With one big exception, not much has changed with the Omaha Beef, who return to the Bismarck Event Center on Saturday for their second of three regular-season Champions Indoor Football games against the Bismarck Bucks.
The one exception: No Anthony Iannotti.
The veteran quarterback who threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 53 yards in the Bucks’ 33-32 win on April 7, was suspended by the Beef on May 3, according to the CIF transactions report. In his place last week was John Gibbs, who was 17-for-31 for 152 yards and a TD and ran for 39 yards and two scores in a 52-40 loss to Sioux City.
The Beef need to beat the Bucks this week to maintain their hold on third place and a playoff spot. The Bucks need a win to take over that spot. “We’re focused on us and trying to be the best team we can be,” Martinez said. “We’re going to try to put a complete game together.”
Martinez said inconsistency has dogged the Bucks the last two weeks, both losses which resulted in the team’s first losing streak of the season.
“The biggest thing I see – sometimes it’s defense and sometimes it’s offense – is just consistency. That’s the big thing we are missing. Consistency is what we’re challenging everybody with. Just don’t panic. Let’s put one game together and see what it looks like.”
Like the Beef, Bismarck will be without some key players. Team rushing leader Zavier Steward is nursing an injured shoulder and is questionable, while starting lineman Deon Paulson will miss his second straight game.
Steward has rushed for 360 yards and 10 touchdowns. If he can’t go, Trey Boone will start in his place.
The teams are quite similar. Both average 43 points; the Beef average 82 rushing, the Bucks 81; the Beef average 147 passing, the Bucks 138.
“It’s going to be another tough game,” Martinez said. “They’re a quality team. They’re athletic with a defense that is flying around. Everyone knows what’s on the line so it’s going to be a dogfight.”