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May 25, 2010 > Bandits capture fifth straight win

Bandits capture fifth straight win

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By Tod Bice

Independent Women's Football League didn't know it was getting a powerhouse into its Tier II division with the inception of the Bay Area Bandits. But after six games, the Fremont-based women's tackle football team holds a 5-1 record, reeling off five straight wins, the latest a 47-8 home-field drubbing of the Modesto Maniax on Saturday, May 22, at Tak Fudenna Memorial Stadium.

"We feel real good where we're at right now," said Bandits coach Jim Goulden. "We're doing really well, just need to tighten some things up."

Goulden was hoping to keep his team focused coming into the match up against the now 1-5 Maniax, coming off an emotional high of beating the IWFL Tier I Los Angeles Amazons, a come-from-behind 33-22 road win, in which the Bandits put 27 unanswered, fourth-quarter points on the board, en route to victory. Goulden's hopes were fulfilled when his team came out with fury, leading to a 28-0 advantage after the first quarter.

"They came out focused and did exactly what we asked of them," said Goulden about his team's preparation. "These girls are working hard to get to where they are going. They are not getting off track; they're doing what they need to do."

Dakura Smith got the onslaught started, single-handedly leading the Bandits to a score on the team's first possession. On three plays, Smith ran for 20, seven and 22 yards respectively, the final rush culminating in a touchdown.

After another Modesto three and out, Smith ran for 19 yards on the team's first play of the second series to set up a first and goal. On the ensuing play, Rachel Darrow plowed through the middle of the Maniax defense for eight yards and touchdown, giving the Bandits a 15-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion.

One play after the Bandits forced and recovered a fumble, Sandra Hernandez hooked up with Latrice Johnson on a 17-yard pass play for a touchdown giving the Bandits a 22-0 advantage. Darrow concluded the first-quarter scoring with a two-yard plunge.

"Can't say enough about them," Goulden said of his offensive unit. "They're getting better and better each week. Even though there's 47 points on the board, there could have been a whole lot more today."

When the Bandits raced out to the early multiple-score lead, the Maniax asked for the Bandits to agree to a running clock, essentially speeding up the game with no stoppages unless there was a timeout called by either side.

"That prevented us from doing a lot of things (on offense)," Goulden stated.

By halftime, the Bandits held a 40-0 lead. Darrow ran for her third touchdown of the game, a seven-yard scamper, while April Paraiso rushed for one of her own, a one-yard push.

In the second half, the Bandits only put one touchdown on the board, that coming in the third quarter, a seven-yard Valu Muti rush, giving the Bandits a 47-0 edge.

Holding onto the 47-point advantage, the Bandits gave up its first points of the game in the fourth quarter when Jennifer Spaulding hooked up with Teresa Kidd for a 75-yard catch and run to pay dirt. After the successful two-point conversion, the Bandits' lead was cut to 47-8, which they would hold onto for the victory.

Goulden was looking for a shutout on defense coming into the game. His defensive unit allowed just one first down to the Maniax, and that one lapse in coverage.

"I strive for us to get that shutout but it didn't happen today," said Goulden. "There were just some breakdowns on the second defensive unit. We knew exactly what they were going to do and they did it, we were just caught out of position.

"All day, that was the only breakdown the defense had," Goulden concluded.

Looking ahead, the Bandits have two more games in the regular season, both against the Tier I SoCal Scorpions -- Saturday, May 29, in Southern California; Saturday, June 5, in Fremont -- before moving onto the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday, June 12.

"Those are going to be two hard games, against a Tier I team," said Goulden. "Those will definitely be the harder games going into the home stretch. We really need to tighten things up and be really sharp for those games."

Kickoff for the May 29 game in San Diego is at 7 p.m. while the final home game at Tak -- where the Bandits are 3-0 on the year -- kicks off at 1 p.m. Log onto to find out how the Bandits do in SoCal in the pursuit of a sixth straight win.

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