By Derek Fleming
The Week 2 slate saw just four games played, but that didn’t mean the women of the WNFC didn’t bring all the action. Despite the limited number of games and the final scores, there were plenty of players that coaches nominated for honors in Week 2. Gutsy performances set the tone for our picks this week as all three players awarded represent teams that were successful in Week 2.
It didn’t take long for last year's Offensive Player of the Year to establish herself as the greatest quarterback in women’s football. Texas Elite Spartans’ quarterback Brittany Bushman exploded against the Houston Mambas. Despite playing the first half and just one drive in the third quarter, Bushman tallied 12 completions for 187 yards, three touchdowns to three different receivers, and a QB rating of 120.0.
“If I would have left her in for the second half, she would have 400 passing yards, easy,” said head coach Odessa Jenkins. “It was one of the best QB performances this league has ever seen.”
Bushman took the sitting in stride, saying she would have loved to stay in and keep playing, but she sees the bigger picture. This will likely be the last season Bushman plays and her mindset is focused on ensuring that the next generation of quarterbacks in Texas are ready to pick up wherever she leaves off.
“I’m just taking in every game and every experience with my team,” Bushman said. “I’m trying to be as present as possible and enjoy the experience because I don’t know how many more opportunities I will get to get on the field in my Elite jersey with my family.”
The Elite Spartans crushing victory over Houston wasn’t just a lopsided, offensive affair. In many ways, it was the Spartans' defense that shut down opportunities the Mambas would have that led to the offense getting great opportunities to score. As a result, the team becomes the first two-position POTW winner this season. Defensive Coordinator, Lakisha Spain wanted to make sure the selection committee truly understood the level at which Week 2 Trench POTW Renee Fruean played on the defensive line, describing her performance as “MONSTER.”
“She allowed one-yard rushing on the night. Yes, you read that right,” Spain said. The Mambas feature one of the league's brightest stars at the running back position, making Fruean’s performance all the more remarkable.
“They were trying to throw, but on the offensive line, they were doubling and tripling me, which opened up opportunities for our linebackers,” Fruean said. “I’m used to getting double-teams, but I felt like the center was a little bit smaller than me and I was able to push past them to get into the backfield.” In true POTW form, Fruean was frustrated with not being able to record a sack to go along with her devastating shutdown of the running game.
The POTW selection is always a fun process because of the lack of context and details the selection committee gets. The Defensive Player of the Week selection highlights how, sometimes, it’s a players drive that gets them noticed, even when they are not one of the more familiar faces in the league. Kansas City Glory linebacker Kelly Whitehead is making her debut season count, especially after traveling all the way from Australia to join the team.
Whitehead had an astounding 10 tackles and two pass deflections in a performance he
r coaches remarked was “the major reason we came out on top this weekend.” The Glory edged out an 8-6 victory over the Phantomz to extend the season record to 2-0. Her coaches described her performance as “textbook,” a comment that Whitehead found amusing.
“We drove on a bus all the way to Philly and came out a little flat,” Whitehead said. “Then, after halftime, we kind of woke up and said, ‘We’ve got to get this done.” After playing in a men’s league in Australia due to the lack of a women’s league, Whitehead is quickly establishing herself as a real threat on defense.