The Sioux City Bandits welcomed the Sioux City Stampede indoors Saturday night as they battled it out on the turf in the SUX Bowl. The Bandits emerged victorious 39-12 in the inauguration exhibition game against Sioux City’s outdoor team.
“I think [Saturday’s game] showed us how to play, how to handle the emotions of the game,” said quarterback Liam Nadler. “We did some good things, we did some great things. We also did some bad things and some lackluster things.”
The Bandits struck early, just six minutes into the first half, with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Nadler to Andre London to take the lead 7-0. There were no more touchdowns the rest of the first half, but Bandits kicker Greg Conry kicked two field goals (46 yards and 52 yards, respectively), one in each of the quarters of the first half to give the Bandits a 13-0 lead going into halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, Bandits veteran Frederick Bruno caught a 21-yard pass from TJ Oates and ran it in for the Bandits’ second touchdown of the game. The Bandits scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter off a 40-yard run from London and a 13-yard pass from Oates caught by Trayon Nash. Heading into the final quarter of the game, the Bandits were leading the Stampede 33-0.
The Stampede came into the fourth quarter strong, scoring a pair of touchdowns. Their defense found the end zone first off a pick six by Mike Trobaugh early in the fourth quarter. Trobaugh ran the ball back 31 yards to score the Stampede’s first points of the game. The Stampede also scored an offensive touchdown with five seconds remaining in the game off a pass from TJ James. The Bandits scored one more touchdown in between the Stampede’s scoring. Dontaye Rivera ran for six yards with 14 seconds left in the game to cap off the Bandits scoring for the evening.
“Those guys came out ready to play,” Nadler said of the Stampede. “They were well-coached, well-prepared and I give them all the credit in the world.”
This preseason game showed the Bandits the good and the bad and where to go from here. Overall, it was an experience that highlighted some positive traits this team will carry forward with them.
“We found out that we have a lot to work on on all three levels of the game,” said returning defensive lineman Westly Johnson. “But we also found out that we have a lot of competitors on our team. We want to win, regardless of who we play.”
Fortunately, the Bandits have three weeks until their next game that they will use to their advantage, building team chemistry on and off the field. The team will put the final touches on their roster between now and the next game and that core group of players will get to build and strengthen their skills through reps together and practicing together almost every day.
Both teams played hard and represented Sioux City well in front of a crowd of 2,879 fans. The Bandits will open up their regular season on Sunday, March 18, at 3:35 against the Quad City SteamWheelers in the Tyson Events Center. The Stampede will kick off their outdoor season later this spring as they try to repeat as the Midwest Football Champions.