SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City Bandits have owned this rivalry of late.
The Bandits dominated their season opener against Omaha on both sides of the ball on the way to 62-13 victory at Tyson Events Center on Saturday. It was also Sioux City's first win in the new Champions Indoor Football league as it has now beaten the Beef three straight times after sweeping them last season.
"This is what you want to do when you are starting off the season because I don't think we had any hiccups, but we have a lot of stuff to work on," Bandits Coach Erv Strohbeen said. "I told the guys this is a team traditionally we have never blown away so I wanted these guys to finish when they got that big lead at halftime.
"You can't let teams in this league hang around because sometimes bad things happen. I think the guys showed the killer instinct in the second half."
The Bandits scored on seven of their first eight drives of the game and only gave up a second-quarter field goal before the fourth quarter. The 13 points are the fewest allowed by Sioux City since allowing eight to the Kansas Koyotes in June 2013.
The Bandits' Rahn Franklin picked up right where he left off last season as he intercepted a pair of passes in the first half after getting a league-leading nine last year. His first interception set up the Bandits' initial score of the season, and the second he returned 54 yards for a touchdown to put Sioux City up 27-3 at halftime.
"Not bad, not bad but we still have work to do," Franklin said. "It is a long season and it is going to be finer details throughout the season.
"It was good (to be challenged) and I need that, it keeps me awake during the game. I like the fact they were confident enough to throw the ball at me and that is what people come to see."
Sioux City, coming off a 10-4 season and a runner-up finish in the final year of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, struck first in the game when Franklin intercepted Beef quarterback Chuck Wright in the end zone. The Bandits scored on a 1-yard TD plunge by Johnny Bentley, marking his 100th touchdown as a Bandit.
"The offensive line did great," Strohbeen said. "(Dowdell) had a ton of time to throw the ball and Johnny with his 100th touchdown what can you say?"
Sioux City limited Omaha to 140 yards of total offense including 81 in the first half. The defense picked off Wright three times, had three sacks and five tackles for loss.
"The guys up front were the ones that really made this happen," Franklin said. "They stopped the train up front and once the pressure gets put on the guys on the back end get to enjoy the fruits of their labor."
Omaha only got on the board on a 40-yard field goal by Todd Adolf in the second quarter before getting a safety and touchdown in the fourth quarter.
New Bandits quarterback Charles Dowdell was spectacular in his debut as he threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns. He and Frederick Bruno connected five times for 75 yards, including a 25-yard strike in the second quarter on the one-play drive. Bruno also had a 3-yard TD run in the second quarter.
"It was a blessing to get (Dowdell) and we are glad to have him," Bruno said. "We have some receivers back from last year and some new guys and we are all clicking and looking real good."
Sioux City's lead ballooned to 41-3 halfway through the third quarter as Dowdell found Jeremiah Oates on a pair of touchdown passes, one from five yards and one from 18. The second score was set up on a tipped pass by Franklin that was intercepted by Andrea Jones.
Damon Mothershead had the Bandits' other third quarter score on a 10-yard run. Bentley got his second trip to the end zone from two yards out in the fourth quarter, and Drew Prohaska capped the Bandits' scoring with a 4-yard dash to paydirt.
The Bandits are looking to win at least 10 games for the fifth consecutive season and are after their first title since the second of back-to-back crowns in 2012 as part of the American Professional Football League.
The Beef is under the direction of former University of Nebraska running back Cory Ross.
The Bandits are off a week before traveling to Dodge City, Kan., to take on the Dodge City Law on March 15. They return to the Tyson Events Center for a March. 21 contest with Salina.
Sioux City, Omaha
Omaha 0 3 0 10 -- 13
Sioux City 7 20 21 14 -- 62
SC: Johnny Bentley 1 run (Max Martin kick) 9:19
SC: Frederick Bruno 3 run (Martin kick) 14:57
O: Todd Adolf 40 FG 11:46
SC: Bruno 25 pass from Charles Dowdell (Martin kick) 11:13
SC: Rahn Franklin 54 interception return (Martin kick failed) 1:59
SC: Jeremiah Oates 5 pass from Dowdell (Martin kick) 12:37
SC: Oates 18 pass from Dowdell (Martin kick) 8:49
SC: Damon Mothershead 10 run (Martin kick) :46
O: Safety fumble recovered in end zone 10:21
O: Troy Brookins 6 pass from Chuck Wright (Rueben Linton run) 8:09
SC: Bentley 2 run (Martin kick) 6:11
SC: Drew Prohaska 4 run (Martin kick) 1:03
Omaha Sioux City
First downs 9 18
Rushes-yards 12-17 18-54
Passing yards 123 200
Passes 21-37-3 14-19-0
Total plays-yards 52-140 38-258
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 11-78 6-28
Possession time 34:43 25:17
RUSHING: Omaha – Rashad Rich 6-19, Rueben Linton 5-(-1), Chuck Wright 1-(-1). Sioux City – Drew Prohaska 5-23, Johnny Bentley 10-11, Damon Mothershead 1-10, Charles Dowdell 1-7, Frederick Bruno 1-3.
PASSING: Omaha – Wright 21-37-3 152. Sioux City – Dowdell 14-19-0 208.
RECEIVING: Omaha – Linton 6-31, Brandon Kinnie 5-52, Brian Boro 4-28, Rich 3-26, Troy Brookins 3-15. Sioux City – Bruno 5-75, Mothershead 3-55, Jeremiah Oates 3-47, Dowdell 1-24, Bentley 1-7, Prohaska 1-0.
OMAHA: Jesse Robertson 12-1--13, Marquis Rolle 5-2--7, Antonio Bell 2-1--3, Jesse Robinson 1-1--2, Brandon Morton 1-1--2.
SIOUX CITY: Marlon Loban 5-4--9, Angelo Pree 5-2--7, Andrea Jones 4-1--5, Jonathan Smith 3-1--4, Marcus Miles 3-1--4.