Unbeaten Bandits take on S.F. tonight
Last Saturday, the Sioux City Bandits showed they weren't resting on their laurels with a 54-51 victory at a place they've never won, the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
The come-from-behind win over the Omaha Beef put Coach Jose Jefferson's squad atop United Indoor Football's North Division with a 3-0 record.
Tonight, the Bandits are on the road at a site where they've recorded only one victory in the last four years. The Sioux Falls Arena is the site of a 7:05 game against the Storm (2-1), who have won their last two games, including last Saturday's 52-24 home opener over last year's National Indoor Football League (NIFL) champion, the Lexington Horsemen.
"Sioux Falls doesn't like to lose at home and they haven't," said Jefferson, whose squad tops the UIF in victories. "We're not supposed to win this game, going up there."
Then again, the Bandits, based on their past, weren't supposed to win at Omaha.
Action before a rowdy crowd of 4,565 saw running back Fred Jackson top the 100-yard mark for the second straight game. He rushed for 102 yards and touchdowns of 6, 3, 2 and 28 yards.
Johnnie Ostermeyer caught two touchdown passes and clinched the victory with a key fourth-down catch at midfield with less than a minute left in the game. A 34-yard interception by free safety Derek Smith, Jr. and cornerback Alex Ardley's fumble recovery also set up touchdowns for a team that scored on six consecutive possessions after trailing 28-14 early in the second quarter.
"I can't express how happy I was for the guys and this organization," said Jefferson. "I can say as Sioux City coach that I've never experienced defeat in Omaha, but I hadn't won at Omaha until a week ago. It was a good victory for a lot of the veterans.
"It was a good win and a step in the right direction, for the rest of the season. It's tough to win any place on the road. All of the support from this community that we get, it has a lot to do with it as well. Obviously, we proved to ourselves we can do it."
This key matchup features a pair of quarterbacks who didn't play with their respective teams last year.
Jarrod DeGeorgia is off to a solid start for the Bandits, passing for 312 yards and nine touchdowns. He hasn't thrown an interception in his last four quarters.
The 6-1, 197-pounder from Wayne State took last season off. He has hit five different receivers with touchdown passes, six which have gone to Ostermeyer.
Jefferson is still in awe of DeGeorgia's key fourth-down completion to Ostermeyer against the Beef.
Omaha (1-1) had rallied from an early 54-37 fourth-quarter deficit to score twice in the final three minutes. The Beef held the Bandits to just four yards in three plays before Jefferson's gutsy call on fourth down.
The Bandits' first-year head coach felt that Omaha had a chance to score if Cody Butler missed his long field goal attempt.
"The most amazing thing abut that play, there were eight guys in the huddle who believed," said Jefferson. "I don't know if there was one of them who wanted a kick. We were confident in our ability and we were willing to let the chips fall, if that was our destiny."
Terrance Bryant has thrown for 436 yards and seven touchdowns for the Storm. The 6-2, 215-pounder from Oregon State passed for 209 yards and hit four different receivers with scores in the win over the Horsemen.
Last year, he played for the 3-11 Black Hills Red Dogs. Like DeGeorgia, Bryant has been intercepted only twice.
"He's got to be enjoying things in terms of how the season is going and what he's learning," said Jefferson. "This offense suits him. He's elusive enough. If he gets a crease, he's going to make something happen."
Former Westmar University receiver Corey Walker leads the Storm with 13 catches for 154 yards and four touchdowns.
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United Indoor Football Association Stories from April 16, 2005
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