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The New Mexico Banitas, Las Cruces’ women’s tackle football team, will play their first ever Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) playoff game in June.
The Banitas will play a playoff game at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 24 against a team and at a location to be determined by the final outcome of the regular season, which still has one game to go for the Banitas.
They will their six-game regular season with a Saturday, June 3, game against the Sun City Stealth at 6 p.m. at Andres High School in El Paso.
“It’s the women’s battle of Interstate 10,” Banitas General Manager Jamar Cotton said.
With a win in El Paso, the Banitas would finish the 2023 season 5-1. They defeated the Stealth 38-28 in an April 29 game in Cloudcroft.
The highlight of the regular season was a 12-6 Banitas victory over the Mile High Blaze May 20 in Denver. The Blaze are the defending WFA Division 1 national champions.
“There was history made that night,” Cotton said, as the victory marked the first time in WFA history that a Division 3 team defeated a Division 1 team.
Cotton said the Blaze didn’t score until the last two minutes of the game because of the strong performance of the Banitas defense throughout the contest.
“We prepared the ladies all that week. The coaches believed we had the opportunity to win, to do something that had never been done,” he said. “They believe in the coaches; we believe in them. We all
“You can see the difference last year to this year,” Cotton said. “This year, we want it more. depend on each other. We figure out what we need to do as a team.”
Cotton said the Banitas’ “great fan base” has also been part of the team’s success. It has followed the team to home games in Cloudcroft and was also a big presence during the winner in Denver.
The Village of Cloudcroft “has been open from day one,” he said. “They gave us everything that we needed to be successful.”
“We heard our fans” during the May 20 game against the Blaze, Cotton said. “It was like a home game.”
Cotton also credited the Banitas’ success to team sponsors in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Deming and El Paso.
“It's a beautiful thing when everything comes together. We just need to keep the momentum going; can't let down now we've come too far,” said Banitas Head Coach Brian Bartlett.
“We started this season with a goal and that goal was to make it to Canton,” said Banitas tight end and defensive end/outside linebacker Cindy Pitts. “We’re on track to achieve that goal and with the continued effort of each individual on this team and with the endless support from our fans, the Banitas can absolutely end this season with a Championship title.” (The 2023 WFA national championship will be held in July at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.)
Brian Bartlett is the Banitas’ head coach.
Visit https://wfaprofootball.com/team/new-mexico-banitas/ and on Facebook at New Mexico Banitas.