Richland Resident is on Pittsburgh Passion's Ride Toward a Championship

Tina Kelly is a nose tackle for the women's football team.

When nose tackle Tina Kelly puts on her pads to play under Saturday night lights for the Pittsburgh Passion, she has dreams of Heinz Field.

If her 5-0 team keeps slaughtering opponents the way it has in its most recent games, there's a good chance the Richland Township resident and her teammates will take Heinz Field on Aug. 4 for the 2012 SilverSport Women’s Football Alliance National Championship. 

Tonight the Passion hosts the DC Divas at 7 p.m. at Cupples Stadium on the South Side. The gates open at 5:30 p.m at the 930 East Carson St. venue.

The Pine-Richland Ram will be there along with other local mascots as part of the festivities.

The last time the two teams played, the Passion squeaked past DC, 35-34. 

Since then, the Passion defeated the Columbus Comets, 37-14; the Cleveland Fusion, 49-0; Toledo Reign, 71-14; and the Pittsburgh Force, 66-0.

"We are a really good team," Kelly said when asked about the disparity in scores. "We play as a team, not as individuals." 

The players are not paid; sponsors pay the cost of playing ball, said the 41-year-old Kelly, who joined the team about three seasons ago. 

Kelly's sponsors include Meridian Biohazard Specialists, The Brew House, Arborel Tree ServiceNorth Park LoungeSlebodnik Paving,  and Tri Rivers Surgical Associates.

She also is sponsored by Frequency Electric, where she is employed as the office manager.

"We play for the heart of the game," said the 5-foot-11, 260-pound nose tackle.

Becoming a part of the Pittsburgh Passion essentially extends one's family, Kelly said.

"It's not just a sport; we are a family," Kelly said. "The team becomes part of your family because we truly do look out for each other."

Asked about the possibility of playing at Heinz Field, Kelly said, "No words can explain that. It would be an honor to be there."

"We want to show the town we're as important as everyone else out there," Kelly said, "and how much we really love the sport."


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