CIF Power Rankings, May 2
For the second straight week, there is some stability among the 12 squads who represent Champions Indoor Football. There are still quite a few games left for teams to salvage their season or make that final push for the playoffs, but it is evident on who is bound for the postseason.
Taking a look at the CIF Northern Division, everyone still has a shot at getting in. While Sioux City and Wichita will decide who will be division champions within the next few weeks, the Omaha Beef and Bloomington Edge are both jockeying for the third and final playoff spot. Let’s not count out the Salina Liberty or the Chicago Eagles either, but the two teams would need to win out to crash the postseason party.
Meanwhile, the CIF Southern Division may have one team already eliminated from playoff contention in the fledgling Mesquite Marshals. San Angelo is gaining ground in the division, sitting at a two-game winning streak. Amarillo and Duke City are battling for the final postseason berth, with the Venom seeking to avenge their stunning loss to San Angelo while the Gladiators have suffered through a three-game skid. While poll leader Texas sits above Dodge City by one game, the Law did hand the Revs their lone loss in the 2016 season.
For this week, the playoff talk substitutes who rose and who fell, as no team fell more than one spot in this week’s power rankings. But it is worth noting that Duke City dropped from sixth to seventh while Omaha stayed put, as Bloomington and San Angelo are continuing to ascend the poll.
Now, let’s get to business…
Texas Revolution (7-1): Right now, Texas is heads and shoulders above the rest of the league. There’s no disputing that. The Revs handily defeated Duke City at home by the score of 56-34 this past Saturday, quarterback Robert Kent Jr. continued his spectacular season by going 16-of-32 with 175 yards and three touchdowns. On the defensive side of things, Anthony Webb led a strong effort, picking off two of Duke City quarterback Taylor Genuser’s five INTs. But the “Red Hot Revs” will be tested, as they will host the Dodge City Law for the top-spot in the CIF Southern Division at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Allen Event Center. The Revs’ lone loss so far this season was an 89-71 road setback to Dodge City on March 16. Expect a barnburner. Last Week’s Ranking: 1 (None)
Sioux City Bandits (6-2): Sitting right behind is the well-rested, defending CIF champions. Sioux City currently has the No. 1 scoring defense, with defensive back Jon Smith and linebacker Marlon Lobban at the helm with a combined 16 solo tackles per game. Not to mention that Lobban has six sacks, ranking third in the CIF, so far this season. The Bandits will look to go back to work this week, host a surging Bloomington Edge squad on Saturday evening at the Tyson Events Center. Sioux City will also aim to avenge their 45-41 home loss to the Edge earlier this year. Last Week’s Ranking: 2 (None)
Dodge City Law
Dodge City Law (6-2): The Law returned from their bye week with a resounding 43-20 victory over the Salina Liberty at the United Wireless Arena in the “Tumbleweed Throwdown” this past weekend. Despite quarterback Derrick Bernard tossing three picks in the game, the Dodge City defense held the Liberty to a scoreless second and third quarter. In the game of indoor football, it is a hard feat to accomplish to hold a team to one quarter without touching paydirt. That speaks volumes on how tough Dodge City could be, come playoff time. The Law will need their defense to repeat the rousing performance, as they will travel south to take on the Texas Revolution for supremacy of the CIF Southern Division on Saturday night at the Allen Event Center. Last Week’s Ranking: 3 (None)
Wichita Force (6-2): Since dropping two straight, the Force have replied with winning two straight, as Wichita took care of the Chicago Eagles 52-42 at the Intrust Bank Arena last weekend. Even without Steve Panasuk under center, Wichita didn’t skip a beat, as quarterback David Olson tossed for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Olson also proved that he was quick on his feet, rushing for 37 yards and three trips to the endzone. Not bad, not bad at all. The Force will take the week off, before traveling to Sioux City for the chance to be on top of the CIF Northern Division mountain on May 14. Last Week’s Ranking: 4 (None)
Omaha Beef (4-4): Even though they took the loss, dropping in the closing moments to Bloomington at home 45-40, the Beef didn’t fall in this week’s power rankings. Ludicrous. But hear this out. Omaha had the game in their hands with the help Jonathan Ray’s kickoff return for a touchdown and they rallied back from 20 points down. That deserves a lot of credit, and with Duke City getting beat and Amarillo sitting on a bye, there was no reason for Omaha to plummet. The Beef will seek to stay above .500 going forward, as they take a bye before facing off against the Chicago Eagles on May 14 at the Slaughterhouse in Ralston. Last Week’s Ranking: 5 (None)
VENOM graphic - color
Amarillo Venom (4-3): Recovering from their worst loss of the season to the San Angelo Bandits with the bye week, Amarillo is going to be fired up going into a three-game home stretch. However, Head Coach Julian Reese’s squad will need to cure their defensive ills, as Amarillo currently has the worst defense in the league, allowing more than 2,000 yards and 55 touchdowns. The main bright spot for the Venom is defensive lineman Desmond Raiford, who sits second in the CIF with 6.5 sacks. Another bright spot? The Venom and its defense will host San Angelo in the final game of their season series at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum. It’s well known that the Venom want to exact revenge, break the split and take the season series. Last Week’s Ranking: 7 (+1)
Duke City Gladiators
Duke City Gladiators (4-4): So, uh, what happened to the Gladiators? In a mid-season gut check with two of the top teams in the CIF Southern Division, Duke City dropped three straight after starting the season 4-1. It didn’t help that Duke City has had problems without veteran quarterback Bryan Randall, falling to the Texas Revolution on the road by the score of 56-34 with Taylor Genuser under center. While the Gladiators are searching for answers, wide receiver Dello Davis caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, even with five interceptions. The Gladiators will seek to cure their recent ailments, traveling to Mesquite to face the fledgling and struggling Mesquite Marshals on Saturday night at the Mesquite Arena. Last Week’s Ranking: 6 (-1)
Bloomington Edge (3-4): The Edge captured the upset of the week, using a 19 yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Orlandus Harris to knock off the Omaha Beef at Ralston Arena, 45-40. Quarterback Caleb Holbrook went down during the game, sadly, but the rookie will be back in no time. Hopefully, Holbrook will be back for that playoff push, which the Edge will want to do going forward. But the next challenge lies ahead for the Edge, as they venture westward once more to lock horns with the Sioux City Bandits on Saturday evening. The Edge had already defeated the CIF defending champions in the Tyson Events Center earlier this year, 45-41. By the way, if some friends from Edge can be of help, who is the mysterious quarterback donning that No. 8 jersey? Last Week’s Ranking: 9 (+1)
Salina Liberty (2-6): The going has been quite rough for Salina, to say the least. Especially with the Liberty taking a painful 43-20 loss to the Dodge City Law in the “Tumbleweed Throwdown” this past weekend. Quarterback Derek Racette struggled mightily against Dodge City, going 8-of-24 and tossing for 98 yards and two interceptions. Is it time for the Liberty to take a solid look at Kelwin Burke Jr.? Or they could put wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid under center, who went surprisingly silent against the Law. Just a suggestion. That decision will be left to Eric Clayton and his staff though, as the Liberty search for a spark as they will host another struggling team in the Chicago Eagles on Saturday night at the Bicentennial Center. Last Week’s Ranking: 9 (-1)
San Angelo Bandits (2-6): Recently, the Bandits have put together a nice winning streak, handing the Mesquite Marshals a 54-41 win at the Foster Communications Coliseum in San Angelo. But first, a friendly memo to Bandits owner and CIF commissioner Randy Sanders: Can we please get stats in a timely manner? There are plenty of folks who want to give credit where credit is due on Mondays. With that lack of stats aside, San Angelo will look to build on their work, traveling north to face the Amarillo Venom in the final game of their three-game season series this Saturday at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum. Each team is 1-1 against each other so far this season. Last Week’s Ranking: 11 (+1)
Chicago Eagles (2-6): The long road stretch so far has not been helping the expansion Chicago Eagles, who took a 52-42 loss to the Wichita Force on the road last weekend. But it is worth noting that quarterback Anthony Iannotti has been putting Chicago on his back, passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns along with rushing for 35 yards and three trips to paydirt. As stated time and time against, Iannotti can’t win games alone. In fact, the Chicago defense ranks near the bottom of the league in red zone defense, but ranks third in the league in total defense. Quite a paradox, isn’t it? The Eagles will look to get back on the right track, making the long drive to central Kansas to battle the Salina Liberty this Saturday at the Bicentennial Center. Last Week’s Ranking: 10 (-1)
Mesquite Marshals (1-7): It’s safe to say that Mesquite is having quite a bit of road troubles, tumbling to a 54-41 setback against the San Angelo Bandits. Sorry Mesquite fans, no stats for this one. With four games left in their inaugural season, time is running out in terms of a relatively successful campaign. Even worse, if Mesquite wins out, they will not achieve .500 mark. Looking at the first season in an optimistic light, the Marshals are here to stay, averaging more than 2,500 fans per game. So this tough initial go-around will eventually yield results. The Marshals will have a shot to right the ship at the Mesquite Arena, where they will host a reeling Duke City Gladiators team on Saturday evening. Last Week’s Ranking: 12 (None)