Offense Propels San Angelo Bandits to Big Win


Defeating the defending champions of any sport can be a tall task. The San Angelo Bandits arena football team made that task look easy Saturday night.

The Bandits returned home after a loss last week in grand fashion, beating the defending league champions Amarillo Venom 75-54. The win moves the Bandits into a tie with the Venom for first place in the Lone Star Football League and keeps the Bandits undefeated at home this season.

The game started off seeing the teams trade scores back and forth. Amarillo scored first with about 12 minutes left in the first quarter. The Bandits answered right back with a score of their own on a 25 yard Austin Benson run. After another Amarillo score with 5 minutes remaining, the Bandits took less than a minute to score again, this time on an 11 yard touchdown catch by Lamans Casimier, his first of 4 touchdowns for the night.

With that score, the Bandits offense put the pedal to the metal and never trailed again.

“The biggest thing was focus, execution, and not trying to do too much. Last week, we tried doing too much, getting everything with every single play,” head coach Joe Brennan said. “We really focused and made sure that we executed the play and the task at hand.”

One key to the Bandit’s success was the play of first-time starting quarterback Luke Collis. The quarterback led the offense to 20 total first downs while amassing 268 yards and 8 total touchdowns, 7 through the air and 1 on the ground, on 19-29 passing while not turning the ball over a single time.

“We just kept focusing on every play and everyone did their part. Le’ Juan Edwards, one of our best receivers; he was mostly a decoy all night,” Collis said. “They [Amarillo] were dropping two guys back with him so we just took what they gave us. That opened it up for the other receivers.”

The quarterback change was a part of a bigger plan to switch up Amarillo’s expectations heading into the game.

“We made a quarterback switch this game to get more productivity plus they had seen the quarterback we had numerous times and we thought we would take advantage of a couple of their coverages and we did a great job of that, especially early.”

“Luke came out and did a great job of executing our game plan, playing consistently and just taking what the defense gave him. Whether it was over the top or our check-downs, he just did a great job,” Brennan continued. “He did a fantastic job tonight of distributing the football.”

The offensive blitz continued in the second quarter, with the Bandits scoring on both long offensive drives and quick strikes down the field.

Amarillo’s offense scored to start off the second quarter and their defense stalled the Bandits first drive. The Venom scored again off a missed San Angelo field goal, making the score 27-26 early in the second quarter. The Bandits answered the pressure with an 8 play, 34 yard drive that took close to four and a half minutes off the clock.

After that score, the Bandit’s closed out the game scoring 6 touchdowns to the Venom’s 4, the deficit never getting below 14 points. This, despite the fact that Amarillo lead the time of possession battle 36 minutes to the Bandit’s 23 minutes and change.

A huge factor in that score never coming within 14 was the huge night by Lamans Casimier. The wide receiver led everyone with 11 receptions for 130 yards and 4 touchdowns.

“[I was] just trying to read the coverage, make sure I stayed strong in all my routes, and other guys doing their jobs,” Casimier said. “That’s all it came down to, everybody doing their assignments, doing their job, and we executed real well.”

Fellow receiver Brian Ingram pitched in for 6 catches for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both players combined for 258 of San Angelo’s 268 total receiving yards.

The defense also contributed in a big way, forcing 3 turnovers on downs while recovering 2 fumbles, returning 1 for a touchdown, and intercepting 2 passes. The turnovers proved to be huge in the game as the Bandits scored off of all but one of the turnovers. The other turnover effectively ended the game late in the fourth quarter. 

With a full team effort, the Bandits doubled their win total from a year ago, a fact that was on the minds of the players and especially their quarterback.

 “I’m just really happy that we got that victory against Amarillo,” a smiling Collis said after the game. “We talked about how big it would be to be 2-1.We got to 2-1 and that’s all we focused on and we got it done.”

The Bandits continue their season next Saturday, April 12 against the New Mexico Stars at Foster Communications Coliseum with kickoff at 7:05 p.m.

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