By Larry Snyder
Pittsburgh, Pa – The Pittsburgh Passion (3-2-0) wraps up the 2022 campaign at home Saturday, May 28, against the D.C. Divas (2-3-0) at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium. The enduring Women’s Football Alliance rivals meet at the 50-yard line at 6:00 p.m.
Last Saturday, the Women of Steel were down 20-13 at halftime and could not finish their comeback as they lost 28-19 to the Detroit Venom (4-2-0) at West Allegheny High School.
First-year wide receiver Marcelina Chavez had the Pittsburgh fans going wild as she took the opening kick-off 85-yards for the score. Brandy Polinick delivered the extra point, and the Black and Gold led 7-0 at 14:40 in the first quarter. The rookie is listed as an All-American First Team player in the National Division on the WFA website.
Detroit answered back at 7:37 in the first. After grinding the ball out with their running game, Kaci Cunningham connected with tight end Jessikah McKenzie on an eight-yard throw to tie the matchup 7-7. The opening frame would end with the two locked on the score sheet at seven apiece.
The Passion would strike first in the second. Polinick, a Penn State Behrend alumni, collected six points on a one-yard plunge into the end zone at 11:25. Special teams did not add the extra point as the ball hit the upright. The Women of Steel owned a 13-7 edge on the scoreboard.
Clarissa Tullis, a WFA All-American First Team tailback, gave the Women of Motown their first lead with a touchdown carry at 7:14. Sarah Monte provided the extra point, so Detroit’s box score read 14-13. Running back Erinn Payton, on a fourth and one, entered the end zone at 1:53 in the second. Monte did not pick up the extra point this time as the Venom led 20-13 at the half.
Pittsburgh procured their last touchdown through the air at 5:30 in the third. Quarterback Alyssa George hooked up with wide receiver Jana Meister on an eight-yard pass. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, so Detroit held a slim 20-19 advantage.
Tullis plowed in for the score from eight yards out at 1:11 in the third. The Venom added the two-point conversion to the clipboard and claimed a 28-19 lead. It would be the last score of the night. There was a lightning delay at 1:07 of the third, but both teams came back out 30 minutes later to play the entire fourth quarter.
Steelers star running back Najee Harris attended the game and commented to Adam Bittner of post-gazette.com, “This is big to me, right here. Women’s football, and not only that, they’re in pads. It’s not like it’s flag football. Seeing stuff like this, I think it’s big. It needs to have more notoriety. That’s why I tried to bring some guys from the Steelers over here to report some of the game. Take some pictures and post about it.”
Per The Pittsburgh Passion Facebook Account…
The Divas seek to break a two-game losing streak when they take the field against the Black and Gold. After five games, the Burgundy, Gold, and White average 33 points per contest.
D.C. head coach Allysea Marfull has split the quarterback duties between Jennell Thomas and Amanda Congialdi, who have combined for 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The wide receiving duo of Lexie Floor and Shaquanda Gainey collected seven scores each. Dajah Scott is the lead running back and has four trips to the end zone.
Kucheria Johnson, Genaya Davis, Shanice Cole, Chantal Ridlon, Anastasia Olavuo, and Narcesca Arzu are the heart of the Divas’ defense as they limited the Baltimore Nighthawks to a total of 12 points in two games this season.
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NEXT UP: If the Black and Gold beat the Divas, they will finish the 2022 regular season with a record of 4-2-0. They will tie the Detroit Venom for the last playoff spot in the WFA Pro National Division. In their two games this season, the Passion outscored the Venom 46 to 36.