|Pittsburgh Football In March?
By: Audie Chapman
Exciting, explosive, thrilling, impressive are some adjectives that could be used while watching a Pittsburgh Power Arena Football Game at the Consol Energy Center on opening night. Pittsburgh Football fans finally have something to look forward to during the Steelers off-season, they were just as pumped up as if the other black and gold boys were taking the field. Although arena football is a different style of the sport- the field is a lot smaller, procedure penalties are different, and some say the game is a whole lot faster and more points are being scored throughout the contest.
The Pittsburgh Power was hosting last year’s arena champs the Philadelphia Soul before a so far record crowd of 13,094, the fans were loud and on many occasions very festive. Lynn Swann (part owner of the team) addressed the crowd at halftime stating “he will provide a new brand of football at an affordable price the whole family can enjoy”. At least opening night at the Consol Energy Center delivered every bit of that excitement. His last words to the crowd were “thank you!!!,” “with a great start like this, we’ll have an outstanding finish at the end of the season”. I was able to ask Swann a question before the opening kickoff, I ask him “what is one word you could describe the way you feel right now? He replied “ecstatic”! I could see in his eyes he meant every letter in the word.
The Power got the crowd into the game very quickly as Bernard Morris (Power Quarterback) hit Jason Willis with a 37 yard touchdown pass on the team’s second offensive play in their first series. The Philadelphia Soul immediately responded with a 3 play 47 yard drive making the score even at 7-7. Morris also found former Aliquippia high school standout Mike Washington with a 21 yard touchdown and Lonnell Dewalt on back to back drives for a 21-7 Power lead at the end of the first quarter. Soul opened the second quarter with scoring a 5 yard touchdown but the Power answered with a 2 yard run by Duquesne University graduate All-American Joshua Rue. However possessions were a big key to the game and the Pittsburgh Power failed on many of their opportunities. Power Coach Chris Siegfried took a gamble on a surprise onside kick on the suing kickoff but it ended up not going in their favor giving the Soul Possession at the Power 3 yard line. The Power made a last chance run by scoring a field goal by Paul Edinger in the closing seconds in regulation making the score 52-52, and sending it to sudden death overtime. Just when the fans were leaving to beat the nights traffic they quickly returned to their seats to cheer on the Power.
Last year’s champs scored the only touchdown in overtime taking an opening night road victory away from the Pittsburgh Power. But it seemed like the fans didn’t care as they cheered as loud as they were when the contest had begun. As the players were headed to the locker room I asked Morris about the game he said “ Arena football is a lot like basketball, every possession counts we have to be able to take advantage of our opportunities we just came up short this time”.
I see a lot of potential in this team they are very young, hard hitting, and they have a great nucleus to give them Power, (the Pittsburgh fans)!!!