The moment called for pride and determination. It was time, once and for all, to see who was the best in Pennsylvania on Saturday night at Cupples Stadium in the first-round of the playoffs in the Independent Women’s Football League.
Two unbeaten teams squared off on the gridiron and it was the Pittsburgh Passion who remained perfect at 9-0 and claimed the Mid-Atlantic Division title when they defeated the Keystone Assault 42-12.
For the Black and Gold, it was their fifth division title as they are 6-0 in the playoffs on the South Side. In fact, they are 25-2 all-time at Cupples Stadium.
Passion co-owner and NFL Hall of Famer, Franco Harris was given the honor of the coin toss at the beginning of the game.
The Passion’s offense picked up where they left off during the regular season when they averaged 34.8 points-per-game as they scored three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the contest. Head Coach Teresa Conn’s crew built a 28-6 advantage by halftime.
Pittsburgh’s running game was firing on all eight cylinders as it put up a total of 203 rushing yards. Running back Ciara Chic had the first 100-yard rushing performance of her career in the post-season as she ran for 101 yards. The Riverside, West Virginia native went over 1,000 career rushing yards during the regular season. Tailback Sonya Osselborn got the job done as she took off for 52 yards on just four carries.
Quarterback Lisa Horton was not to be denied as she rushed for three touchdowns while passing for two more scores and 154 yards on the night. During the regular season, she threw 17 touchdown passes to go along with 1526 passing yards.
Her favorite targets on Saturday were wide receivers Amanda Haeg, who had four receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown while Angela Baker got on the scoresheet with one touchdown on two catches for 36 yards. Rachel Wojdowski also hauled in three passes for 51 yards.
The defense made their presence known as linebacker Tia Montgomery led the way with eight tackles, one sack and one forced fumble that she recovered. Defensive backs Krissy Edmonds contributed one interception and four tackles while Michelle Brevard-Peters blocked a field goal and had three tackles.
Defensive lineman Kim Zubovic had one sack and a fumble recovery while linemates Kaitlain Niedermeyer and Jessica Nelko along with linebacker Olivia Griswold each had one sack. The entire unit had a team record 26 sacks during the regular season.
Last, but not least on special teams, placekicker Amy Fallon was a perfect 6 for 6 on extra points while Baker had two kickoff returns for a total of 45-yards.
It was the first time this season for the Keystone Assault (8-1) to taste defeat as it was just the second time the team from Central Pennsylvania failed to put up 20 or more points on the scoreboard.
The Passion will host the Eastern Conference Championship Game at home on Saturday, July 12 as they take on the New York Sharks (6-2), winners of the North Atlantic Division. The victor of that contest will advance to take on the winner of the Madison Blaze/Houston Energy game from the Western Conference in the IWFL World Championship Game on July 26 in Rock Hill, S.C.