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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

Women's Interhall Football: Champs crowned

Howard completed its run from worst to first with a 13-7 victory over Pasquerilla West in Notre Dame Stadium Sunday.

With almost the entire population of Howard Hall (9-0) lining the sidelines, the Ducks opened the game quickly. Junior quarterback Kayla Bishop led the team down the field on the game's first drive, hitting junior wide receiver Kaitlin Robinson on a series of key conversions.

Facing a third down near the goal line, Bishop was flushed out of the pocket to her left and heaved the ball across her body into traffic. Freshman wide receiver Laura Coletti jumped above the crowd and pulled in Bishop's pass for an early 7-0 lead.

"I come from a basketball background, which is all about having good hands," Coletti said. "That's what I needed on that play. I just wanted to contribute in whatever situation [coach Kyle Carter] put me in. On that play I just did what I was told."

The Howard defense built upon the team's momentum as it stuffed Pasquerilla West (8-1) junior quarterback Simone Bigi on an attempted fourth down run, giving the ball back to Bishop and the Ducks' offense.

Bishop wasted no time adding to her team's early lead, hitting sophomore wide receiver Jenny Gassner on a deep corner route to put Howard in front 13-0 after a missed conversion.

"Getting the big lead early changed everything," Bishop said. "It was important because we didn't score in the second half so it became more about maintaining our lead with our defense."

As the first half winded down, the Purple Weasels showed some fight, executing a two-minute drill that went the length of the field as Bigi hit junior wide receiver Mary Forr for a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half to make the score 13-7.

The second half was a defensive effort, as Pasquerilla West tirelessly attempted to get the second touchdown it desperately needed against the stout Howard defense. Bigi and her receiving corps had a hard time getting past the Howard secondary, led by two-way stars Bishop and Robinson. The Purple Weasels' offensive line also gave up a number of sacks in addition to committing a false start penalty on a key drive.

When four last Hail Mary passes dropped to the ground, the Ducks completed the biggest victory in hall history and the "team of destiny" celebrated at midfield of Notre Dame Stadium.

"It's inexplicable, how amazing this is," Carter said. "I woke up four years ago one day, and Howard needed a football coach for a game. They were literally the worst team in the league. Since then it's been about getting a new set of freshmen, and teaching them how we play offense and how we play defense. We're building a program and this year we finally had all the pieces in place. It's amazing."

After hoisting the trophy, Howard's leader, a junior, offered her plans for next year.

"Win again, of course," Bishop said. "We're going to try and come out and have another unbeaten season."