RALSTON, Neb. | Cliff Stokes, the reigning Champions Indoor Football League Defensive Player of the Week, still had a few tricks up his sleeves for the Omaha Beef.
In a game highlighted by offense, Stokes had two interception and sealed the game with a pick on the final play to give the Bandits a 63-56 overtime win in a CIF contest at the Ralston Arena here Friday.
The win gives the Bandits a 5-0 record on the season and is their sixth straight win over the Beef (2-2).
Taylor Genuser completed a 13-yard pass to Frederick Bruno on third-and-10 to set up a 32-yard field goal from Greg Conry with two seconds left in regulation. Conry made the kick and tied the game at 56-all sending it to overtime.
The Bandits started overtime from midfield (overtime in the CIF works similarly to college football). Dominique Carson carried three straight times, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Bandits the lead for good at 63-56.
The Beef had a chance to tie on the ensuing drive. Calvin Phillips converted a fourth-and-2 with a 9-yard run to give Omaha first-and-goal at the Sioux City 8-yard line. After a pair of Anthony Iannotti runs, Stokes intercepted Iannotti’s pass on third down to end the game.
Sioux City survived a wild fourth quarter just to get to overtime. Omaha’s Jonathan Ray scored on a 2-yard touchdown run giving the Beef a 48-47 lead, their first lead of the game, with just 1:58 left in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Bandits had a third-and-11 from their own 5-yard line. Genuser then threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Oates as the Bandits retook the lead at 53-48 with 50 seconds left in regulation.
On the ensuing kickoff, Conry’s kick went out of bounds give Omaha the ball at midfield. On the first play of the drive, Iannotti ran for a 25-yard touchdown, and completed a pass to Phillips on the two-point conversion, giving the Beef a 56-53 lead with 43 seconds left.
The Bandits offense scored on all but one possession, a missed field goal on a long attempt from Conry early in the fourth quarter.
Genuser completed 15 of 26 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns for Sioux City. Oates caught six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns, including a 39-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the game. Carson had six carries for 37 yards and a touchdown, while also adding a kickoff return for a score.
Iannotti ran for 110 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries for Omaha. He also completed 10 of 18 passes for 88 yards with a touchdown and the two interceptions thrown to Stokes.
The Bandits have a week off and play next on April 15 against the Bloomington Edge at the Tyson Events Center.