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Martinellis Little Italy

Bandits Slow Down Bombers

Mike Hammett - April 26, 2014 9:54 pm

In a game that featured fast and furious scoring in the second and third quarters, defense was the difference as Sioux City rallied past the Salina Bombers 56-42 in a battle for first place in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League on Saturday night at the Bicentennial Center.

The Bombers scored on seven of eight possessions from late in the first quarter through the early portion of the third quarter. However, the Bandit defense took over, forcing four straight defensive stops to take over late.

The Bandits opened quickly, scoring on their first play. Quarterback Scott Jensen hit receiver Eddie Pertilla for a 27-yard touchdown pass, giving the Bandits a quick 6-0 lead after the failed conversion with 14:29 to go in the first.

The Bombers were using their fifth different quarterback on the season, as rookie Robbie Nallenweg made his debut. On the second play from scrimmage, the snap never made it to Nallenweg, and Sioux City recovered. However, the Bandits missed a field goal on the drive.

The Bombers finally got on the board on the next drive, going 10 plays before settling for Corey Hoover’s 33-yard field goal, cutting the Bandit lead in half at 6-3 at the end of  a quarter.

Sioux City quickly responded. The Bandits returned the ensuing kickoff to the Bomber 13 and needed only 4 plays to score, all on the ground. Johnny Bentley’s one-yard run put the Bandits up 13-3 with 14:52 to play in the half.

On the next play from scrimmage, the Bombers answered as Nallenweg went deep and hit Ricky Roberts for a 38-yard touchdown. Roberts had to wrestle the ball away from Sioux City’s Rahn Franklin, but held on for the score. The extra point pulled the Bombers back within 13-10 with 14:10 to go in the half.

Sioux City used another big kick return, this time inside the Bomber 10, to set themselves up with good field position. However, the Bombers held the Bandits to a field goal attempt, but missed again.

The Bombers struck quickly. A 35-yard pass from Nallenweg to Attrail Snipes put the Bombers at the Bandit 1, and two plays later, Nallenweg hit Zack McClain for a 1-yard touchdown, putting the Bombers up 16-13 with 8:29 left in the first half.

This time, the Bandits answered. A 2-yard touchdown run by Frederick Bruno put the Bandits back up 20-16 with 6:30 to go in the half.

The Bombers answered in just three plays. Nallenweg hit Snipes on a post pattern for a 16-yard touchdown, giving the Bombers a 23-20 lead with 4:52 left in the half.

Another quick answer ensued from Sioux City. Jensen found Pertilla for a 26-yard touchdown, pushing the Bandits ahead 26-23 with 2:23 to go in the second quarter.

The back-and-forth continued as the Bombers picked up an answer on Nallenweg’s 14-yard scoring pass to Roberts, putting Salina up 29-26 at the half.

The Bombers scored on the opening possession of the second half. Nallenweg hit Snipes for 33 yards to get the Bombers to the Bandit 10. Two plays later, Quentin Benning scored from a yard out to lead 35-26 with 12:20 to go in the third quarter.

The Bandits responded by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to two at 35-33.

The Bombers answered in one play, as Nallenweg hit Roberts for a 15-yard score, putting Salina up 42-33 with 11:49 to go in the third.

Frederick Bruno’s 7-yard scoring run brought the Bandits right back within two at 42-40 with 10:53 remaining in the quarter.

After an interception, the Bandits regained the lead on a lateral to Lorenzo Brown, scoring from 6 yards out. After a two-point conversion, the Bandits led 48-42 with 3:16 left in the 3rd.

The scoring pace slowed, until the Bandits stretched the lead to two possessions on Jensen’s third scoring pass to Pertilla, this time from 18 yards, as the Bandits pushed the lead to 56-42 with 7:25 to play in the game.

The Bombers would go four-and-out on their next possession, and never saw the ball again as Sioux City ran out the clock.

Unofficially, Nallenweg was 16-for-30 passing for 186 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions in his debut. Roberts led the Bombers in receiving with seven catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns.