Recap vs. Pittsburgh Passion – June 2, 2012

Divas Get Past Pitt, 43-28
DC 43, Pittsburgh 28
By Rich Daniel

Recap • Statistics

Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh has been home to many storied football contests over the years, and while the Steelers have provided the majority of them, the Pittsburgh Passion and the D.C. Divas are adding their own chapters to the legacy of football in Steeltown. With the driver’s seat in the division title race at stake, the Divas pulled out a compelling 43-28 win to regain control of their destiny over the division championship.

The Passion (5-1) recovered the game’s opening kickoff after a Divas miscue and marched right down the field to take a 7-0 lead and jettison a roller coaster ride of a game in motion. The Divas’ first possession produced a 59-yard reverse by Ashley Whisonant for a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked to keep a 7-6 advantage for the Passion. Trigger McNair forced a fumble on the next Pittsburgh possession, and the D.C. offense took advantage with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Allyson Hamlin to Whisonant. The Divas (4-2) went for two and converted on a pass from Hamlin to Donna Wilkinson to extend the lead to 14-7.

Pittsburgh answered with a touchdown on the very next drive to make it 14-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Passion then scored again on their first drive of the second quarter to take a 21-14 lead. The Divas mastered a drive in response that consumed over five minutes of the clock, Allyson Hamlin rifled a six-yard pass into the end zone for a game-tying touchdown. Kris Simon converted the PAT to officially make the score 21-21.

Pittsburgh blew right back for a touchdown to take a 28-21 lead. Hamlin answered with four completions to put the Divas in scoring position near the end of the half, but her pass intended for Whisonant was picked off and the Passion took a 28-21 lead to the locker room.

The Divas’ opening drive of the third quarter saw the team march down the field again only to have a fourth and five attempt fall incomplete in the end zone. The Divas defense then answered the challenge and began their second-half shutout of the Passion. The offense got the ball back to end the third quarter and were in the midst of a 14-play drive when the third quarter concluded.

Early in the fourth quarter, Allyson Hamlin plowed over the goal line on fourth down to bring the Divas back even at 28-28. A booming hit by Ana Rosa Alvarez Flores on the ensuing kickoff set the tone for a Divas defense that would hold the Passion scoreless over the final ten minutes of the contest. T.K. Washington produced a sack on fourth down that gave the Divas another scoring chance inside of Pittsburgh’s territory.

Six carries later, Kenyetta Grigsby was in the end zone with a four-yard scamper, and the Divas were suddenly ahead, 34-28. After lining up to kick the extra point, the Divas decided instead to go for two. Grigsby finished off the drive in which she had all the carries with a two-point dive to the end zone, which gave the Divas a 36-28 margin with just over four minutes to play.

Pittsburgh’s next drive again ended with a fourth down incompletion near midfield. Grigsby took over, and her four carries resulted in 49 yards and concluded in a seven-yard touchdown run. Stunningly, the Divas had scored on their last three possessions, and with just under two minutes to play, D.C. had a commanding 43-28 lead.

Grigsby finished the day with a new career-high in carries with 41 and in rushing yards with 264. That also set new franchise records in both categories despite the fact that her longest run of the day was only 38 yards.

With the win, the Divas improved to 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in division play. The Divas can win their ninth division title in the last ten seasons with a win at Columbus on June 16.

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