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Women’s Interhall Football: Howard prevails as favorite in title matchup

Jack Hefferon | Monday, November 15, 2010

Two high-powered teams ran out of the tunnel on Sunday, but in the end it was No. 1 Howard that held on for a 7-0 win over No. 2 Pasquerilla West and a second straight Interhall championship in Notre Dame Stadium.

The Ducks (7-0) came out with the ball first and tried to set the tone with a series of short passes, including several to freshman center Amelia Vojt. The stout Pasquerilla West (6-1) defense stepped up though, and knocked a fourth-down pass by Howard senior quarterback Kayla Bishop to the turf.

The Purple Weasels’ dynamic offense took the field with good field position, and was able to drive on several long runs by senior quarterback Simone Bigi. But after reaching the red zone, the Pasquerilla West offense stalled, and three incomplete passes from Bigi gave the ball right back to the Ducks.

Bishop and Howard capitalized by opening up their spread offense that led the league in scoring this year. Bishop found senior wide receiver Kaitlin Robinson for a 27-yard heave down the sideline followed up by a long pass to sophomore wide receiver Laura Coletti for another 20 yards. On the very next play, Bishop was flushed from the pocket, then took off and weaved through defenders for the game’s only score.

“Their defenders were crowding the middle to take away the pass to the center, so I wheeled outside and was able to find the end zone,” said Bishop, who finished with 149 passing yards.

The Purple Weasels couldn’t get their offense going for the remainder of the half, but not for a lack of trying. Pasquerilla West threw everything at Howard, running halfback passes, reverses, option passes and even a hook-and-ladder, but to no avail, as its next two drives ended in a punt and a turnover on downs.

“Their offense came at us with all sorts of looks, but our defense was really able to adapt to everything,” Bishop said.

Pasquerilla West’s defense stepped up in a big way as well, as Howard seemed primed to break the game open before halftime. One pass from Bishop was intercepted in the end zone, and Robinson was tackled just short of the goal line on the last play of the half, keeping the game in reach.

“Our offense never really clicked, but our defense was able to step up and keep us in it,” Purple Weasel captain Libby Koerbel said.

Pasquerilla West appeared to tie the game late in the second half, when Bigi found sophomore wide receiver Alice Yerokun in the flat. Yerokun scampered 41 yards to the goal line, but the play was called back on a flag-guarding call.

“They called flag-guarding on the play, that’s a tough call for us,” Koerbel said. “I don’t think it was a good call, but at least they called it both ways.”

Pasquerilla West turned the ball over three plays later, and Howard ran out the clock and celebrated as champions for the second year in a row.

For Koerbel and Pasquerilla West, it was another missed chance against the same Howard squad.

“I’m really proud of our guys, we had a great year,” Koerbel said. “But right now it feels awful.”

On the other sideline, Howard received their trophy and was able to reflect on another perfect season.

“Hats off to Pasquerilla West, they gave us everything we could handle today,” Bishop said. “To win again is just the perfect ending to our four years.”