Then, there were two…just two teams ravenous for one more victory.
The late head coach of the Houston Oilers, Bum Phillips once said, “The road to the Super Bowl runs through Pittsburgh, sooner or later you’ve got to go to Pittsburgh” That playoff ramp is open again between the ‘Burgh and Texas.
The Pittsburgh Passion, who are the unbeaten Eastern Conference Champions of the Independent Women’s Football League, will meet the Western Conference top guns, the Houston Energy in a showdown at 7:05 p.m. tonight at District 3 Stadium in Rock Hill, SC to determine the best of the best.
Houston went 5-1 during the regular season as their offense scored 138 points while their defense permitted 67 points to go up on the scoreboard. The Energy’s defense can take pride in that they had two shutouts during the regular season and one in the playoffs.
Head Coach Brian Wiggins squad put up two convincing wins by downing the Phoenix PhantomZ 90-26 and the Madison Blaze 53-0 in the playoffs on their journey to the IWFL championship game.
While it is impressive the Energy offense also put up 62 points on Phoenix during the regular season, they generated two 2-point victories over the San Antonio Regulators over the course of the regular season.
The Black and Gold defense took care of business this season as they gave up a total of just 24 points over the eight game regular season to go along with four shutouts. In the playoffs, they permitted 12 points each to the Keystone Assault and the New York Sharks.
It should be noted that no one has been able to generate an extra point or two-point conversion against the Passion this season.
Defensive linemen Kim Zubovic and Octavia Griswold tied for the team lead in tackles with 39 each. Defensive end Jessica Nelko put up five sacks while linebacker Olivia Griswold and defensive tackle Kaitlain Niedermeyer both contributed 38 tackles.
Cornerback Krissy Edmonds had six interceptions during the regular season and added one more in each of the Passion’s playoff victories over the Assault and Sharks.
Free safety Alex McAtee contributed two interceptions over the 8-0 regular season and chipped in back-to-back interceptions in the first quarter against New York.
The Passion offense is led by quarterback Lisa Horton, who threw for two touchdowns and scrambled for two scores against New York in the Eastern Conference match-up. She was 91 of 162 and 17 touchdowns during the regular season.
Her favorite targets have been wide receivers Rachel Wojdowski for seven touchdowns, Amanda Haeg for one touchdown, and Angela Baker for eight scores.
Running back Ciara Chic claimed 89 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown against the Sharks. On the season, her 511 yards averaged out to 5.3 yards per carry while getting into the end zone four times. Fullback Kadesha Clark is not to be overlooked at the goal line as she punched in seven touchdowns this season.
Placekicker Amy Fallon got the job done on special teams as she was good for 33 out of 36 extra point attempts and went four of six in field goal attempts. Her longest field goal was a personal best 33 yards.
From The Clipboard: The last time Pittsburgh won the national championship was 2007 when they shut out the Columbus Comets 32-0 at White Creek High School near Nashville, TN.
There are five players still with the Passion since their inception in 2002 and when they started playing games in 2003. They are Horton, long snapper and back-up quarterback Kara Prentice, linebacker Beth Amato, tight end Kate Sullivan and former player, now co-owner and head coach Teresa Conn. They continue to put the Passion back in Pittsburgh!