Sioux City Bandits get back in win column with dominating victory

Sioux City Bandits get back in win column with dominating victory


SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Bandits got back in the win column and they did it in impressive fashion.

The Bandits outscored Wichita 28-10 in the second quarter to take control of the game and they went on to win 70-30 on Friday at the Tyson Events Center.

It was a bit of a must-win situation for the Bandits, who improved to 2-3. That moved them past Wichita as the Force fall to 2-5 and are at the bottom of the Northern Division in the Champions Indoor Football league. The top two teams advance to the playoffs. Salina is 3-2 and plays Saturday night and Omaha leads the Northern Division with a 3-1 record.

The win puts the Bandits back in playoff contention. A loss would've probably put them too far behind Omaha and Salina.

Sioux City coach Erv Strohbeen wasn't just happy that his team picked up a win, he was very pleased with the dominating performance.

"It's like a shot in the arm. We needed that. It feels great and it feels a lot better around here," Strohbeen said. "The kickoff team scored a couple of points, we had two pick sixes. The defense played great, the offense played great. All-around it was definitely a team effort. Great win and now onto Oklahoma. Correct what we can correct and go on that road trip."

Last week the Bandits lost when quarterback Dillon Turner was sacked in the end zone in the final seconds of the game for a safety. The disappointing ending didn't carry over for Turner this week.

In his third week on the job, the former Dakota Wesleyan quarterback was 8-of-12 passing for 122 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.

"You gotta have a short memory and move onto the next one. He was clicking," Strohbeen said. "That's how efficient our offense can be with the great of a great run game. We just had to toss it over the top. That's what the Bandits offense is when it's running right."

Daryl Virgies rushed for 69 yards on 10 carries. He scored a touchdown and the running game opened up the passing game.

The return of wide receiver Frederick Bruno, who was out with an injury, helped the passing game, too. He hauled in three passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Slot receiver Londell Lee had a breakout game with three receptions for 61 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was great having (Bruno) back. He played great and had two touchdowns early and it was just another shot in the arm and good to have him back," Strohbeen said. "The threat of the running game helps our slot guy out. If I was a guy, my favorite position would be slot receiver in the Bandits offense. You just have to make a move and get by them when they suck up to stop the run."

In all of the Bandits losses, they lost the turnover battle. On Friday, the Bandits didn't commit a turnover. Defensively, they forced one fumble and had three interceptions. Two were returned for touchdowns by Oscar Opera and Xavier Spann.

Strohbeen has been preaching to win the turnover battle all season.

"The proof is in the pudding, right? Do as we say and it's going to happen and it works," Strohbeen said. "Eliminate turnovers and win that battle and you have the chance to win the game."

Spann added nine tackles in the game to go along with his interception. Zac Schleuger lead the team with 11 tackles and Ben Pister had three sacks. He leads the league with seven sacks.

It was the second straight week Spann had an interception.

"He's playing great. Ben had a huge night with three sacks and we had so much pressure on the quarterback," Strohbeen said. "There was a sack Ben got that was great coverage by Xavier. It was great coverage all around but that route, the guy made a move and Xavier stuck with him. The quarterback had to hold onto the ball and Ben got the sack."

The Bandits travel to Oklahoma next week looking for their second straight win.


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