SIOUX CITY | It wasn’t the best game the Sioux City Bandits have played under Erv Strohbeen. Not even close, but it told the coach volumes about his team.
The Bandits (3-0) went on the road for the first time last week and came away with a hard-fought 30-16 win over Bismarck, the second meeting between the two in three weeks.
“We were able to battle through the situation up there and were able to get a win,” Strohbeen said. “We were happy with that, definitely wasn’t overall happy with our performance though.
“We had Darius Barnes go down with an injury and Marlon Lobban stepped up and played offensive tackle for us. Devin Groenhagen stepped up and played center for us so we basically had two D-linemen playing offensive line for us no questions asked.”
It is that kind of determination and willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the win that Strohbeen hopes embodies the Bandits organization and had him feeling good after the game, even if the score was a little closer than he would like.
“You are never going to play a perfect game, and you are for darn sure not going to play a perfect game early in the season,” he said. “We haven’t been together a long time, but the guys are fighting through and getting victories however we can get them.
“When guys see Devin and Marlon stepping in no questions asked it shows these guys what Bandit football is all about. How much these guys love each other and want to get victories for each other.”
Barnes is in a walking boot with a sprained ankle and will be a game-time decision this week.
The Bandits will face a Kansas City team Saturday that is 1-1, but has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball and some familiar faces as well.
“They have three former Bandit players on the team with Ben Pister, Stephen Franklin and OJ Simpson and those guys all play the game at a high level and we definitely respect those guys,” Strohbeen said.
Phantoms quarterback David Olson has thrown for 199 yards through two games with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Darrian Miller has rushed for 90 yards and three scores.
“They have themselves a quarterback and he played for Wichita last year and they won it,” Strohbeen said. “He is definitely got the swagger of indoor football, he knows what he is doing out there.”
Kansas City is a last-second touchdown away from being 2-0 as it had a 37-20 lead with 5:32 left in the third quarter disappear as a touchdown with no time remaining gave Bloomington the 41-39 victory. The Phantoms rebounded with a 50-47 victory over Western Michigan, the first win for the franchise.
Strohbeen knows a victory over Kansas City would keep his team at least a game up on the rest of the North Division.
“For us to go a leg up on Kansas City right now would be huge for us,” he said. “We have got to do that at home. I said that all along that we have to protect the home turf. We need to catch Kansas City early in the season and maybe not quite gelled up 100 percent at our home arena.”
The Bandits, third in the league in scoring at 56.7 pointers per game, are second in the league in rushing per game at 98 yards with 17 touchdowns. Frederick Bruno is fourth in the league in rushing at 43.3 yards and third in touchdowns with seven. Quarterback Taylor Genuser has thrown for 332 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.