By Larry Snyder
Lathrup Village, Michigan – The defense of the Pittsburgh Passion (5-2) came together in the second half to shut out the Detroit Dark Angels (5-1) Saturday, May 25, which allowed the Black and Gold to claim a 35-16 triumph in the Great Lakes State. It was the seventh meeting all time between the two squads, and the Women of Steel own a perfect 7-0 record against the Women of the Motor City.
Coming out for the third quarter, Angela Baker took advantage of the protection from her offensive line of Samantha Simeone, Morgan Cross, Erica Shoecraft, Kimberly Zubovic, and Kaitlain Niedermeyer to connect with wide receiver Krystal Cozzo twice. The first was a four-yard throw for a touchdown, followed up with a toss for the two-point conversion. Baker provided the last Black and Gold score in the fourth on a three-yard run while Franki Kilmer was right on with the point-after attempt.
During the opening quarter, Devon Conner hauled in two touchdowns from Baker. Her original score was a 23-yard reception complemented later in the first by a 38-yard catch in the end zone. Cozzo caught the first two-point conversation. Ellisyn Mularski from her wideout spot picked up six points on a 40-yard pass in the second.
Pittsburgh head coach Teresa Conn’s defense saw linebacker Hannah Daman put up 11 tackles. The duo of Julie Ionta and Niedermeyer each had a fumble recovery. Tenisha Spencer and Cozzo added one interception apiece to the box score. Spencer was also second on the night with eight tackles.
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Looking forward to the next match-up, against the Reign at Scott High School, Toledo head coach and offensive coordinator Billy Lewis count on the running tandem of Desiree Spivey and Jane-L Timmons to move the offense. Both athletes own a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Purple, Silver, Black, and Green is averaging 13.8 points per game while surrendering 25.8. Their last victory was Saturday, April 27, a 20-3 vanquishing of the Capital City Savages in Perry, MI.
Leading the stopping power of the Reign defense is Marabeth Lewis who has 20 solo tackles and assisted on 13 more from her linebacker position. Defensive end Shontelle Shelton brings four sacks to the score sheet while Lynn Eubank has two interceptions. When it is time for Special Teams to take the field, Anthonyeisha Vinson is averaging 23-yards on her punt returns.
Legacy: The Reign began in 2003. In a bit of a history lesson, in 1971 Toledo was the home of the Troopers who assembled a 61-4 mark before disbanding in 1979. Per Kim Palmer at Reuters, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, honored the program in 1983 as the “winningest team in professional football history” in an exhibit. Later in 2014, the Troopers were inducted into the Women’s Football Foundation Hall of Fame.
My Prediction: I am forecasting a 41-6 victory for the Black and Gold as they conclude the Women’s Football Alliance regular season at 6-2.
Other Voices: The diligent spectators at Massey Ratings liked what they saw in Michigan and advanced the Passion two slots this week to fifth in their survey. Toledo is 35th in the pecking order. The Massey staff thinks Pittsburgh will gather their fourth shutout of the 2019 campaign.
Weather: The cloud clan at weather.com is projecting a possible isolated thunderstorm for Saturday evening. The chance of rain is at 50 percent. After a high of 78 degrees during the day, the temperature at game time should be around 70 degrees. Winds could come out of the west to southwest at 10 to 15 mph. Click on the link for updates.
Acknowledgment: My profound thanks to Krystal Cozzo for providing the stats for Pittsburgh in the matchup with Detroit. I appreciate her contribution to this story.
Next Up: With the victory over Detroit and a potential win against Toledo, the Passion is wrapping up the regular season to possible clinching at least a home contest in the opening round of the WFA D-2 playoffs and maybe home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Sympathy: This week I would like to offer my condolences on the passing of Fran Ferragonio to Lauren and the rest of her family. Everyone will miss his smile and assistance on game day. My thoughts and prayers are also with the Passion organization.
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