The Philadelphia Passion defeated the Tampa Breeze 20-14 in a tough, defensive battle in Jacksonville. The win puts the Passion in next week’s LFL finals against the defending champions Los Angeles Temptation in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tampa started the game off strong with runs by Saige Steinmetz and Tiffani Powers up the middle, and a heads-up fumble recovery by Breeze guard Adrian Purnell turned a potential disaster into a touchdown to put the Breeze up 6-0 with 15:30 to play in the first half. But Philadelphia answered immediately with a 4-yard touchdown run by LFL MVP candidate Marirose Roach with 13:00 left to go that asserted Roach’s dominance in the game. A two-point conversion run by Roach put the Passion up 7-6.
The two teams traded punches, literally and figuratively, throughout the rest of the first half, as Philadelphia’s defense stopped Tampa at the door of the goal line on the next possession. Philadelphia capitalized on their next offensive try, with strong throws by quarterback Christy Bell that setup another powerful run by Roach with 4:00 left to play that put Philadelphia up 14-6 following a Tyrah Lusby conversion. A difficult interception of Breeze quarterback’s KK Matheny’s pass by Jaleesa McCrary in the end zone stopped Tampa from scoring, again, and the two teams went into the half with Philadelphia up 14-6.
Christy Bell’s broken hand seemed of no consequence to her performance, as she continued her solid passing in the second half, connecting to Tyrah Lusby on a deep throw on the Passion’s first play. But a holding call negated another Roach touchdown with 14:00 left to play and stalled the Philadelphia offense on their first possession. A huge stop on the next possession by the Passion defense deep in Tampa territory put the Passion in the perfect position to capitalize and pull away. But Emanda Doscher, Liz Gorman, and the Tampa Breeze defense held strong and stopped the Passion in their tracks.
The Breeze offense rode the momentum provided by the defense into their next possession. Liz Gorman’s gutsy run for a first down setup a perfect pass from Matheny to Brandyce Trowell that put the ball near the 10-yard line. On the very next play, Saige Steinmetz ran around the end and took the ball into the end zone, tying the score up 14-14 following a successful two-point conversion. But Philadelphia went back to the basics on the next possession, putting the ball in Roach’s hands, and she single-handedly drove the Passion down the field and into the end zone, putting the Philadelphia Passion up 20-14, the eventual final score, with 1:50 left to play. A late drive by the Breeze offense brought Tampa all the way to the Philadelphia goal line, but a late penalty and a sack put a stop to the Breeze’s chances, and Philadelphia advanced to the LFL finals.
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