MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
The dark clouds loomed over Pop Warner Field and unleashed two hours of torrential rain, setting the stage for the nastiest battle of heart and guts football fans have seen this season.
The Marine Aircraft Group-24 Bandits reached deep down, using their sheer lust for victory, driving them to a 12-6 win over the Camp H.M. Smith Raiders and claiming the title as the 2007 MCBH intramural football champions.
“It was good, hard-fought football,” said Jamie Willis, Bandits head coach. “The outcome would have been totally different if it wasn’t for the rain. But, we adjusted better and our defense was excellent.”
The first quarter put the Raiders on top after Avery Chester, Raiders fullback, ran the ball in the end zone with 12:55 on the clock, but the Bandits answered back.
Shandale Graham, Bandits wide receiver, beat the defensive corner to catch an over-the-shoulder pass from Daray Davis, quarterback, for their first touchdown to tie things up with 5:45 left in the second quarter.
The field was so sloppy, neither team’s kicker could gain the extra points, which left the score at 6-6.
By the second half, the field was a swamp with several pools of water getting deeper and bigger by the minute.
Early in the third quarter, the Bandits were on the Raiders 20 yard line and ran a quarterback sneak. Davis swept up the right side for the Bandits’ second touchdown making the score 12-6.
With less than two minutes remaining, Camp Smith gave one last effort and through up a Hail-Mary but the Bandits intercepted and held onto the ball for the remaining seconds.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than the Raiders,” said Davis. “The rain made it tough, but we stayed motivated and our defense never let up. We’ll see them again next year.”
The slippery conditions and the Bandits’ defense forced three Raider fumbles and the Bandits caught three interceptions throughout the game as well. Those turnovers ended the Raiders’ championship hopes.
“Everybody played hard with a great attitude, but we’ll be back next year,” said Carson Peapealalo, Raiders' head coach. “We just need to remember the military members that are overseas and are in the fight in worse conditions than these and be thankful for their sacrifice.”