By Larry Snyder
Pittsburgh, Pa – The Pittsburgh Passion (2-0-0) defense posted their first shutout of the season Saturday, April 30, when they downed the Tri-State Warriors (0-3-0) 35-0 at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium. It was their 20th home opener and the first time to be back at West Allegheny High School since June 29, 2019, when they met the Detroit Dark Angels in the Women’s Football Alliance playoffs.
Co-owner and co-head coach Teresa Conn spoke with Brad Everett of the post-gazette.com about the large crowd filling the bleachers, “Pittsburgh sports fans are the best. I just love them. They come and support. It seems like forever since we played, so it was such a good feeling to get back.”
New Passion special teams coach Javé Brown commented to me about being on the sideline for her first home opener, “The fans and the energy for our first game back from the pandemic hiatus could be felt through my whole body and I loved it. You could tell the excitement of our players. All of our rookies and veterans were ready to play for the home crowd. And the home crowd was ready to support their Pittsburgh Passion. It was a reunion for the masses in that home opener.”
First-year running back Maria Fautali started the Black and Gold assault on the scoreboard with a two-yard touchdown run at 12:40 in the first quarter. The point-after attempt was good by Brandy Polinick.
After rookie free safety Lawanda Pearson picked off a pass from Warriors’ quarterback Synae Williams, wide receiver Marcelina Chavez took the toss from Pittsburgh quarterback Alyssa George and went 57 yards to the end zone. Polinick made the extra point, and it was 14-0 at 10:08 in the first.
Lisa Horton, co-head coach and offensive coordinator, kept the Tri-State defense off balance when she had George lob the ball to Chavez, who hit Jana Meister with a 40-yard halfback pass for another six points. Polinick delivers the PAT, and the score is 21-0 at 6:19 of the opening frame.
With their final possession, George rolled out to her right, cut back, and went up the middle for a 27-yard touchdown at the end of the first. The point-after was no good as the Women of Steel entered the second with a 27-0 lead.
Second-year defensive end Jennifer Bova sacked Williams and forced a fumble which defensive end Amanda Coles recovered. It gave the Black and Gold the ball back on the Warriors’ 13-yard line, and Arielle Smith powered her way past the pylon for a 13-yard touchdown. On the extra point, the snap was bobbled, so Polinick scooped the ball up and completed a two-point conversion pass to Katelyn Polenik. The scoreboard read 35-0 at 14:09 in the second.
There was a tremendous effort by defensive coordinator Erik Keister’s crew to keep Tri-State bottled up. Players making the grade include Devon Peace, Hannah Daman, Niaja Brokaw, Kim Zubovic, Kaitlyn Niedermeyer, Meize Gardner, Kam Lowe, Chelsea Biggers, Jasmin Jones, and Rebecca Ehrgood.
It was clear the Tri-State Warriors could not continue due to roster limitations and first-half injuries coming out from halftime. Conn and Tri-State co-owner and head coach Rich Harrigan decided to stop the contest.
NEXT UP: Pittsburgh travels to New England Saturday, May 7, to confront the undefeated Boston Renegades (3-0-0). This meeting gets underway at 6:00 p.m. at Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere, Massachusetts.
From The Women’s Football Alliance YouTube Channel – Looking Back At Pittsburgh Passion Vs. Baltimore Nighthawks In 2019…