Small Stars: Flames meet Bandits in championship game

It’s been a season in the making for the undefeated Bandits out of the West Valley and the undefeated Flames from the East Valley in the NYS Championship match.

“Here’s what I want. I want to make sure we keep our butts down low, we’re pounding our feet, we’re moving and we’re driving,” Bandits assistant coach told his 8-year-old football players to start the game.  “Who’s tired? We can’t get tired out here. We got a game to play, understand?” He asked his team which was followed by an unanimous “Yes sir,” answer.

“Here’s what I want. I want Wishbone, fake 45, 26 sitters, on one, on one, got it!”

And they’re off.  Zach Cooper got the handoff to open the game and the big man ran it 10 yards for the touchdown to give the Bandits a quick 6-0 lead.

Mykell Gardener comes up with a huge block on the Bandits next possession.  Quarterback Dominic Ochoa runs it in to extend the Bandits lead.

Then it’s Gardener again.  The guy who normally plays receiver mixed it up and moved to running back where he swept around the outside and ran it 40 yards for another Bandits touchdown.  The Flames coaches are forced to call a timeout to give their team a pep talk.

“We’re fine, okay. Let’s go man, we need you,” said the Flames head coach in his team’s huddle.  “Now I need you go to block.”

Their assistant coach chimed in, “Listen to me, listen to me. If you keep grinding, they can’t keep up with you, I promise. They’re too big, do you understand that?  Keep playing.  Don’t give up.  This is your last game.  Don’t give up. This is your last game. Put it on the field!”

That seemed to work because the Flames pick off a pass on the Bandit’s “Ghost” play. It was the first interception thrown all season by the Bandits and returned 30 yards by the Flames.

Unfortunately it just wasn’t enough this time. Bandits win the championship, 40-6.

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