Bandits seek second win over Oklahoma

94/20/02 Sioux City Journal
Sioux City Bandits football Coach Carl Reinhardt expects a much-improved Oklahoma Crude squad when the two teams tangle in a 7:05 kickoff tonight at Enid.

Oklahoma, a first-year entry in the National Indoor Football League, opened its season with a 63-3 thumping by the Bandits on March 23 at the Sioux City Auditorium. The Crude bounced back from that defeat the following week with a 31-29 home win over the Houma (La.) Bayou Bucks, but enter the rematch against the Bandits with a two-game losing streak, including last Friday's 56-27 setback to the Rapid City Red Dogs.

"You can't overlook them," said Reinhardt, whose team improved to 3-0 with last Sunday's impressive 40-21 victory over the Sioux Falls Storm.

"They've changed their whole scheme," he added. "Talking to other coaches, they've totally abandoned that offense and defense. I expect them to come out in a lot of different formations.

"They've changed their offensive line, added two new receivers and moved their old center to nose guard. Watching them on tape against Rapid City, they're a more solid team. It's going to be a different team than we have seen before and a different kind of game."

Reinhardt came to that conclusion after Oklahoma's early 21-10 first-quarter advantage at Rapid City. Marvin Owens and Brian Gaines had fumble recovery return touchdowns of 8 and 12 yards. Quarterback Waylon Jones, who was hassled repeatedly by the Bandits' front line in front of the Sioux City fans, also fired a 10-yard pass to Adrian Perez, who wasn't on the team roster when the season started.

However, Rapid City (2-3) scored 33 unanswered points over the next 18 1/2 minutes, including a pair of interception touchdowns for Eric Rice.

Jones completed 15 of 27 passes in the game for 144 yards and has thrown for 333 yards and two touchdowns this season. Perez caught six passes for 52 yards, while Corry Edmonds added five catches for 56 yards. Anthony Davis led the Crude's rushing game, carrying 17 times for 36 yards.

"I think their strong point is their running back," Reinhardt said. "He's (Davis) a good running back. He likes to cut back a lot, so our defensive ends will have to play contain this week more than other weeks.

"They've got bigger guys across the line that average 340 pounds. The quarterback likes to boot the ball out and they'll come out running the ball until we shut them down."

Sioux City shut Oklahoma down to just 106 total yards in the earlier meeting, about 10 yards less than the Crude are averaging after four games. Despite allowing 176 yards total offense to Sioux Falls (4-1), Sioux City remains one of the NIFL's stingiest on defense, ranking second in scoring defense (18.7 points per game) and sixth in total defense (154.3 total yards per game).

Only the Bismarck Roughriders (2-2) have more sacks (9) than Sioux City (8). Defensive end Jesse Wavrunek had three of his four sacks in the rout over the Crude.

Another key member of the Sioux City defense is linebacker Matt Hughes, who upped his team-leading season total to 24 tackles after recording six against Sioux Falls.

"Matt had a tremendous, physical game last week and has stepped up from the first two weeks," Reinhardt said. "He's like the quarterback of the defense. He gives me his best and puts his guys in position to make the plays."

Wavrunek has 21 tackles, while defensive back Lamont Truitt has 19. Both Truitt and defensive back Trice Crump had seven tackles against Sioux Falls.

Currently ranked 20th in total offense, Oklahoma attempts to stay in games with a defense that ranks 11th giving up 201.7 total yards per game. Emmons Johnson, a 6-4, 250-pound lineman, leads the NIFL with three fumble recoveries and also ranks high with three quarterback sacks.

Sioux City, ranked second in the NIFL in scoring offense (52.7 ppg) and 12th in total offense (195.3 ypg), is paced by quarterback Jarrod DeGeorgia, who has thrown for 462 yards and eight touchdowns. DeGeorgia, ranked fifth in passing yards per game (154.0), was limited to 10 of 25 passing for 133 yards against Sioux Falls.

Johnnie Ostermeyer, who caught five passes for 68 yards last week, has 10 catches this season for 130 yards. Erv Whitehead (11 catches, 151 yards, 3 TDs), who leads the Bandits in all receiving categories, caught three passes for 51 yards.

Meanwhile, running back Jerry Davis (83 yards rushing, 4 TDs), had a season-best 33 yards against the Storm.

"I'd have to say at this point, I'm more impressed with our offense," Reinhardt said. "We struggled the last two years. This is a first-year offense that has gotten stronger.

"We have a great run attack. We can go to the air. I like our versatility with what coach Roger Jansen has done, bringing a lot of new things to our offense. If it wasn't for him and Jarrod, we wouldn't be scoring all the points."


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