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Guest commentary: Despite route, Utah Falconz and Bakersfield Bombers find common ground in love of football

The Utah Falconz met up with the Bakersfield Bombers at home Saturday and walked away with an 81-0 victory. But the score wasn't the most memorable item of the day.

The Bombers are a first-year team that is eager to play against and learn from the seasoned Falconz. Women's tackle football is a sport where athletes pay to play and take time away from full-time jobs, schooling and family to play a sport they love.

While forfeitures due to travel distance and player conflict are common, it was refreshing to see a dedicated team rise to the challenge, travel 12 hours and play a team they were predicted to lose to. This is a classy organization that showed up to dedicate their play to military veterans and put everything they had on the field without backing down.

"We were able to kick off a beautiful Memorial Day weekend with a game against the classy and well-coached Bakersfield Bombers out of California," Falconz coach Jody Thompson said. "Even though the final score may have been lopsided, what it didn't show was the heart and discipline as well as the never give up attitude that was displayed by both teams.

"These same traits are embodied by our courageous veterans whom this game honored. We were especially grateful to our own players and coaches from both our team and Bakersfield's who have served our country thus allowing us our freedoms — one of which is to play this great game of football."

The Falconz, though a win was expected, continued to work to improve their offense and defense. The first-string offense only played in the first possession of both halves, a total of six plays, and efficiently scored during both series'. The second- and third-string offense took over from there, working out kinks and putting points on the board.

Overall, 14 different Falconz athletes scored.

Offensively, this was a running game, collecting 431 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Abby Buns ran for two touchdowns, eight others scoring one touchdown apiece: Veronica Siqueiros, Sara Galica, Louise Bean, Elizabeth Lane, Keeshya Cox, Lyndi Prestgard, Camille Brimhall and Tasha Aiono.

There were an additional 84 passing yards by Siqueiros, Lane, Salazar and Andrea Taylor. Siqueiros scored a receiving touchdown thrown by Louise Bean.

"The team, as in all 47 players, played with great precision and focus in all aspects of the game," Falconz head coach Rick Rasmussen said. "Our D was smothering, our O was explosive and our special teams were opportunistic. It was a total team effort demonstrating that hard work and attention to detail pay off on the fields of friendly strife."

The defense smothered its opponent with 10 tackles for loss. Tina Tela, Cory Russo and Lorette Cooper were on fire as they tackled in the backfield. Out of the 26 total tackles, 16 were solo. Tela, Emmy Raney, Sara Galica, Russo each had two solo tackles. Buns, sacked the Bombers' quarterback, and Kelly Collobella and Tina Mangum had half sacks. Aiono had the only interception of the game.

The Utah Falconz will finish the regular season on the road, first against the Nevada Storm, the week after against the Bakersfield Bombers. They are expected to enter the first round of playoffs June 25 at home.

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