(ST. CHARLES, MO) In indoor football action at Family Arena Saturday night, the St. Louis Bandits claimed a 46-36 victory over the Dallas Prime that raised their record to 2-1 and kept their home turf record spotless.
The local rep of the American Arena League next hosts the West Michigan Ironmen on Sunday, May 9 at 3 pm.
The Bandits’ win was anything but easy as the Prime claimed a trifecta of touchdowns early. On the opening kickoff, Dallas’ Juan Hartfield went from end zone to end zone as the visitors raced out to a 6-0 lead.
On their first offensive drive, the Bandits rapidly worked their way down field and made a push for a tie, but quarterback Donovan Porterie’s red zone pass was snared by Dallas linebacker LaDavian Washington, who quickly scampered 47 yards for a “pick six.”
Following Prime quarterback Dante Williams’ two-point conversion run, Dallas had quickly amassed a 14-0 lead only three minutes into the game.
The Bandits failed to generate any points for the remainder of the quarter and trailed by a pair of touchdowns heading into the second frame.
The Prime, who had hoisted national trophies in eight-man play the past two years, kept momentum on their side as Williams scored on a quarterback keeper from two yards out with 11:50 left in the half. He added another two-point PAT that extended Dallas’ lead to 22-0.
And many at Family Arena were experiencing an early case of the sour belches.
As iffy as the first twenty minutes of play went, the Bandits’ final ten before halftime saw the team settle down, play patient and whittle away at the deficit.
Porterie returned to form and propelled an aerial attack that featured wide receiver Dee Washington. The pair connected for a five-yard end zone catch at the 8:03 mark. Kicker Corey Adamson, a local indoor football fixture who also plays for the St. Louis Ambush soccer franchise, added the PAT kick that sliced the gap to 22-7.
The Bandits’ defense then recorded their first points of the game as linebacker Kenneth Harold sacked Williams in the end zone for a safety, making the score 22-9 with 5:45 left in the half.
With three minutes remaining, Porterie hit Washington with another touchdown pass, this time from 25 yards out. Adamson added a successful kick afterwards and the Bandits narrowed the score to 22-16.
The Prime attempted a last-minute, and much-needed, scoring drive prior to half time. This became a priority as St. Louis was slotted to receive the opening possession to the second half. That plan was thwarted as Bandits’ defensive back Kelvin Rodgers intercepted Williams’ end zone pass with :24 left.
With the Bandits starting their drive at their own ten-yard line, Porterie and Washington made magic happen again with the ensuing snap. A 40-yard bullet resulted in Washington’s third touchdown snare of the quarter that tied the score 22-22 with :16 remaining. Adamson’s successful kick followed and flipped the scoreboard 23-22 in favor of the locals.
Trailing by a solo point at halftime, Dallas knew that they had to regroup if they wanted to spoil the Bandits’ rapidly-cobbled house party.
That plan came into play as the Prime churned a 42-yard scoring drive midway through the third quarter. With running back Bo Jones’ 22 yard touchdown scamper posted at the 7:00 mark, Dallas regained the lead, 28-23.
However, with the positive push came immediate deflation. On the ensuing Prime PAT, Williams’ pass was intercepted in the end zone by Bandits linebacker Levi Shetler, who romped 51 yards to the other end zone, resulting a two-point score for St. Louis that narrowed Dallas’ lead to 28-25.
On St. Louis’ next offensive possession, Porterie continued with his hot hand and went with another resource for scoring. He hit receiver Cole McDaniel with an 11-yard touchdown strike with 3:10 left in the third period, resulting in a 31-28 lead change. Adamson added another kick that pushed the margin to four points.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the tight margin made the contest a coin-flip. Early on, the Prime’s offense started to sputter and turned the ball over after Shetler’s second pick of the evening.
Thanks to a front line of blockers, paced by Ryan Bublka and Lawrence Smith, the Bandits pushed the score to 38-28 as McDaniel recorded his second touchdown catch of the night, a 28-yard snare from Porterie with 9:40 left in the game. Adamson added another PAT kick that made the score 39-28.
Refusing to wave the white flag, Dallas boldly countered with a quick strike. Jones, who had shifted from running back to quarterback, converted a high snap into a 30-yard touchdown run with six minutes left that narrowed St. Louis’ lead to 39-34. Post-score, he plunged in for a two-point conversion that sliced the margin to three points, 39-36.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Prime attempted to go for a line drive that could potentially result in a turnover. St. Louis cleanly fielded the rocket that gave them excellent field position at the Dallas’ 15-yard line.
The strategy backfired as Porterie hit McDaniel for the latter’s third touchdown grab with three minutes remaining, resulting in a 45-36 advantage. Adamson kept his PAT docket flawless as the Bandits widened the differential to ten points.
The Prime tried a valiant late attempt but a sack by defensive end Ralph Harvey Jr. and linebacker’s Dominique Patterson interception preserved the double-digit differential.
The Bandits outscored Dallas in the second half, 23-14, en route to the 46-36 victory that pushed their record to 2-1.
For the night, Porterie was 20-32 for 266 yards and six touchdowns passes while Washington and McDaniel each had three touchdown receptions.
The Bandits attempt to keep their home record perfect with the Mothers’ Day match-up with West Michigan Ironmen, a legacy indoor football franchise that is currently undefeated (3-0) indoor play.
Tickets for next Sunday’s game are $11-33. For more information, go to the team’s official website.
ST. LOUIS BANDITS OFFENSIVE STATS (Unofficial)
PORTERIE: 20-32, 266 YDS, 6 TDs, 1 INT
WASHINGTON: 7-126, 3 TDS
MCDANIEL: 9-110, 3 TDS
ADAMSON: 6-6 PATS – 0-1 FG