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July 13, 2010 > Bandits capture conference title

Bandits capture conference title

Submitted By Kara Kimmel
Photos By William Mancebo

The Bay Area Bandits faced the Wisconsin Warriors on Saturday, July 10, in the Independent Women's Football League Tier II Western Conference Championship at Contra Costa College. Bay Area Bandits, a Tier II first-year team, went into the game with a 6-3 record against the Wisconsin Warriors, also 6-3, who are the defending IWFL Tier II North American Champions. (IWFL has three tier levels, mainly separated by operating budget and roster size.)

On a windy and sunny afternoon in San Pablo, California, the Bay Area Bandits started the game receiving the kick off from the Warriors. Unfortunately, the Bandits were unable to run against the Warrior defense and were forced to punt.

The Warriors' Offense tried running as well, but were unable to find any daylight in the Bandits defense and ended up punting back to the Bandits. On the Bandits next play, running back Dakura Smith found room to run along the left side and rumbled all the way to the end zone on an 83-yard touchdown. The PAT by kicker Shalom Kimble was good, putting the Bandits up 7-0.

The Bandits' defense was able to hold on the next series, and the Warriors, with the wind advantage on third and 10, quick-punted the ball for a 69-yard punt that rolled into the end zone for a touchback. The Bandits started on their own 20 yard line, and on the second play of the series, running back Latrice Johnson scampered along the left side breaking tackles and showing her moves en route to an 84-yard touchdown. Kimble's PAT was good, giving the Bandit's a 14-0 lead.

After an exchange of possessions and the Bandits on defense, Middle linebacker La Star Brown intercepted a pass across the middle and steamed 50 yards down the side to the Warriors 14 yard line. After a number of offensive plays, Latrice Johnson zoomed into the end zone from fives yards out on the second play of the second quarter. The Bandits went up 21-0 with Kimble's extra point.

Later in the second quarter, the Bandits strung together a seven-play drive capped off with a one-yard quarterback keeper by Sandra Hernandez on third and one. Kimble added her fourth extra point of the half giving the Bandits a 28-0 lead.

The Bandits' defense came through right before the half when DE Kimberly Mosley stripped the ball from the Warriors running back during a tackle, and Cornerback Esmi Mendoza recovered the loose ball preserving the shutout going into the locker room at halftime.

The Bandits' defense came out sparkling in the second half as Johnson stripped the ball during a tackle and Mosley came up with the loose ball.

The Bandits' offense then went into a predominate run formation to run out the clock, but was forced to punt on number of series. Later, the Warriors offense again with the wind advantage, quick-punted the ball on third down to put the Bandits deep in their own territory. With the Warriors offense turning up the heat in an attempt to swing the tide, the Bandits opted to walk out of the end zone on 4th and long to give the Warriors a safety and two points.

The Bandits ensuing free kick was returned back to the 20 yard line, but the Bandits defense held strong and took over on downs after defensive back Cori Evans came through with a crucial sack on fourth down at the Bandits 11 yard line.

Late in the game, Bandits running back Rachel Darrow scrambled in from 15 yards out, breaking tackles and knocking people over for the score. Kimble's PAT put the Bandits up 35-2 to clinch the IWFL Tier II Western Conference Championship.

Bay Area will look to finish its inaugural season in style, taking on the Montreal Blitz in the IWFL Tier II North American Championship on Saturday, July 24, in Texas.

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