SIOUX CITY | Taylor Genuser threw four touchdowns passes as the Sioux City Bandits defeated the Bismarck Bucks 67-49 in a CIF game at the Tyson Event Center here Saturday.
The Bandits (8-2) lost to the Bucks (4-6) in Bismarck 63-61 on May 6 on a field goal on the final play.
“We definitely came out with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder from a few weeks ago,” said Bandits coach Erv Strohbeen.
The win keeps the Bandits in first place in the North division.
“Our goal is to win out,” said Strohbeen. “We want to have home-field advantage in the playoffs. That’s lining up pretty nicely. We also want to play a championship game at home. That’s the goal, to win these last couple of games and ensure that all the fans get to watch us win one here.”
Following a back-and-forth first quarter, the Bandits started to take control in the second quarter. Genuser threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Young to tie the game at 21-all with 10:04 left in the first half.
After Bismarck turned the ball over on downs, the Bandits took a 28-21 lead, their first of the contest, on a 5-yard touchdown run by Frederick Bruno.
On the ensuing drive, the Bucks had a long field goal blocked that went into their own end zone for a safety giving the Bandits a 30-21 lead with 51 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Bandits then scored on a 3-yard run from Jeffrey Mack giving Sioux City a 37-21 lead with 12 seconds left in the half.
Unfortunately for Sioux City, the following kickoff went out of bounds giving Bismarck the ball at midfield. To make matters worse, Marcus Miles and Darius Barnes were both flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct moving the ball to the 13-yard line of Sioux City. On the next play, Josh Straughan threw a touchdown pass to Jauhem Byrd-Mix cutting the Sioux City lead to 37-28.
Bismarck then had their own kicking problems, booting the kickoff out of bounds. After a short pass play, the Bandits ended the first half with a 35-yard field goal from Greg Conry giving Sioux City a 40-28 lead at the break.
“Our defense stepped up and played great at the end of the first half and so did our offense,” said Strohbeen . “It’s nice to go in with a lead. Our goal is always to manage the clock and score before half.”
Sioux City opened the second half with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Genuser to Young giving the Bandits a 47-28 lead.
“We were able to come out and score and put us into a three-possession lead at the beginning of the third quarter so that’s big,” said Strohbeen.
After Bismarck missed a long field goal, Sioux City had a chance to extend its lead, but a Drew Prohaska fumble was returned for a touchdown by Antwan Smith cutting the Bandits lead to 47-35 with 9:00 left in the third.
The Bandits responded with a 4-yard touchdown run from Mack, giving Sioux City another three-score lead at 54-35.
The Sioux City defense forced a turnover on downs on the next possession.
“Huge stops,” said Strohbeen. “We had the lead, so a lot of times when you put them at that disadvantage they’re going to go for it on fourth down.”
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Genuser threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Bruno giving the Bandits a 61-35 lead.
Elby Pope caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Straughan on the next drive, but the Bucks could not convert a two-point conversion and trailed 61-41.
Sioux City recovered an onside kick, and then Conry kicked a 22-yard field goal to give the Bandits a 64-41 lead with 10:01 left in the game.
Jarell Kelly caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Straughan and the Bucks converted a two-point conversion to trim the lead to 64-49 with 4:35 left in the game.
Greg Conry made a 25-yard field goal with four seconds left.
The Bandits scored on all but one possession in the second half.
“I think we did a real good job of getting points on every drive,” said Strohbeen. “I think we kicked a field goal or two, but otherwise we got points on every drive. Usually you look at field goals as a defensive stop, but when you’re that far ahead, just getting points on every drive is important.”
Genuser completed 10 of 13 passes and had one interception. Young caught four passes for 73 yards and two sores.
Pope caught five passes for 66 yards and t2wo touchdowns for the Bucks.
Sioux City defeated Bismarck 77-37 and 30-16 in the first two games they played this season.
The Bandits play next at the Omaha Beef on Saturday.