SIOUX CITY | This was a different kind of week for the Sioux City Bandits. Coming off the team’s first loss of the season, the North Division leaders had to regroup and refocus.
The good news? Sioux City won’t have to wait long to see if it is able to fix the issues the West Michigan Ironmen exposed in its 76-35 victory last Saturday.
“Disappointed in a lot of things about that game but they are a tough football team, a lot tougher than their 2-4 record,” Bandits’ Coach Erv Strohbeen. “They wanted it more and they executed, but very sloppy play by the Sioux City Bandits.
“I have only ever gone undefeated two times in my life and that was 2011-12 and I don’t expect to probably go undefeated in reality. If you are looking at a good time to lose one and a good opponent to lose to this is definitely one that could hopefully refocus us.”
Turnovers were a major problem for the Bandits with four interceptions and a lost fumble giving the Ironmen extra opportunities with the ball they took advantage of.
“We had five turnovers and that is not how we play Bandit football this year,” Strohbeen said.
Strohbeen said there are excuses from the length of the road trip to overlooking a team with a less than stellar record, but the coach is not buying any of that.
Bandits quarterback Taylor Genuser struggled against the Ironmen as he went 15 of 24 for 126 yards but four interceptions. Running backs Dominique Carson and Jeffrey Mack combined for 100 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
However, it was not enough to offset a West Michigan offense that was firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Alex Carder was 14-for-21 for 201 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Korey Ringer ran for 110 yards on 17 carries and four scores and both Cory Johnson and Dontae Ingraham had two receiving touchdowns apiece.
West Michigan (3-4) physically imposed its will on Sioux City and put the most points on a Bandit defense since Salina scored 77 in a season-opening win in 2014.
At 6-1 the Bandits are still in control of their postseason destiny, but Strohbeen will be interested to see how his team responds this week at the Tyson Events Center.
“I love it, I love it,” he said of the rematch. “We will see if the guys can turn it around quick and hopefully get that bad taste out of their mouth. If not it is going to be a long two-week stretch where a team comes in and we gave them a little bit of life. We had another opportunity to go out there and (hand them a loss) and we didn’t do a very good job of that.”
Although this is a different season and a different team, the Bandits will get a chance to reverse momentum on Saturday, something it could not do a season ago that ended with four straight losses.
“Two years ago when we won the championship we gave Omaha a win, it was the only win that they had all season and it was to a championship good ball club,” Strohbeen said. “So I said ‘Don’t focus on the loss or who the loss was to, focus on what the loss teaches you.’”