Passion grounds Comets for title
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Pittsburgh Passion waited until the last possible minute to leave the locker room before kickoff of the National Women's Football Association championship game but wasted no time in pouncing on the Columbus Comets of Ohio.
The Passion, which brought an undefeated record into the game, claimed its first title with a 32-0 victory before an enthusiastic crowd of about 2,500 at Whites Creek High School.
Like a rock band teasing its fans with anticipation, the Passion remained out of site and didn't leave the locker room until three minutes before the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff. After the national anthem and the coin toss, the start of the game was delayed by about six minutes.
The Passion's offense, led by the league's premier quarterback, Lisa Horton, clicked like a Swiss Watch once the game finally got started.
The only miscue by the Passion (12-0) was when players near the end of the game tried to dump Gatorade on coach Ron Coder, but missed.
"Our offense is very powerful and what they did tonight they've done all year,'' Coder said. "You know we saw [Columbus] and we knew that we could beat them. We had more horses, we had better athletes. They have some good athletes, but overall as a team we're much better athletically."
Horton picked apart the Comets' defense, completing eight of her first 10 passes and engineering touchdown drives on each of the Passion's first six possessions. She finished 13 of 21 for 167 yards with two touchdown passes and one TD run.
"We got into a rhythm somewhere late in the first quarter by establishing our running game,'' said Horton, who is a YMCA physical fitness director. "We're so multi-dimensional. We've got the run, we've got the pass, we've got great blocking up front. I know we give a lot of coaches headaches because we've got so many weapons."
Columbus' only threat came late in the first quarter when the Comets, relying on the arm of quarterback Crystal Davis, drove to the Passion's 15. But the Passion's defense stiffened and, on fourth-and-3, Olivia Griswold, who caused havoc all game, chased down Shelly Gates for a 4-yard loss.
The loss snapped a six-game win streak for Columbus.
The Passion caused a delay in the first half and a power failure during halftime left the field dark for nearly an hour. The game finally resumed at 9:15 p.m. and Columbus' offense was no more effective than it had been earlier and suffered two disastrous plays on its first possession of the third quarter, leading to a fourth-and-23.
After Columbus' punt, Horton capped 49-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Lori Johnson giving the Passion a 32-0 lead.
The Passion rolled up 397 yards total offense.
Horton was named the offensive most valuable player.Annie O'Neill, Post-Gazette photos
The Passion's Lisa Horton runs against Columbus last night in the National Women's Football Association title game in Nashville, Tenn.
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Passion's center Talisa Beachom leads her team in celebration after defeating the Columbus Comets, 32-0, for the National Women's Football Association championship last night in Nashville , Tenn.
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First Published July 22, 2007 1:51 am