win a tough game and secure the Division.
The Divas once again found themselves battling their way into the playoffs, winning their 9th Division Title in 12 Years. After a first round bye the Divas beat the Pittsburgh Passion in an exciting home Playoff game and earned the right to play Boston for the third straight time in the playoffs. The Boston game was rough and got even worse when running back Okiima Pickett was hit and broke her lower leg completely through, known as the Joe Theismann injury. The subsequent final minutes of the game were overshadowed by the bench clearing brawl that ensued on the final play of the game. The Divas lost that game and had to watch the Championship game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh as San Diego beat Chicago (who eliminated Boston in the Conference Championship) 40-36 to win the National Championship.
The 2013 DC Divas team went through a rebuilding phase, but dug deep with a young team to win their 10th Division Title. Like the previous season, the Divas played Pittsbugh in the first round of the playoffs and beat them in an exciting match-up. Once again the Divas traveled to Boston for a Conference playoff game that ended in defeat.
The 2013-2014 off-season was very successful as the Divas picked up an exciting group of rookies and veteran talent. They have put in the work and are preparing for a championship run. Check out the schedule on Donna's front page for a list of all home games.
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