WFA 2019 Playoffs: Pittsburgh Passion Face Detroit Dark Angels For National Conference Championship

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By Larry Snyder

Imperial, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Passion (7-2-0) face their Week Seven opponent the Detroit Dark Angels (7-2-0) Saturday, June 29, in the Women’s Football Alliance National Conference Championship at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium. This WFA Division II playoff contest takes the field at 7:00 p.m.

These combatants met on the gridiron Saturday, May 25, in Lathrup Village, Michigan. The Black and Gold departed the Great Lakes State with a 35-16 victory. Head Coach Teresa Conn’s squad is 7-0 all-time against the Women of the Motor City.

PASSION POWER POINTS

Pittsburgh reaped a 20-0 advantage in the first quarter from three New York turnovers on Saturday, June 15, in their playoff opener. The Women of Steel assembled a 41-6 triumph against the Wolves when time expired at West Allegheny High School.

Leading the Black and Gold offense against the Women of Long Island was Angela Baker who threw for one touchdown and 223 passing yards. She also supplied a pair of rushing scores and 48 rushing yards. The 5-foot-4 signal caller from Slippery Rock University claimed 24 touchdowns through the air and ran for seven during the regular season.

Robert Morris University product Devon Conner owned 82 receiving yards to go along with touchdown catch. Krystal Cozzo tallied six receptions for 76 yards. They combined for 18 touchdowns over the regular season.

Conner talked with Chuck Pollock of the Olean Times Herald about playing as an H-back in the passing game, “Where I make my plays is catching the ball and using my speed. But it’s taken time to correlate my speed with football because you’re not running a straight line, you’re making moves and it’s taken time for me to translate that speed to football.”

Offensive line coach Nate Conti saw his crew of Samantha Simeone, Morgan Cross, Erica Shoecraft, Kimberly Zubovic, and Kaitlain Niedermeyer handle the line of scrimmage to allow the running game to be active. The running back duo of Arielle Smith and Kia Foster each picked up their first career playoff touchdown in the decisive win over the Women of the Empire State.

INDEFATIGABLE DEFENSE

Helping to keep Wolves offense in check was linebacker Hannah Damon who led the defense with nine tackles. Next was rookie defensive back Diamond Rodriguez with eight stops. Neidermeyer chipped in seven tackles to go along with her fumble recovery.

The foursome of Tenisha Spencer (FS), Franki Kilmer (LB), Rebecca Ehrgood (DB), and Conner (LB) each hauled in an interception from New York quarterback Danneille Ayala. Spencer led the unit with seven interceptions over the eight-game regular season.

Ellisyn Mularski and Rodriquez are an effective tandem on punt and kickoff return chores. Jana C Meister takes care of the punting duties and Kilmer is responsible for the point-after attempts.

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FLIGHT OF THE DARK ANGELS

After losing their regular season finale 40-16 to the Comets in Columbus, Detroit went back to the Buckeye State Saturday, June 15, and won their opening-round playoff game 24-8 against the Comets. It was their fourth road victory this season.

Head Coach Keith Thomas saw his squad put up 241 points across eight matchups, averaging 30.1 points per game. The defense surrendered a total of 100 points and recorded a pair of shutouts.

Quarterback Maggie Hudkins threw for seven touchdowns and ran five times into the end zone. Her favorite targets are the duo of Kaci Cunningham and Tiera Derrick-Jones.

Running back Tatyhana Pauling is the key to the Dark Angels offense with 1,481 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. She added 12 more points through the air with two receiving scores. Lisa Gomes helped the ground attack with 312 yards.

Looking to curtail the potent Passion attack is Diana Lenaway, who led the team from her linebacker position with 76.5 tackles. Defensive end Mikayla Hilton likes to get after opposing signal-callers with 6.5 sacks. Another member of the linebacking corp, Ashley Andrews collected the most forced fumbles with three while free safety Clarissa Tullis delivered three interceptions and five fumble recoveries.

Kay Wilson, a rookie offensive tackle, spoke with Matt Schnoch from the Detroit News about the Dark Angels, “There’s never a day that goes by where we don’t talk about our record and what we’re trying to accomplish. We really want to go all the way this year and show the world that we are a championship team. Many believe that this is the best team they’ve seen in years, and I also believe that. We are a very good team and we can go far with it.”

My Prediction: I like Pittsburgh to forge their fifth win at home by taking down Detroit 33-18. Grab your tickets to be part of the Gold Rush here online.

Other Voices: Ernst Zermelo maintains the Black and Gold in the third slot as of Saturday, June 15, in his WFA D-2 rankings while the Black, Crimson, and White sit at fifth. He rates Pittsburgh’s Strength of Schedule at 172.952 and Detroit’s at 108.865.

The first down counters at Massey Ratings bump the Passion up one to fourth in their popular survey. The Dark Angels jumped three spots to sixth place. The soothsayers at Massey believe the Women of Steel collect a 28-14 triumph.

Tuning In: If you are unable to get to West Allegheny High School, Chris Shovlin and Jennifer Cairns broadcast all the action on YouTube.com. You can also keep tabs of every touchdown on the Passion Twitter page (@pghpassionFB) or the ScoreStream App.

Weather: The nifty nimbus watchers at weather.com are predicting partly cloudy skies early with scattered showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon. The outlook for rain is 50 percent. The daytime high is slated to be 86 degrees. Winds could come out of the west at 10 to 15 mph. Hit the link for updates.

Next Up: The victor travels to Golden, Colorado to confront either the St. Louis Slam (9-0-0) or the Mile High Blaze (8-1-0) from the American Conference for the WFA D-2 National Championship Saturday, July 13, at Marv Kay Stadium. Kickoff at the Colorado School of Mines is Noon.

Throwback On YouTube.com – John Brown Videography – June 2018 Pittsburgh Passion Vs Detroit Dark Angels…

Top Of The Article Photo By Larry N. Snyder – All Rights Reserved

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