Diesel seeking revenge at Rapid City
05/18/02 Kearney Cyberhub
KEARNEY — Coming off perhaps the biggest win in the team's two-year history, the Tri-City Diesel have reason to feel good once again.
"It took the edge off," Tri-City coach Leland Skeen said of the Diesel's 26-19 win over Omaha. "But I think the frustration is still there. … We could be sitting 7-1 if some breaks would have gone our way. The players know that better than anybody.
"The win against Omaha was only good for one day and then we had to look down the road. It is not going to get any easier."
The next obstacle standing in the Diesel's path is a road trip to Rapid City.
The Red Dogs (4-5) may not boast a winning record, but the history of the series is clearly on their side. Rapid City is 3-0 against the Diesel, including a 44-42 win at the Tri-City Arena just two weeks ago.
"That was one of the games we felt we should have won," Skeen said. "Maybe it will be revenge time for us when we go up there.
"It is completely different team than Omaha. The Beef wanted to come in here and run, and now we got out to Rapid City and it's the complete opposite. They like to throw the deep ball and stretch your secondary."
The Red Dogs stretched Tri-City (3-5) to the limit in Week 9 as quarterback Jason Murdock completed 19-of-29 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
However, Diesel quarterback Justin Coleman trumped Murdock by racking up 265 yards and four touchdowns through the air. Tri-City had more than its fair share of chances to win the game, but a late fumble on a kickoff return by Jimmy Moore sealed the Diesel's fate.
But Coleman may not be able duplicate his gaudy numbers this time around. He broke two bones in his left hand in the loss to Rapid City and has been wearing a special cast ever since.
"Justin played the best he could considering the situation," Skeen said of Coleman's performance versus Omaha. "He is capable of doing much more, but the injury is holding him back some."
Coleman is also missing his two favorite targets — Tyrone Thomas and Jermaine Brooks.
Thomas may miss the rest of the season with ligament damage in his knee, and Brooks is still nursing a high ankle sprain that won't allow him to suit up against the Red Dogs.
The Diesel signed Broken Bow native Dustin Morgan this week to give Coleman another set of hands to utilize. Morgan played with the Bismarck Roughriders earlier in the season, but he suffered an injury and was never given another chance once he got healthy.
"It will take a couple weeks for him to catch on," Skeen said. "But he is a Nebraska kid and he fits right in with the guys. The first thing he said to me was that he happy to be back home."