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Indiana grad helps lead Passion

by on June 27, 2014 10:40 AM

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Passion have put together quite a season, but that won’t matter much when it all goes on the line Saturday.

Not that Kim Drieschalick is feeling any pressure, mind you.

The Passion (8-0) face the Keystone Assault (8-0), from Enola, in the Mid- Atlantic Division tiebreaker at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s South Side with a spot in the Independent Women’s Football League’s Eastern Conference Championship on the line.

“I look at it as, it’s another game, because I play them all the same,” said Drieschalick, an Indiana native and the Passion’s starting right tackle. “I go hard, give everything I have. But we’re definitely excited. … It’s another game to me. Yes, it’s important, but every game is important.”

Drieschalick, in her third season, is joined on the team by fellow Indiana High School graduate Samantha Simeone, an offensive and defensive lineman.

The Passion completed a perfect regular season with a 38-6 win over the Baltimore Nighthawks on June 14.

“Ever since the beginning, when we were practicing indoors, we have really been meshing together and working toward the same goal, and everything’s been flowing the way we would like,” Drieschalick said.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff. They work us hard at practice. They work hard behind the scenes to get a game plan together. They always make sure we have what we need. … Everybody gets along. We all understand that we have one goal, and that’s to be the best we can be.”

Like many players drawn to the sport, Drieschalick didn’t have an extensive football background. She had played plenty of sports — softball, basketball, volleyball; she was even on the Indiana High School rifle team — but didn’t have any detailed experience in football. Playing such a technical position as lineman, she had a steep learning curve.

“My second season the offensive coordinator had me test out playing tackle because of my build for pulling and things like that, and I had no idea what I was doing,” Drieschalick said. “There is a lot that I’ve learned over the last couple years, and if it wasn’t for (offensive line coach Stephen Scureman) I’d probably be a little lost. He’s a fantastic coach. He always emphasizes low man wins, use your whole body, all of your power.

“It’s intense. We go as hard as we can. I haven’t met a defensive end this season, including our own in practice, that hasn’t given me a hard time. They’re always making me better, and any time I can show the skill that I’ve gained over the years, I attribute it to the competition I’ve had.”

The Passion were formed in 2002. They won the league championship in 2007 and claimed division titles in 2007, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

Eli Nellis is a sports writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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