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PITTSBURGH (08-04-12) On a sunny afternoon at Heinz Field, the San Diego Surge (12-0) earned their first Women Football Alliance national title after a 40-36 victory over the Chicago Force (11-1).
A fast start gave the Surge a 20-6 lead in the first quarter, but they would find themselves down 27-36 with 2:28 left to play in the fourth. Their championship hopes were looking bleak. They were going to need two unanswered scores or else end another stellar season with a championship loss.
Surge running back Cassey Brick came to the rescue. She caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Melissa Gallegos to cut Chicago's lead to 36-34.
On the next possession, Chicago was forced to punt after tight end Kimberly Marks dropped a wide open pass on third and 7. The Surge were out of time outs with 2:13 left to play. If Marks held on to that pass, it would've more than likely sealed the victory for Chicago.
Instead Cassey Brick returned the punt for 66-yards and what ended up being the game-winning touchdown.
Brick's clutch play gave the Surge a 40-36 lead with 1:43 left to play, but the game was far from over.
Although a muff on the ensuing kickoff return put Chicago on their own five yard line, Quarterback Sami Grisafe drove the offense down to the Surge 15 by completing three consecutive passes (22, 28, & 30 yards) to three different receivers.
Grisafe's streak came to a critical end after her pass was picked off by Surge linebacker Cilena Mosley.
The Surge kneeled on the ball and celebrated their hard fought championship victory.
Other big play makers for the Surge were Holly Peterson who set things off by returning the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, and Jessica Javelet who caught a deep touchdown pass for 88 yards in the first quarter. Defensive back Lori Moore recorded 11 tackles, a fumble recovery, and three pass deflections that could have been interceptions.
Chicago running back Melissa Smith lived up to her reputation as the best rusher in the WFA by putting up 122 yards on the ground. It was her effectiveness in the run game that got the Force out of their early funk and in the lead for most of the second half.