SIOUX CITY | The Kansas City Phantoms lived up to their nickname, hardly resembling a formative foe for the Sioux City Bandits Saturday at the Tyson Events Center.
The Bandits improved their Champions Indoor Football record to 4-0 with a 62-35 rout of the Phantoms, who narrowed the gap with a couple of late touchdowns but were dominated by a talented Sioux City squad.
A microcosm of how things went for the first-year franchise occurred on the opening kick of the second half when Dallas Herndon flat out whiffed on the kick and Sioux City's DeWayne Autrey II pounced on it for a touchdown.
The play officially went into the books as a 1-yard kickoff return and that's about how easy it was for the Bandits, now 4-0, the entire contest.
Nine different players scored touchdowns for Coach Erv Strohbeen's unbeaten team, which increased its cushion in the CIF standings with its fourth victory in as many outings.
“We came out firing early and often and the defense played a great game,” Strohbeen said. “Cliff with three picks and one for a touchdown and a fumble return for a touchdown. Nobody can be disappointed in that effort, spreading the ball around and everybody getting in on the action. A great team win tonight.
“We had four picks and Devon Bridges really got after the quarterback with two sack fumbles, one we picked up for a touchdown. Defense played lights out. It was smart play by Autrey on the kick. That has to be the shortest kickoff return for a TD in the history of football. It was on the one-foot line so it was a smart play for him to run and grab that and jump in the end zone.”
And, while the Bandits shared the wealth on offense, the defense contributed mightily. Cliff Stokes Jr. had three interceptions, returning one for a 50-yard touchdown, and former Morningside Mustang Devin Groenhagen rumbled 20 yards to paydirt after recovering a fumble.
“It was just a lot of film preparation, we came out and did our thing tonight,” Stokes said. “I told myself I need just one (interception), I'm tired of getting pass breakups. But I ended up getting three tonight. I want to thank the Lord first, but three and a touchdown. Man, I'm grateful for that.”
“This is what we need, we battled a little adversity last week but we're molding together. It's a good roll right now, we just need to keep it up. We're playing as a team and I love how we're playing right now.”
Taylor Genuser passed for 102 yards and two touchdowns – each to a different receiver. Jeremiah Oates had three receptions for 37 yards and a score. The Bandits finished with 187 total yards.
About the only negative aspect was the penalties. There was seemingly a flag thrown on every play with the teams combining for 24 infractions.
Kansas City's offense operated a little more smoothly when former University of Kansas athlete Frank Seurer Jr. replaced starter David Olson. However, the Bandits had things firmly in hand by that point.
Seurer, the son of one of the all-time greatest players in Kansas history, Frank Seurer, who quarterbacked the Jayhawks for four seasons in the early 80s, was recruited by Kansas as a QB but switched to defensive back.
While Strohbeen is pleased with his team's fast start, the veteran coach realizes that the toughest part of the schedule lies ahead.
“We still have to go to Omaha on Friday night which is a tough place to play and even in victories like this there are things we can clean up,” Strohbeen said. “Right now we're getting way too many penalties and it's just killing us. Our team has been the least penalized team in the league the last three years. Turnovers and penalties correlate with wins and right now I'm not happy with our penalty output. I'm actually very unhappy.”
Kansas City's Seurer passed for three touchdowns in the second half. Olson, who played for the league champion Wichita team last season, had 135 yards but threw four interceptions.
Kansas City 0 7 7 21 – 35
Sioux City 7 21 21 13 – 62
SC: Frederick Bruno 17 run (Greg Conroy kick) 4:41
KC: David Olson 1 run (Dallas Herndon kick) 14:54
SC: Dominique Carson 4 run (Conroy kick) 13:13
SC: Maurice Young 11 pass from Taylor Genuser (Conroy kick) 7:58
SC: Jeremiah Oates 21 pass from Genuser (Conroy kick) :34
SC: DeWayne Autrey II 1 kickoff return (Conroy kick) 15:00
SC: Cliff Stokes Jr. 50 interception return (Conroy kick) 9:39
KC: Darrian Miller 4 run (Herndon kick) 6:36
SC: Jeffrey Mack 3 run (Conroy kick) :39.2
SC: Devin Groenhagen 20 fumble return (Conroy kick) 12:53
KC: Charles Johnson 37 pass from Frank Seurer (Anthony Parks pass from Seurer) 10:10
SC: Drew Prohaska 19 run (kick failed) 9:41
KC: Parks 8 pass from Seurer (pass failed) 7:22
KC: Parks 3 pass from Seurer (pass failed) 1:30
First downs 19 15
Rushes-yards 19-35 18-84
Passing yards 221 103
Passes 25-45-4 8-13-2
Total plays-yards 64-256 31-187
Penalties-yards 13-101 11-99
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Time of possession 42:11 17:44
RUSHING: Kansas City – Frank Seurer 7-26, Darrian Miller 8-9, David Olson 4-0. Sioux City – Jeffrey Mack 7-40, Frederick Bruno 2-23, Drew Prohaska 2-19, Dominique Carson 4-15, Taylor Genuser 2-(-2), Team 1-(-11).
PASSING: Kansas City – David Olson 18-32-4—135, Frank Seurer 7-13-0—86. Sioux City – Taylor Genuser 8-12-1—103, Frederick Bruno 0-1-1—0.
RECEIVING: Kansas City – Anthony Parks 7-81, OJ Simpson 11-76, Charles Johnson 4-55, Darrian Miller 3-9. Sioux City – Jeremiah Oates 3-27, Marcus Miles 2-32, Dominique Carson 1-21, Maurice Young 1-11, Anthony Eboreime 1-2.