SIOUX CITY – New signee Daryl Virgies ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries and the Sioux City Bandits smothered the Kansas City Phantoms 77-26 in a Champions Indoor Football game at the Tyson Events Center here Saturday.
The Bandits (6-3) scored touchdowns on all of their offensive drives but one, the final drive when they took a knee to run out the clock.
“We were pretty much perfect on that,” said Coach Erv Strohbeen. “That’s what we strive for. We want the defense to get us two to five stops per game. We hammer it home every time and tonight they did.”
The defense had a lot more stops than that. Kansas City (2-6) scored a touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Donovan Portiere to Julian Walker on its opening drive. The Bandits then held the Phantoms to zero points on their next six drives. By the time Kansas City scored again, a 9-yard touchdown pass from Portiere to Andre Taylor, the Bandits led 57-13 with 2:23 left in the third quarter.
“I’m sure there are things to correct, but boy we had guys flying around and getting to the ball,” said Strohbeen. “Kansas City had a nice little scat back that was hard to tackle, but we had guys swarming and gang tackling him. That was nice to see. The defensive line played great. Everybody played great all the way around.”
Sioux City finished with 248 yards of total offense on just 27 plays (9.2 yards per play) and rushed for 163 yards on 17 carries (9.6 yards per carry). The Bandits scored so quickly on enough short drives that their final time of possession was just 15:12.
Virgies, in his first game with Sioux City, scored on his first carry of the game, a 38-yard touchdown run to give the Bandits a 14-7 lead. Virgies added another long touchdown run in the fourth quarter, covering 38 yards again, to give the Bandits a 70-13 lead with 10:30 left in the game.
“Two huge runs,” said Strohbeen. “He made a nice cut on that second one and took it all the way around the end. He’s probably the fastest guy on the field. The big thing we saw was he bolstered our kickoff team too. He’s making plays down inside the 10-yard line and flying down the field. He’s a big addition for us.”
Defensively, the Bandits held Kansas City to 215 yards on 56 plays (3.8 yards per play) and constantly harassed the Phantoms’ backfield.
“Our defensive line can really pin their ears back,” said Strohbeen. “They did a great job. Linebacker Isaac Wright had three tackles for loss. Our team had eight total tackles for loss. That’s huge. And we had two sacks too. That’s a pretty darn good game.”
Quarterback Liam Nadler only attempted 10 passes and he completed eight for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Darrian Miller ran for 50 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Frederick Bruno had an 8-yard touchdown run and also caught three passes for 37 yards and a score.
Even when things didn’t quite go right for the Bandits, they still ended up working out. With the Bandits driving early in the third quarter, Virgies fumbled in Kansas City territory. Receiver Andre London scooped the ball up and ran it in the rest of the way to give the Bandits a 50-7 lead.
“I think we’re getting that momentum back, that fun back in football,” said Strohbeen. “During that three-game losing streak the guys were too tense. We’re kind of getting back to playing Bandit football and having fun with this thing. You see the guys dancing a little bit between plays, having fun with it and celebrating with their team and making plays.”
The Bandits now have a week off.
“We’re really thankful that this next week we have a bye week,” said Strohbeen. “We can get some guys healthy. Take some time to decompress and break down some things we’ve needed to work on. We’ll take a week to do that.”
The Bandits play next at the Omaha Beef on May 26. Sioux City defeated Omaha 33-30 in Omaha on March 24 and won 52-40 in Sioux City on May 5.