The Sioux City Bandits rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Omaha Beef 61-55 and clinch home-field advantage in the North Division in a Champions Indoor Football league contest at the Ralston Arena here Saturday.
The win moves the Bandits to 9-2 on the season and, two games ahead of second-place Omaha (7-4) with one game remaining in the regular season.
With the game tied at 55-all, Sioux City had the ball at midfield with 36 seconds left. Taylor Genuser scored a few plays later on a 1-yard touchdown run giving the Bandits a 61-55 lead, but Greg Conry missed the extra point. Genuser also had a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on the touchdown run after he spiked the ball and it went out of bounds.
Omaha started the ensuing drive on the Sioux City 14-yard line but did not have any timeouts left. The Bandits defense sacked quarterback Anthony Iannotti on first down. After stopping the clock with a spike on second down, Iannotti threw an incomplete pass on third down. On fourth and 13, Jonathan Ray caught an Iannotti pass and was brought down by Bandit defenders Marlon Lobban and Cliff Stokes a yard short of the first down marker.
The Beef scored on the final play of the first half, a 45-yard touchdown pass, and took a 35-28 lead into halftime.
Iannotti scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half to give the Beef a 42-28 lead.
Frederick Bruno returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, cutting the Omaha lead to 42-35 with 12:20 left in the third quarter.
The Beef responded with a 1-yard touchdown run from Iannotti giving Omaha a 49-35 lead with 3:47 left in the third.
On the following drive, Bruno scored on a 1-yard run to trim the Omaha lead to 49-42 with 1:31 left in the third.
After the Beef missed a 28-yard field goal, Dominique Carson scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 49-all with 8:06 left in the game.
Omaha then missed another field goal and the Bandits took advantage with a 37-yard touchdown run from Drew Prohaska. Prohaska’s gallop gave Sioux City a 55-49 lead, Conry missed the extra point, with 3:52 left in the contest.
The Beef answered with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Iannotti to Calvin Phillips, but Omaha also missed the extra point, tying the game at 55-all with 2:57 left.
The Bandits defeated Omaha 63-44 on February 25 in Sioux City and 63-56 in overtime on March 31 in Omaha.
The Beef had won seven of their last nine games since falling to the Bandits in overtime.
Sioux City concludes its regular season on Friday with a game at the Kansas City Phantoms.