Nine weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Passion (5-2) began their 2017 Women’s Football Alliance campaign with a 30-19 victory against the Columbus Comets (4-3) at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium, part of West Allegheny High School. These adversaries close out the regular season in a rematch Saturday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Huffaker Community Sports Complex in Grove City, Ohio.
The Women of Steel are 10-1 all-time against the Women of Mid-Ohio. Their first meeting was Saturday, April 29, 2006, on the South Side of the City of Bridges and the Black and Gold won 6-0. Pittsburgh enjoys a record of 5-1 at the Huffaker Community Sports Complex.
Coming into this week, the Massey Ratings has the Passion still in the Top 10, but down one slot at No. 4 while the Comets are at No. 13. Both squads could use a strong conclusion to their season.
RESPECT FOR THE PASSION
Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Passion lost 35-34 on the road in a tremendous battle with the defending National Champions, D.C. Divas (4-3). Janice Masters, injured in the second quarter, completed 13 of 15 passes for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Coming in and taking over at quarterback was Lisa Horton. She hit 9 of 17 for 119 yards, two interceptions, and two touchdowns.
Before she switched to putting her hands under center, Horton hauled in five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. Angela Baker put up her fifth career 100-yard receiving game as she claimed 117 yards on 11 catches and three trips to the end zone.
Third-year running back Gabrielle O’Neil led the ground attack with 57 yards on five carries. Kia Foster rushed 12 times for 54 yards while Tara Catone tallied 12 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
There was no shortage of effort found on the Passion’s game film by co-defensive coordinators Stephanie Balochko and Jaharia Filmore. Inside linebacker Hannah Daman for the second consecutive week was the leading tackler with seven stops while adding a forced fumble. Defensive lineman Kim Zubovic was next with six tackles. Chelsea Zahn and Kiara Keys each had a sack against the Divas. Veteran defensive back Krystal Cozzo chipped in four tackles and a pair of pass deflections late in the fourth quarter.
Second-year wide receiver Peyton Hieb came through for the Black and Gold on special teams in the kicking department as she went 4 of 5 in her first career point-after attempts.
Team owner, head coach and offensive coordinator Hank Patterson and his crew are coming off a bye-week entering Saturday’s match-up. Their last contest was a 35-6 victory Saturday, May 20 on the road over the Toledo Reign (4-3).
Columbus’ fans have seen their team put up 224 points in seven meetings. Amanda Herbst is in charge of the signal-calling duties. The quarterback from Gahanna, Ohio is good on 48 of 122 pass attempts, 10 interceptions, and 10 touchdowns. She has rushed for a pair of scores.
For the Pittsburgh secondary, the one to watch is Deasha Talley. The 5-foot-5 wide receiver owns all 10 touchdown receptions and is averaging 17.3 yards-per-catch. When it comes to running the ball, Carrie Hall leads the box score with 670 yards on 131 carries and four touchdowns.
There is pride in the Comets defense this spring as they own back to back shutouts over the Indy Crash and West Michigan Mayhem. Linebacker Kahle Wright is the leader with 61 solo tackles and assists on 27 stops for a total of 88. Defensive end Redrick DiMarco has a trio of sacks while Talley is good for six interceptions and five pass deflections from her defensive back position.
Leah Millerman is one of the leaders on special teams as the 5-foot-9 placekicker is 24 of 26 in her point-after attempts. She is 4-for-4 on field goals with her longest going 30 yards.
My Prediction: The Passion returns from the capital of the Buckeye State with a 38-21 win and finish 6-2.
Next Up: The journey to the National Championship in the W Bowl begins Saturday, June 10 for the three divisions of the league. Per Neal Rozendaal and the Massey Rankings, the Top 6 teams in the seventh week of the WFA Division-1 Eastern Conference Playoff Rankings include the Boston Renegades, Chicago Force, Pittsburgh, D.C. Divas, Cleveland Fusion, and Atlanta Phoenix. The first-round pairings are forthcoming.
Video Looking Back At Game 1 – PittsburghPassionFB On YouTube.com – April 2017 Pittsburgh Passion Vs. Columbus Comets…