The Sioux City Bandits hit the road for the first time this season, but because of a quirk in scheduling, play the same team they routed two weeks ago Friday when they take on the Bismarck Bucks Friday night.
The Bandits are off to a 2-0 start with home victories over the Omaha Beef (63-44) and Bismarck – a new Champions Indoor Football league franchise – by a hefty 77-37 margin.
They’ll make the long trek to Bismarck, North Dakota, with plenty of weapons aboard, including Frederick Bruno, who’s off to a torrid start. The veteran from Wayne State College has accounted for six touchdowns, each on the patented jet sweep, and scored five against Bismarck a couple of weeks ago.
There’s not much Coach Erv Strohbeen can complain about thus far, but in typical coach speak, Strohbeen said there are always little things to fine tune.
“The mistakes that we’ve made are being made full speed so at least that’s a plus and I’m not questioning effort at all so that’s a good thing,” Strohbeen said. “If they’re missing a block and they’re going full speed, then go get it.”
Sioux City is well rested coming off a bye week, while Bismarck gained momentum with the first victory in franchise history, 40-33, over West Michigan, another new CIF franchise, last week.
So, despite the one-sided win over the Bucks at the Tyson Events Center, Strohbeen threw caution to the wind.
“It’s the first road trip of the year and you never want to overlook an opponent,” Strohbeen said. “They just got their first win over West Michigan and they went on a long road trip and got a big win.
“They have some good athletes on their team, you kind of expected them to have a lot of penalties and timing issues and they did against us. I’m expecting them to be a lot better the second time around.”
There are plenty of familiar faces on the Bandits’ roster, but some new ones at key offensive spots. That hasn’t seemed to affect their performance in the first two games.
“The guys are buying into everything and their attitudes are where we want them to be,” Strohbeen said. “Like I said, you can’t fault a guy for going a million miles an hour and missing a block. Last year sometimes we questioned effort and that’s not the case this year. They’re all wanting to win.
“We brought back a core group of guys that live our culture around here. The guys we brought in are not selfish guys, they’re willing to do whatever to win. Kind of that mentality of we don’t care how we win or who scores or gets tackles, as long as the end result is where we want it to be.”
One of the newcomers, quarterback Taylor Genuser, has completed 65.6 percent of his passes for four touchdowns. Dominique Carson has complemented Bruno with three rushing touchdowns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
“Taylor has a huge arm and can make a lot of throws,” Strohbeen said. “But I think he realizes he has a lot of weapons so he doesn’t have to do the crazy things he had to do on some of the teams he played on before. He really just has to manage the game and deliver the balls to his playmakers.”
DeWayne Autrey II and Jemichael Williams are the team’s leading tacklers while Devon Bridges has recorded four sacks and Devon Groenhagen 3.5 tackles for loss.
Bismarck’s Johnathan Bane has passed for 199 yards and three touchdowns in three games. Jawan Jamison is the top rusher and receiver.