SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Bandits are having a Military Appreciation night when they host the NTX Savages on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Tyson Events Center.
Military members can show their identification cards to get in free for the game. The Bandits will be wearing military tribute jerseys and raffling those off. The money raised from the raffle will be donated to the Midwest Honor Flight. The minimum bid for a jersey is $50 and you can place your bids at fan accommodations on Saturday.
Four Brothers will also have a raffle for veterans where they can win a barbeque grill.
"Our sponsors have gotten involved with it," Bandits coach Erv Strohbeen said. "It's a cool deal."
The Bandits were supposed to host the Texas Revolution on Saturday. But about a month ago, Texas was forced to cease operations and folded, leaving the CIF in a tough situation. Any team facing Texas for the rest of the season gets a win. Teams that were supposed to travel to Texas received a win and a bye week.
However, the Bandits didn't get that bye week. Any team that was scheduled to host Texas gets to host the NTX Savages, meaning those teams didn't lose a home game.
The Bandits can use the win currently as they are in a tight playoff race in the North Division. Omaha leads with a 7-2 record but lost last week to Salina, snapping a six-game winning streak. Salina is a game behind Omaha at 6-3. Sioux City is in third place at 5-4 and will be 6-4 after the weekend.
The top two teams from each division qualify for the playoffs. Salina is on the road on Sunday and faces Wichita, which is last in the North Division with a 2-8 record. The Force have lost their last four games. Omaha doesn't play until Monday when the Beef travel to Amarillo. It's Omaha's first game against the Venom, which are 5-4 but have lost their last two games, this season.
This is the Bandits last home game of the season and have two road games to finish the season. Sioux City is at Oklahoma on Saturday, June 15, and then finish the season at rival Omaha on June 22. The Bandits need to win out if they have any hopes of qualifying for the postseason.
Even though this week is an exhibition for the Bandits and they have the win in hand, Strohbeen needs to see some improvement out of his team if they are going to continue to remain in the playoff hunt.
"We still have a lot to play for this year and we have to get better at our craft and have to work on some things Saturday night to get ready for the last couple of ball games for the year," Strohbeen said. "There's a lot of football left. We have to take care of business and get ready."
Strohbeen wants to see the team play a flawless game for a full 60 minutes. He's been impressed with how his team has played for good portions of games, but he feels the team hasn't put together a full game yet.
Last week against Wichita, a couple of interceptions helped the Force climb back in the game, which the Bandits eventually won. Sioux City had two costly turnovers in the fourth quarter against Salina. The turnover bug has been Sioux City's toughest thing to overcome this season.
"I want to see a flawlessly executed game as far as no turnovers, no dumb penalties. We've been running into some turnovers and that's not good going down the stretch," Strohbeen said. "We need to work on securing the ball. Our main Achilles heel has been turnovers so I don't want to see any turnovers."
Granted practice has been a little more relaxed this week. The team has worked on getting some players who have battled injuries a bit healthier and have tried a few players at some other positions to try and maximize their potential.
"I think we had a good week of practice," Strohbeen said. "We had some fun with it and got some guys healthy."