INDEPENDENCE, Mo. | The Sioux City Bandits lost a wild game to the Kansas City Phantoms 75-70 at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena here Friday, but the night ended on a positive note as the Bandits still clinched home-field advantage throughout the CIF playoffs.
Sioux City (9-3) clinched the North Division last week with a 61-55 win over the Omaha Beef. The Bandits entered this weekend tied for the best league record with the Dodge City Law, but Dodge City was stripped of two victories by the CIF board of directors for “not following and adhering to the league operations manual and guidelines with regards to uploading video.” The penalty drops the Dodge City to 7-4 overall and into a three-way tie for second place in the South Division.
Quarterback Derrick Bernard accounted for 262 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns for Kansas City (4-8) as the Phantoms end their season on a three-game winning streak after starting 1-8. Bernard completed 15 of 21 passes for five touchdowns and also had 13 carries for 122 yards and a pair of rushing touchdown.
Bernard scored on a 45-yard touchdown run to give the Phantoms a 57-40 lead with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Taylor Genuser threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Frederick Bruno to trim the Phantoms lead to 57-47 with 13:38 left in the fourth quarter.
After Kansas City made a field goal on the next possession, Genuser tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Bruno trimming the Phantom’s lead to 60-54 with 7:42 left in the game.
Kansas City responded with a time-consuming drive. On fourth-and-1, Anthony Parks ran for five yards and a first down. Four plays later, Darrian Miller scored on a 2-yard run. The Phantoms went for two and converted with a pass from Bernard to O.J. Simpson giving Kansas City a 68-54 lead with 1:43 left in the game.
Bruno kept the Bandits' hopes alive by returning the ensuing kickoff 46 yards for a touchdown, trimming the Phantom’s lead to 68-61 with 1:33 left in the contest.
After a failed onside kick from the Bandits, Bernard threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Parks to extend the Kansas City lead to 75-61 with 56 seconds left.
The Bandits responded with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Genuser to Dominique Carson, cutting the Kansas City lead to 75-68 with eight seconds left.
Then things got weird.
After the Phantoms recovered an onside kick, Bernard took the ensuing snap and ran backwards before throwing the ball away in an attempt to kill the clock. Unfortunately for Kansas City, Bernard threw the ball away in the Kansas City end zone and was flagged for intentional grounding and a safety with 0.3 seconds left.
Due to the safety, Kansas City had to kick to the Bandits on the final play of the game. After a squib kick, the Bandits lateraled the ball to Bruno. Bruno lateraled to another Sioux City player, but he lost the ball and the Phantoms recovered.
Parks had seven receptions for 78 yards and four touchdowns for the Phantoms.
Genuser completed 18 of 25 passes for 181 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception for the Bandits. Bruno had five carries for 57 yards and caught five passes for 22 yards and a pair of scores. Jeremiah Oates caught three passes for 51 yards and two touchdowns.
Sioux City won the first meeting against the Phantoms 62-35 on March 25.
The Bandits host a first-round playoff game against a team to be determined Saturday, June 10 at the Tyson Event Center.