Gulf Coast Riptide
|Gulf Coast Riptide|
|League||Women's Football Alliance|
|Team History||Pensacola Power (NWFA) 2001-2008|
Gulf Coast Riptide (WFA) 2009-Present
|Arena||John R. Jones Field - Ensley|
|Team Colors||Navy & White|
|Head Coach||Mike Thomas|
|Division Titles||8 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)|
The Gulf Coast Riptide, formerly the Pensacola Power, is a women's full-contact tackle football team in the Women's Football Alliance (WFA) founded in 2001. The WFA plays under NFL rules with minor modifications such as ball size and kick-off placement. The Riptide's current home field is John R. Jones Field at 555 E. 9 Mile Road in Ensley. Their playing season runs April through June, with playoffs concluding in late July with the WFA National Championship Game. The "All-American Game," an All-Star classic follows the week after the championship game.
The Pensacola Power's history started one cool Saturday morning in February 2001. That's when Catherine Masters, National Women's Football Association (NWFA) CEO & founder held tryouts for the first women's football team in Pensacola. Ray Quinn (Head Coach & owner of the Alabama Renegades) and Tim Smart (Power Head Coach Candidate) were on hand to greet the first batch of football hopefuls. Over 120 women tried out for the team over the next three weekends but only 60 could make the squad. After a laborious selection process, 60 women were chosen and the team was ready to get started.
NWFA teams play according to standard NFL rules with the following notable exceptions: TDY-sized football, only one foot in-bounds is required for a reception, no blocking below the waist downfield, kickoff takes place on the 35 yard line.
The Power had less than 2 months to select a team, get in shape, order equipment and learn the fundamentals of the game. Expectations for the first season were understandably moderate. With 4 games against teams from Nashville and Huntsville, (teams with 8 games under their belts) the Power was optimistically hoping for a 4-4 season.
The Power burst on the NWFA scene with a vengeance setting records for attendance ranging from a reported 2,500 to 5,000 fans per game. No one was disappointed. During the course of their first season the Power recorded the first ever undefeated regular season, earned the Southern Division Title with the 2nd ranked defense and the 2nd ranked offense in the league, had the leagues first 1,000 yard rusher in Jill Penderghest, the league leader in interceptions with Jodi Albright, Emily Morgan as the leagues’ best punter and field goal kicker and earned a berth in the first ever NWFA National Championship game. While the Power lost the championship game to nerves and the overwhelming size and strength of the Philadelphia Liberty Belles 40-7, no one could have asked for a better start.
The 2002 season began under a heavy cloud of doubt. After an awesome 8-1-0 inaugural season but after bad management, the Power was given a new life. Bolstered by new ownership and confidence, the Power prepared for the 2002 season. With about 25 returning veterans the Power had a solid core to build on. The NWFA had added another 10 teams to the league and had recreated itself into five conferences. The Power found itself in the new Gulf Coast Division with teams from Biloxi, Panama City and New Orleans. The Power was quick to use its experience and power to dominate divisional opponents and wrapped up its’ second consecutive undefeated season and divisional title. They outscored their opponents 421-19. They had the #1 rated offense and the #2 rated defense in the league. The Power defeated the Alabama Renegades 12-8 in the first round of the playoffs but fell to the eventual National Champion, the Detroit Demolition by a score of 14-7. The Power has amassed a 17-2-0 (.894 winning percentage) record over their first two years of existence.
Unlike the 2001 season the 2002 season was a success on and off the field. With new management and solid financial controls the Power ended the year with zero debt and the ability to start the 2003 season with a small balance in the bank.
Head Coach Tim Smart — who is a retired Air Force officer currently coaching the 2006 champions (the D.C. Divas) — receives orders and is unable to complete the season. The Power warms up with a home pre-season game against the Nashville Dream winning 37-12. Coach Smart takes the Power to a regular season 7-0-0 record before he has to pack up. Defensive Cordinator Mike Thomas takes over as head coach and the transition is smooth. Coach Thomas' first official game as head coach is a victory and seals up an incredible record of 8-0-0 for the season outscoring opponents 480-10. The Power is now undefeated in regular season play for the third consecutive year.
Entering the playoffs with an official Bye and home field advantage, the Power is ranked No. 1. The first match-up was against the Alabama Renegades. With a victory of 32-12, the Power advanced to play Oklahoma City Lightning. Again, the Power was successful with a victory of 26-14 and went on to the Championship in Nashville. Although the Power played a head to head game at Vanderbilt against the Detroit Demolition, Detroit made wise use of the clock and went on to win the Championship Title for the second straight year with a score of 28-21. The Power holds a record of 10-1-0 for the 2003 Season and are the reigning Gulf Coast Division Champions and Southern Conference Champions. For the 2003 season, the Power were rated #1 Defense and #2 Offense in the NWFA according to Massy Ratings. The franchise record stands at 27-3 (.894), not including pre-season scrimmages. The National Title has so far managed to slip out of their grasp, but the Power has without a doubt established themselves as a national contender.
With Coach Mike Thomas leading the way, the Power saw some new competition, as their favorite rival the Alabama Renegades were shifted into a different division. Although the games were tougher as the competition gets more experienced, the Power had their 4th consecutive 8-0-0 regular season. New playoff rules put into place made the scenario such that you must beat each opponent by more than 30 points to ultimately gain the home field advantage. Teams who were given forfeits automatically were credited with a 30 point spread win. Although 8-0 and outscoring their opponents 398-57, the Power lost the home field advantage, was seeded #3 and had to travel for 2 out of 3 playoff games. The Power breezed their way through the first round defeating the Asheville Assault 61-0. The team met the always competitive Chattanooga Locomotion in the next round. This was the first time the two teams had met again since the 2001 season. The game began slowly with both teams showing some strengths and weaknesses but the Power opened things up in the second half and defeated the Locomotion 35-20. The final playoff game and Southern Conference Championship was against the Oklahoma City Lightning. The Power was disappointed as they weren't able to take the team to the final game with a loss to OKC. The franchise record after this season is 36-4 (.894) not including pre-season scrimmages.
Dana Wert leads the team in rushing with 796 yards on 76 carries, 11 TDs with a 10.5 average per carry. Pat Hines rushed 51 times for 454 yards and five TDs while Cassie Amato scores nine TDs on 39 carries for 342 yards. Emily Morgan has 10 receptions for 342 yards and six TDs with Jennifer Johnson adding four TDs on seven receptions for 243 yards. Morgan would add 52 PATs in 56 attempts. Tackle leaders are Jodi Wiggins (56), Val Deeb (36), Audrey Kidd (33) and Stacey Thorington (32).
This time, riding another 8-0-0 record and fifth straight undefeated season, the Power beat the Oklahoma City Lightning in overtime earning a third appearance at the Championships. They traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to play the Detroit Demolition for the NWFA Championship but they were literally out of their league as the were overpowered by a painful 74-0 loss. It was Detroit's fourth straight league championship. Dana Wert finishes 3rd in the league in rushing with 1,280 yards with 14 touchdowns, and 6th in scoring with 84 points. Sonia Kirchharr finishes 9th in the league in passing with 693 yards amid 14 TDs. Jessica Smith and Jennifer Johnson have 13 and 10 receptions, respectively, and combine for 10 TDs. Lakeisha Johnson leads the league in punt return average with a 43.0 average with three TDs, 6th in the league in sacks with 6.5 and leads the team in tackles (56). Other team tackle leaders are Valerie Deeb (39), Audrey Kidd (34), Stacy Thorington (33), Michelle Wert (30), Deb Glaze (30) and Yvonne Wilson (24). Skye Hoodless finishes 5th in the league in interceptions.
Limping home after their loss, the Power never quite recovered and suffered their first regular season loss in the francise history to the Austin Outlaws. They ended the 2006 season 6-2-0 but still captured their Southeast Division Title. The Power were beaten by the Columbus Comets in the 2nd round of playoffs to end their 2006 season. Quarterback Jamie Moore goes 21-67 for 324 yards and four TDs. Lakeisha Johnson finishes 2nd in the league in two categories: Punt return yardage with a 25.3 average, and scoring with 94 points. Dana Wert gains 485 yards on 111 carries with six TDs while Donzaleigh Patterson has 61 carries with 225 yards and four TDs. Deb Glaze finishes 10th in the league in sacks with five and second on the team in tackles with 44, while Jodi Wiggins leads the team in tackles (55) followed by Deb Mackovic (43), Audrey Kidd (39), Skye Hoodless (30), Val Deeb (29) and Bri-Ann Wright (28).
Despite capturing a 7-1-0 record and another Southeast Division Title, the Power were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Comets once again. Running back Lakeisha Johnson finishes 3rd in the league in rushing with 1,109 yards with 13 touchdowns, and 7th in the league in points with 86. Johnson's biggest game was April 28 where she gained 225 yards on 14 carries and two TDs. Kick returner Lottie Perkins finishes 3rd in kick-off return yardage with a 29.7 average and finishes the season with 529 yards on 53 carries with six TDs. Donzaleigh Patterson has 194 yards on 39 and three TDs. Wide receiver Jennifer Johnson hauls in 11 catches for 156 yards and seven TDs. Deb Glaze and Audrey Kidd finish in the NWFA Top-10 for sacks with Glaze netting 41 tackles. Team tackle leaders are Candice Artym (68), Michelle Wert (53), Deb Machovic (51) and Jodi Wiggins (43). Monica Strother posts a 19.9 punt average.
Once again, the Power finished 6-2-0 and won the Southeast Division championship. Likewise, the Power were eliminated in the first round, losing 6-0 to the Kentucky Karma. Running back Lakeisha Johnson leads the league in three categories: Rushing with 2,725 yards and 28 touchdowns, kick-off return yardage with a 36.3 average, and scoring with 196 points. Defensive back Stefanie Durant finishes 3rd in the league with seven interceptions (two for TDs) and is tied in team total tackles with Audrey Kidd (45). Zaveria Goode has 44 total team tackles. Jodi Wiggins finishes with a 24.4 punt average.
For the 2009 season, the Power moved to the Women's Football Alliance (WFA), a more unified league, and changed their team nickname to the Gulf Coast Riptide. The Power's former owner, renowned Pensacola boxer Roy Jones, Jr. stepped down as owner but retained the naming rights and logos. The Riptide's head coach is Mike Thomas. The regional name "Gulf Coast" reflects numerous players who live in surrounding cities such as Mobile, Milton and Panama City as well as the metro-Pensacola area.
Despite another well-played season and a second straight 6-2-0 record, for the first time in franchise history, the Riptide missed the playoffs. Eight teams in the WFA would make the playoffs; The four division winners from the American Conference and the three division winners plus one wildcard from the National Conference. The Riptide ended the sesaon as the league's 8th best team, however, the two losses to the eventual Southeast Division winner Jacksonville Dixie Blues sealed the team's fate. Th league's 9th ranked team, the Indiana Speed would qualify as the eighth playoff team being the wildcard in the National Conference.
Running back Lakeisha Johnson finished 5th in the league in rushing with 1,023 yards with 13 TDs, 5th in kick-off returns and 1st in two-point conversions. Quarterback Ella Williams finished 11th in the league in passing with 516 yards and 14 TDs. Dominique Jones finished 9th in the league in receiving with 247 yards and six TDs. Jamie Freeman finished tied for 3rd in the league in interceptions with four while Audrey Kidd finished tied for 9th in the league in sacks. Stefanie Durant placed tied for 6th in pass deflections while Jodi Wiggins finished in the Top-12 in punt average.
Awards / Honors
First-Team WFA American Conference All-Stars: Lakeisha Johnson
Second-Team WFA American Conference All-Stars: Ella Williams, Jamie Freeman
Honarable Mention WFA American Conference All-Stars: Audrey Kidd
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|Pensacola Power (NWFA)|
|2001||8||0||0||1st Southern Division||Lost NWFA Championship (Philadelphia 40-7)|
|2002||8||0||0||1st Gulf Coast||Won First Round (Alabama 12-8)|
Lost Semifinal (Detroit 14-7)
|2003||8||0||0||1st South||First-round bye|
Won Conference Semifinal (Alabama 32-12)
Won Conference Championship (Oklahoma City 26-14)
Lost NWFA Championship (Detroit 28-23)
|2004||8||0||0||1st South Gulf Coast||Won Southern Conference Quarterfinal (Asheville 61-0)|
Won Southern Conference Semifinal (Chattanooga 35-20)
Lost Southern Conference Championship (Oklahoma City)
|2005||8||0||0||T-1st South||Won South Division Semifinal (Chattanooga 42-12)|
Won South Division Championship (Oklahoma City 17-14)
Lost NWFA Championship (Detroit)
|2006||6||2||0||1st South East||First-round bye|
Lost NWFA Quarterfinal (Columbus 20-0)
|2007||7||1||0||1st South||Lost Southern Conference Quarterfinal (Columbus 10-0)|
|2008||6||2||0||1st South Southeast||Lost Southern Conference Quarterfinal (Kentucky 6-0)|
|Gulf Coast Riptide (WFA)|
|2009||6||2||0||2nd American Conference Southeast Division||--|
|2011||3||5||0||3rd National Conference South Atlantic Division||--|
2009 Season Schedule
|April 25||New Orleans Blaze||Pensacola||Won 28-0|
|May 2||Emerald Coast Barracudas||Panama City||Won 66-8|
|May 9||New Orleans Blaze||New Orleans||Won 20-10|
|May 16||Memphis Belles||Pensacola||Won 55-8|
|May 30||Jacksonville Dixie Blues||Pensacola||Lost 36-49|
|June 13||Memphis Belles||Memphis||Won 54-20|
|June 20||Emerald Coast Barracudas||Pensacola||Won 6-0**|
|June 27||Jacksonville Dixie Blues||Jacksonville||Lost 14-37|
** = Won by forfeit
2011 Season Schedule
|April 2||Atlanta Heartbreakers||Atlanta||Won 64-6|
|April 9||Miami Fury||Miami||Lost 52-14|
|April 30||Jacksonville Dixie Blues||Pensacola||Lost 21-14|
|May 7||Central Florida Anarchy||Orlando||Lost 41-14|
|May 14||Tampa Bay Pirates||Pensacola||Won 18-13|
|May 21||Jacksonville Dixie Blues||Jacksonville||Lost 43-0|
|June 4||Central Florida Anarchy||Pensacola||Lost 26-14|
|June 18||Carolina Raging Wolves||Pensacola||Won 36-14|
2012 Season Schedule
April 14- HOME Houston Power L 31-0 April 21- AWAY Acadiana Zydeco W 22-0 April 28- AWAY Jacksonville Dixie Blues L 49-6 May 5- HOME Tallahassee Jewels L 26-20 May 12- HOME Acadiana Zydecos L 28-0 May 19- AWAY Tallahassee Jewels L (Forfeit) June- 2- AWAY Atlanta L (Forfeit) June 9- HOME Tallahassee Jewels L (Forfeit)