Bandits' Lobban Focus on Title
It has been a football journey from Pittsburg, California to Sioux City for Bandits linebacker Marlon Lobban, but whether it has been in college or indoor football the road has led to one thing -- championships.
With the Champions Indoor Football league playoffs set to begin Saturday Lobban wants to make this a going-out-on-top season for him. He will step away from the game after six seasons with the Bandits at its conclusion.
"For sure, 100 percent sure," said Lobban of retirement. "Family, kids and stuff of that nature but more so body. The game has done everything it is going to do for me. It has taken me this far and I don't see anything else happening besides being part of an organization in some other platform, helping coaching, continue to recruit players, things of that nature."
Lobban took up the game at the age of 8 and with his wife, Jaime and two children, Joisha, 8, and Naomi, nine months, the two-time champion with the Bandits is looking to close out this season with another title for the North Division champions.
"The first couple of years I was just a player in the organization just in a different capacity," he said. "I was just trying to get to know the indoor game and playing behind Spetlar (Tonga) and rotating in with a different group of men that was there when I was earlier."
Lobban learned the ropes for his first three seasons with the Bandits but took off in 2015 as he recorded 105 tackles from his linebacker spot to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss. He helped lead the team to the Champions Indoor Football league title.
"That was a great one, the camaraderie was great," he said. "The victory was even better because people, I guess you could say, counted us out because we lost and then went on to win nine in a row."
Then, last season, the University of Sioux Falls product who won back-to-back titles in 2008-2009, put together a dominating performance. He displayed his sideline-to-sideline ability with 104 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and earned the CIF's Defensive Player of the Year award.
"It was film study and just preparation throughout the week and days of just being a football player," said Lobban. "It was my second or third year of just starting without having to rotate in and just different things of that nature. I was just freelancing where I didn't have too many (concerns). I could just sell out for the moments I was in the game.
It may have taken the 29-year-old a few years to find his footing in the indoor game. However, his ability to lead was never in question and one of the biggest assets to the team.
"To be quite honest with you, I had no clue what I was doing when I was 21, 22, I was just out there running around with my head cut off," he said. "I have always been known as some kind of vocal leader and just more than vocally I will get out there and show you what to do and lead as much as possible.
"I am an outgoing person so it is easy for me to be that vocal leader on and off the field and do those things that require a good teammate to do."
It is a quality not lost on Sioux City Coach Erv Strohbeen.
"He does everything for this team and that is why we gave him the Mr. Bandit award last year," Strohbeen said. "He is a team player, he helps us recruit guys in the offseason and he keeps this team together.
"I do my motivational talk in the locker room and then he takes it over so he is that big of a part of this football team."
Lobban, who currently sits fourth on the Bandits' career tackle chart, looks at this team as having plenty of similarities with the 2015 title squad and he is excited to get another postseason chance with his teammates and many good friends like Rahn Franklin, Drew Prohaska, Frederick Bruno and more.
"That 2015 season is very similar to what it is now," he said. "We all wanted to win a championship (in 2015) and those are the things I am seeing now, so that reminds me of where we were and I really want to get back to that. Most organizations shoot for one (title) and we are shooting for four out of seven years."