SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Bandits dug themselves a bit of a hole to begin the season as they won only one of their first four games.
The Bandits seem to have righted the ship the past two weeks, winning each of their last two games to even its record at 3-3, putting them a half-game behind Salina for the No. 2 spot in the Northern Division of Champions Indoor Football. Omaha leads the division at 5-1.
Bandits head coach Erv Strohbeen said it's nice to be back in the hunt but knows a loss to Amarillo at home at the Tyson Events Center (kickoff at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday) could once again put the Bandits in an uphill battle.
The easiest way to avoid that is for a third-straight Bandits victory.
"We already lost to Amarillo once so this is important if we want to get to where we want to be," Strohbeen said. "I hope the guys are ready and I think it will be nice to play these guys in a home atmosphere."
The Venom are one of the hottest teams in the CIF. Since beating the Bandits 70-69 on April 20, it started a four-game winning streak for Amarillo. Omaha is also on a four-game winning streak. Amarillo leads the Southern Division with a 5-2 record.
Amarillo's offense has been near-impossible to stop. The Venom have scored 70, 88 and 82 points during the winning streak.
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The Venom's offense is led by quarterback Nate Davis, who leads the league with 262.3 passing yards per game and 37 touchdowns. He's also rushed for seven touchdowns.
"Their quarterback is so good. He's hard to get to and makes decisions quickly," Strohbeen said. "He's been one of the top quarterbacks in our league for a long time. We hope to neutralize some of their offense."
As a whole, the Venom lead the league with 63.2 points per game and 292.7 yards per game. They also lead the league with 21.5 first downs per game. But Davis has thrown nine interceptions on the season.
The Bandits are allowing 50.3 points per game and 278.2 yards per game. Sioux City linebacker Zac Schleuger leads the league with nine tackles per game and he won the CIF defensive player of the week after returning a fumble and an interception for a touchdown.
Strohbeen said his defense needs to be aggressive against Amarillo.
"I think we have to play aggressively and keep the pressure on (Davis) and get after him. I don't think it's going to be a low-scoring game by any means," Strohbeen said. "We are okay winning in a shoot out and have to eliminate the mistakes on the offensive side."
The Bandits are capable of sticking with Amarillo in a shootout. They are third in the CIF with 56.2 points per game.
Running back Daryl Virgies, who did suffer an injury last week, is third in the league with 52 rushing yards per game and he is tied for second in the league with 12 rushing touchdowns.
"We can't waste possessions. When you are in a shootout game, you can't waste possessions," Strohbeen said. "We have to play the full 60 minutes. You can't play a partial game, you have to play a complete game and I think it will be a good one."