New Hampshire Rebellion wins home opener behind Selina Collins and dominant defense

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New Hampshire Rebellion women’s tackle football team pulled out a solid 18-0 win over the Connecticut Hawks during Sunday’s home opener at Gill Stadium. Photo/Stacy Harrison

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MANCHESTER, NH – The New Hampshire Rebellion pulled out a solid 18-0 win over the Connecticut Hawks during Sunday’s home opener for the Rebellion at Gill Stadium.

Both teams, which are part of the Women’s Football Alliance, arrived early Saturday for a 5 p.m. game. The Hawks had traveled two and a half hours from their hometown of Waterbury, CT, to play in Saturday’s game. Many Rebellion players crossed the Massachusetts border north to play their first home game of the year.

At the beginning of the game, after the singing of the national anthem, a moment of silence was held for Choon Chae, a wide receiver who played with the team in the 2022 season. She passed away on January 1st, 2023. In her honor, the team has permanently retired her number, 9. 

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NH Rebellion team captain Selena Collins coaches players on the bench during Sunday’s home opener at Gill Stadium. Photo/Winter Trabex

The mood on the sidelines for the Rebellion was convivial and upbeat. After winning their season opener against the North Connecticut Nightmare 29-6, the Rebellion as a team carried an optimistic feeling with them.

In Saturday’s game, the team was carried by the fiery presence of Defensive Coordinator Tim Libby and the steady, calm presence of Head Coach Rich Dube. The team’s defense put on a dominant performance, beginning the first quarter with two sacks by Ashleigh Nagy and a tackle for a loss to end a Hawks drive

The Rebellion defense did more of the same in the second and third quarters, getting sacks and tackles for loss. The Hawks regularly had to put after getting into third and long situations. The Rebellion’s final stand on defense ended with an interception by linebacker Missy Mahoney.

While the Hawks offense did show signs of life at times, including converting a 3rd and 21 in the first quarter, they were unable to string long drives together. When they did get the ball, they often went backward as often as they went forward.

The Rebellion offense, meanwhile, largely relied on its running game, splitting duties between quarterback Kim Borque, Quincy Sundstrom, and Selina Collins, each of whom had a rushing touchdown. Collins also played several snaps on defense, in addition to taking duty as a kick returner.

“I felt great,” Collins said about her touchdown. “I honestly, when I was coming through the line, there was a couple of girls….I don’t know what happened, I just ran the right way. I wanted that one to be for Choon.”

They were less successful on special teams with two blocked extra points and a failed two-point conversion. A muffed punt early in the second quarter almost gave the Hawks a chance at good position; this was soon erased by a forced fumble and fumble recovery by the Rebellion defense.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Coach Dube said. “Our girls played well. The main thing is to get the ball. Sack the quarterback if we can, tackle them in the backfield, make them lose yardage per down. It just helps backing them up, they can’t score touchdowns.”

Following Saturday’s win, the Rebellion is 2-0, at the top of WFA’s Division 3 North East. They travel to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to take on the Harrisburg Havoc. They will return to Gill Stadium in Manchester on May 20th at 5 p.m. to face the New York Knockout.

Photo Gallery/Erin Williams Photography

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About this Author

Winter Trabex

Winter Trabex is a freelance writer from Manchester and regular contributor to Community Voices.