Friday, August 3, 2012

Women's football title game hits Heinz Field - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


By Meredith Qualls

Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 1 hour ago

Pittsburgh on Saturday will serve as host to the first women’s football championship to be played in an NFL stadium when the SilverSport Women’s Football Alliance national championship kicks off at Heinz Field.

The 4 p.m. game, hosted by the Pittsburgh Passion, is the focus of the inaugural Breaking Barriers Festival and comes 40 years after the passage of Title IX.

â€Å"The Rooney family has always been supportive, helping break barriers for so many things, especially in the area of football,” said Teresa Conn, Passion owner and head coach.

The Chicago Force and the San Diego Surge, both undefeated, will play in the championship game. The Passion (8-2) ended their season in the second round of the playoffs, losing to the DC Divas, 45-30.

â€Å"You can hardly believe how far it’s come in 10 years,” Conn said, referring to the Passion’s growth from their first game at Belle Vernon Area High School after the franchise was formed in 2002. Next season, the team plans to play at the Riverhounds’ 3,500-seat stadium at Station Square.

â€Å"You see how far things have come over the last 40 years,” Conn said. â€Å"I think there’s just a great respect for all those who have paved the way.”

The Force (11-0) advanced to the title game for the second time in team history by defeating the Boston Militia, 35-34, on July 21. The Force played their best half of the season, leading 35-14 at halftime, but the defending champion Militia (10-1) scored 20 points in the second half to come within a point. Boston’s Danielle Resha failed to convert the extra point that would have tied the game.

The Surge (11-0), in their second year, beat the Dallas Diamonds, 56-29, to advance to the championship. San Diego’s 5-foot-6 quarterback Melissa Gallegos connected with receiver Jessica Javelet and running back Cassey Brick for touchdowns in the first half to give the Surge a 35-13 lead.

San Diego has allowed only a league-low 48 points this season. Chicago, meanwhile, is second in team scoring with 597 points, followed by the Surge’s 592.

Conn is looking forward to watching history happen this weekend.

â€Å"The best place in the world to be involved in football is the city of Pittsburgh,” Conn said.

The WFA title game will be aired live on ESPN3. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

Meredith Qualls is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at mqualls@tribweb.com or
412-380-5637.

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