The Maine Mayhem spent the weekend of July 22-24 in Charlotte, N.C., where they competed on Friday morning in the 2016 Independent Women’s Football League Affiliate Bowl against the Knoxville Lightning – and emerged hugely victorious, 48-0.

The Mayhem went into the bout as thoroughly prepared as they could, given they’d never faced off against the Lightning. “We hadn’t played Knoxville before,” said team Co-Captain (and organization President) Alicia Jeffords, who hails originally from the Windham area but now lives in Gorham. “Our strategy was from watching film. We watched nearly every game that Knoxville played this year.”

“We battled hard all season and that continued into championship weekend,” said Jeffords’s fellow Co-Captain, Kristianna Springer (Oxford). “We were ready to prove to not only teams who’ve dominated us, as the Rebels, in the past, but to everyone in the [league], as well as ourselves, that we have what it takes to be great – and we did just that!”

The Mayhem did most of their damage vs. the Lightning in the first quarter, putting up 34 points. QB Theresa Hendrix (Scarborough) scored a rushing TD at 9:23, and Shannon Nicely (Gorham and Standish) notched the extra point for a quick 7-0. Hendrix immediately recovered a Mayhem onsides-kick, and roughly 45 seconds later rushed for her second TD. Nicely followed with another PAT.

At 7:12, Frankie Lee Curtis (Sabattus) recovered a fourth-down fumble by the Lightning punter, a turnover the Mayhem promptly capitalized on. Hendrix and Nicely hooked up for a pass TD and Nicely added the kick for 21-0.

Jeffords (Windham and Gorham) added a rush TD at 3:13; Nicely’s PAT attempt this time around missed its mark, though she kept her composure and nailed her next attempt, following Curtis’s fumble-recovery and touchdown at the nine-second mark.

“We prepared like there was no tomorrow,” said Jaimee Gammon (Limington). “Fine-tuned every little problem we had and gave it our all. We knew there was going to be a big temperature difference and got our bodies ready for it. We wanted to go into the game with no flaws and no errors – and I think we achieved that.”

The team added seven more in the second quarter – Paula Beaulieu (Dayton) tallied a rushing TD and Nicely added the PAT at 7:54 – and seven in the third as well, capping the W when Beaulieu again rushed the ball in and Nicely again split the uprights. Haylee Graves (Brunswick) recorded a sack in the third, downing the Knoxville punter at the team’s two-yard line as she prepared to kick.

A recording of the game is available to stream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-WBfEIyA58.

A number of the Mayhem also earned the opportunity to participate in the weekend’s All-Star Game. Jeffords played middle linebacker for the Eastern Conference squad, Beaulieu played outside linebacker, Hendrix played QB, Curtis played guard and some snaps on the defensive line and Jessika Lopez (Gorham) played guard. The Eastern Conference fell in the All-Star Game, 7-30.

“I’ve been playing women’s football for 15 years,” said Lopez, “and I have got to say that, after what seems like a lifetime of losing, it feels amazing to be on a team that not only won a championship, but a team that literally came from the ashes of a program that just wasn’t working to rise to the top.”

“Going to a championship and coming out on top as a team is a feeling like no other, but to have shared it with my entire family – and not just my blood relatives – makes it all that much more amazing,” Lopez said. “I have a feeling … if we can get the same girls back next year, and add to our football family by a few, we will be on our way to even greater things. But for now, we’ll take what we worked so hard for.”

“I can’t explain the joy and happiness that comes along with it,” said Springer. “I’m so proud of each and every one of my sisters. It’s been a true honor and pleasure to be one of their Captains this season, and I wouldn’t want to take the field with anyone else.”

“The team is still on a high from this weekend,” said Jeffords. “We cannot wait to get back on the field to prepare for next year. We are looking forward to building our team for more success in the future. The Mayhem are planning our women’s football camps for this fall to recruit players for the 2017 season.”

“I couldn’t completely put into words what this experience is like,” said Graves. “How do you put into words how it feels to run off the field and high-five your coach when you have an awesome play, or when see numerous teammates score touchdowns, or the encouragement and coming-together of all the other teams across the nation?”

“The Championship highlighted how our team had come together, how we had become a family,” Graves said. “It left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Maine is a competitive football program. I cannot wait to see where this program goes.”

The Mayhem, online at https://mainemayhemfootball.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/mayhemfootball2016/, recruit from all over Maine and welcome women from elsewhere in New England as well.

 

The Mayhem, freshly crowned Affiliate Bowl Champions, pose after their win over the Knoxville Lightning.

The Eastern Conference All-Stars – including Mayhemers Alicia Jeffords (82) and Theresa Hendrix (23) – take the field in Charlotte, N. C., this past weekend.

The Mayhem All-Stars, from left: Jessika Lopez, Alicia Jeffords, Theresa Hendrix, Frankie Lee Curtis and Paula Beaulieu.