Title game was no bricks shy
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It hit the Chicago Force like a ton of bricks.
It was just one brick -- Cassey Brick, running back and do-it-all dynamo for the San Diego Surge (12-0) -- but she was more than enough to help defeat the Force, 40-36, in the Women's Football Alliance championship at Heinz Field.
With the Surge down, 36-27, with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, quarterback Melissa Gallegos connected with Brick, who was named most valuable player, for a 64-yard touchdown pass. After a three-and-out by the Force, Brick took control again, returning the ensuing punt 66 yards for a touchdown with 1:49 to go.
"I picked it up off the bounce and went for it," she said. "[My teammates] made some huge blocks."
The Force (11-1) got the ball back and had a chance to win. Starting at her 5, quarterback Sami Grisafe drove the team 80 yards in three plays. On the next play, she threw an interception, sealing the deal.
"As a quarterback, I shoulder that weight," Grisafe said of having the game come down to her.
Grisafe passed for 269 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for a score. Surge quarterback Melissa Gallegos threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
The story was Brick, however, as she finished with 120 receiving yards, 66 punt-return yards, 25 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
"She's an unbelievable athlete," said Surge head coach Mike Suggett. "She's unreal."
The Women's Football Alliance and the host team, the Pittsburgh Passion, also benefited from the down-to-the-wire contest.
"One thing I know is that this league has talent," said Passion co-owner Franco Harris. "And to have a venue like this -- and I thank the Rooneys [owners of the Steelers] for working with us on this -- and then to have the type of game we had ... it was a great weekend."
Despite having the game broadcast on ESPN3, Harris said he realized there would be competition for viewers' attention from the Olympics and Pirates.
"You fight to get the attention," he said. "It's going to be a battle, and we know that."
This on-field battle will go a long way in promoting women's football, especially with its last-minute heroics.
"We're always in the game as long as there's time," Suggett said.
First Published August 5, 2012 12:00 am