by Lucas Treat (email@example.com)
Sioux City, IA - The Sioux City Bandits aren't supposed to be 4-1.
They're in a new league -- with tougher competition -- and a pile of injured players.
The Bandits started out of the gates with a week one win in Bloomington, IN. But that win would prove to be costly.
"It's been kind of a difficult issue with all of these injuries asking a bunch of younger guys to take bigger roles but we need them now." Offensive Lineman Steve Schmidt said.
Steve Schmidt was called out of retirement to bolster the Bandits offensive line, and to provide leadership for the younger players.
"I just kept telling them hang in there... It's arena football -- it's high scoring, all you need is one score or one stop and you're right back in it." Schmidt said.
Younger guys like Marshall Barney -- a strong safety who switched to middle linebacker to take Spetlar Tonga's spot.
"The younger guys have really been stepping it up this year. We've had an opportunity to show off what we can do." Barney said.
"Yeah, a Spetlar Tonga is irreplaceable, and Eddie Pertilla... But the guys behind them are ready to go when called and when needed." Head Coach Erv Strohbeen said.
Then in week four, the Bandits lost for the first time in nearly two years against their I-29 rivals: the Omaha Beef.
"Fifteen seconds to go and we use a timeout. We should have gone ahead and kicked it there but we thought the other team's kicker had a pretty good leg." Strohbeen said.
"Honestly it's really not that bad to lose a close game on the road in Omaha. We can perform better. We know that." Barney said.
And now in the bye week, Coach Strohbeen likes how his Bandits have played so far -- but he knows there's a lot more work on the horizon.
"With as much adversity as this team has come up against this year, being 4-1, possibly 5-0, I'm happy with it." Strohbeen said.
"We do have a lot of injuries -- everyone knows that -- it's very obvious. We have a lot of guys stepping up and I feel like even with our back-ups we have the talent to compete in this league, if not win it all." Barney said.
The Bandits will return to the field next Saturday, April 27th, at 7:00 p.m. to take on the Omaha Beef.