SIOUX CITY – In the first half, defense was the Sioux City Bandits’ strong suit.
Defensive linemen Sean Kelly and David Harley each recorded one quarterback sack in the first half. Kicker Shane Hudnall booted three of his five field goals in the second half as the Bandits won a 48-47 nailbiter over the Wichita Wild during Indoor Football League action in front of 3,186 fans Saturday night at the Tyson Events Center.
Winning quarterback Scott Jensen passed for 119 yards and three touchdowns as Coach Tommie Williams’ Bandits picked up their first two-game winning streak of the season.
“It’s great to be back in the saddle,” said Jensen, who will be the Bandits’ starting quarterback the rest of the year, taking over for James McNear, who accepted a sales position for an Omaha bottling company, a job that took him away from practices the last two weeks.
“But tonight, it was all about the team. The offense did their thing, the defense did their thing and Shane Hudnall was on fire. We played as a team and that’s what it’s all about.”
Kelly, a 6-2, 245-pound defensive end, recorded three quarterback sacks for Sioux City (4-3) and Harley, a 6-2, 305-pound nose guard had two for a defense that limited Wichita to 61 total yards in the first half, an average of three yards per play.
Kelly recorded the Bandits’ first safety of the season in the first half when he sacked Wichita quarterback Dixie Wooten, who passed for 182 yards and five touchdowns, four which came in the second half.
“You have to want to get the quarterback and get that fight in you,” said Kelly. “Tonight, we made our minds up we were going to get the job done and that’s what we did. David, man, he played like a man possessed. If we keep doing this, the sky’s the limit.”
“When you pressure the quarterback, it makes things easy for the rest of the defense,” said Williams. “We were able to take things away from Wichita and mix it up. Hats off to the defense, the offense, special teams, the coaching staff, this is a win for the team, a big win for the Sioux City community.”
Jensen guided the Bandits to scores on three of their first possessions en route to giving the squad a lead they never lost. T.J. Williams caught touchdown passes of two and 24 yards in the first half, the 24-yarder good for a 23-13 lead.
Randall Swoopes, a 6-5, 310-pound defensive end, also provided plenty of pass pressure for the Bandits, but blocked a 48-yard field goal from the Wild’s Dylan Pohlman early in the third quarter. Chris LeFlore returned the field goal eight yards to the Wichita 10-yard line and former West High School and Morningside College standout Damon Mothershead rushed for a 10-yard touchdown that gave the Bandits a 32-15 lead.
Wichita (5-3) scored on four of its five possessions in the second half, pulling within 48-47 when former University of Iowa wide receiver Clinton Solomon caught his second two-point conversion pass of the game after a seven-yard touchdown pass from Wooten with 1:23 left.
Wooten’s two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter were preceded by field goals of 21 and 30 yards from Hudnall.
“We have a good kicker and that should stop all of those nay-sayers,” said Williams. “I’m not worried about him. I have confidence in Shane, the team has confidence in Shane. Shane just needs to be confident in his skin and he should have a lot of confidence, the way he kicked tonight.”
Mothershead helped the Bandits melt time off the clock the rest of the way, but Jensen fired a key 19-yard pass to the Wichita 22 with 25 seconds left. Mothershead followed with a short one-yard rush to finish the game.
The Bandits will continue their three-game homestand next Saturday with a 7:05 Indoor Football League game against the Sioux Falls Storm. Sioux City fell 57-23 to the Storm on April 10.
Sioux City 48, Wichita 47
Wichita 7 12 12 16 -- 47
Sioux City 7 18 10 13 -- 48
SCB: T.J. Williams 2 pass from Scott Jensen (Shane Hudnall kick) 9:19
WIC: Donta Moore 45 fumble recovery return (Dylan Pohlman kick) 3:35
SCB: Spetlar Tonga 1 run (Hudnall kick) 14:56
SCB: FG Hudnall 41 9:36
WIC: Clinton Solomon 25 pass from Dixie Wooten (kick failed) 7:38
SCB: Williams 24 pass from Jensen (kick blocked) 6:51
WIC: Darius Fudge 6 run (kick failed) 1:48
SCB: Safety, Sean Kelly sacks Dixie Wooten in end zone 0:17
SCB: Damon Mothershead 10 run (Hudnall kick) 12:07
WIC: Solomon 14 pass from Wooten (kick failed) 9:22
SCB: FG Hudnall 23 5:39
WIC: Hurtis Chinn 25 pass from Wooten (pass failed) 4:26
SCB: Allen Burrell 6 pass from Jensen (Hudnall kick) 14:53
WIC: Solomon 38 pass from Wooten (Solomon pass from Wooten) 13:25
SCB: FG Hudnall 21 8:51
SCB: FG Hudnall 30 3:05
WIC: Edgar Givens Jr. 7 pass from Wooten (Solomon pass from Wooten) 1:23
First downs 12 19
Rushes-yards 13-48 29-65
Passing yards 159 119
Passes 16-22-1 12-24-0
Total plays-yards 40-207 53-184
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 14-99 9-48
Possession time 23:34 36:26
RUSHING: Wichita – Darius Fudge 10-32, Dixie Wooten 3-16. Sioux City – Scott Jensen 13-40, Damon Mothershead 8-20, Allen Burrell 3-2, Demetrius Wilburt 4-2, Spetlar Tonga 1-1.
PASSING: Wichita – Wooten 16-22-1 -- 182. Sioux City – Jensen 12-24-0 – 119.
RECEIVING: Wichita – Hurtiss Chinn 6-56, Clinton Solomon 5-94, Fudge 3-18, Edgar Givens Jr 2-14. Sioux City – Burrell 5-46, T.J. Williams 3-35, Wilburt 2-28, Trae Johnson 1-6, Mothershead 1-4
(Solo-Assist – Total)
WICHITA – Tanis Ready 8-2 – 10, Byron Garvin 5-1 – 6, Randy Kelly 5-1 – 6, Brandon Kaufman 4-1 – 5, James McCartney 1-4 – 5, Ene Akpan 1-4 – 5, Greg Nicks 0-5 – 5, Donta Moore 4-0 – 4, Brandon Walker 1-0 – 1, Colin Bryant 1-0 -- 1. SIOUX CITY – Spetlar Tonga 4-4 – 8, David Harley 5-1 – 6, Ernest Williams 3-2 – 5, Sean McMoore 4-0 – 4, Sean Kelly 3-1 – 4, Terrell McMoore 3-0 – 3, Randall Swoopes 1-1 – 2, Duane Paul 1-1 – 2, Chris LeFlore 1-0 – 1, Amos Pittman 1