CIF Power Rankings, April 4
The top and bottom are stable, but the middle of the pack is still anyone’s to ascend and descend in this week’s Champions Indoor Football Power Rankings.
Wichita remains in first place, despite having to hold off the Bloomington Edge at home. If you’re the last undefeated team in the CIF, the top spot is well-deserved. Along with the Force, an idle Dodge City Law, the Texas Revolution and a rising Sioux City Bandits squad round out the top four spots.
Duke City rose the highest, jumping up from seventh to fifth. This is thanks to a wild comeback home win on Sunday, where the Gladiators erased a 10 point deficit with 21 unanswered points in the final three minutes to surge past the Amarillo Venom, 53-42.
Since their loss against Wichita and calling in veteran quarterback Bryan Randall, Duke City has slowly but surely climbed the CIF Power Rankings.
The Venom, stung by the late collapse in Albuquerque, fell from fifth to seventh in this week’s poll. Bloomington Edge pulled off an anomaly this week, bumping upward after a hard fought loss to Wichita on the road.
Chicago benefitted from its bye week, hopping to eighth due to their win against Bloomington on March 16. Salina, due to being soundly defeated by Sioux City, fell to 10th.
Wichita Force (4-0): Congrats, Force faithful. By holding off Bloomington at the Intrust Bank Arena on Friday 51-48, the Force remain the lone undefeated team in Champions Indoor Football. Quarterback Steve Panasuk once again had a stellar game, passing for 174 and six touchdowns against the Edge. Wichita will have this week circled with a big, red marker though, as they will host the Texas Revolution in what could very well be a CIF Game of the Week at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Intrust Bank Arena. Last Week’s Ranking: 1 (None)
Dodge City Law
Dodge City Law (4-1): Opening their 2016 season with five-game grind, the Law had a chance to catch their collective breath this past weekend. Due to their only loss of the season determined by one single point, Dodge City stays put in this week’s rankings. It also helped that they defeated the Texas Revolution at the United Wireless Arena the week before. Therefore, the Law shouldn’t complain too much. This week, the Law will look to avoid a letdown on the road, as they make the quick trip north to face a reeling Salina Liberty on Saturday evening at the Bicentennial Center. Last Week’s Ranking: 2 (None)
Texas Revolution (3-1): Since dropping a shootout to Dodge City, the Texas Revolution rebounded nicely with a resounding 51-32 road win over the Mesquite Marshals last Saturday. Quarterback Robert Kent Jr. put up excellent numbers for the Revs once more, shredding the Marshal defense with 282 yards and eight touchdowns. This week, there’s no doubt that Head Coach Victor Mann and his squad will want to knock the Wichita Force from the ranks of the unbeaten on the road this Saturday. All in all, this upcoming game should be a fun one. Last Week’s Ranking: 3 (None)
Sioux City Bandits (4-2): Since dropping two straight a few weeks ago, the CIF defending champs have found a rhythm and recovered nicely. Shades of 2015, anyone? It could be so, as the Bandits converted a 20-19 halftime deficit into shutting out the Salina Liberty in the second half to cruise to a 46-20 victory. Sioux City will definitely have their defense to thank for that one, but they won’t win too many games by tossing three interceptions, as shown by quarterback Chuck Wright. Luckily, the Bandits will have a bye this week to work out those kinks. Last Week’s Ranking: 5 (+1)
Duke City Gladiators
Duke City Gladiators (3-1): After scoring 21 unanswered points in the closing moments of Sunday’s game against the Amarillo Venom, Head Coach Dominic Bramante should be pleased with that sort of team performance late in a game. Wide receivers Damien Clark, Dello Davis and Brock Ringo each caught two touchdown passes in their home victory, solidifying that the Gladiators possess quite a few downfield threats. Expect Duke City to continue their ascent up the Power Rankings, as they host a lowly San Angelo squad at the Tingley Coliseum on Saturday night. Last Week’s Ranking: 7 (+2)
VENOM graphic - color
Amarillo Venom (2-2): Barring their late collapse against the Duke City Gladiators, the Venom are still very much a playoff contender in the hotly contested CIF Southern Division. Especially with a balanced attack that features quarterback Nate Davis, a talented group of receivers and newly acquired running back Wyreaz Bradley. Defensive back Kory Stamps also led the Venom with two picks on Sunday, which was a positive for the Venom defensive unit. Amarillo will have a chance to rebound once more, taking their last trip to the Metroplex to battle the Mesquite Marshals on Saturday evening. Last Week’s Ranking: 4 (-2)
Omaha Beef (2-2): You know how teams usually don’t drop when they’re idle in the CIF Power Rankings? This was a rare occurrence, and it had to happen to the Omaha Beef. Sorry, Beef fans. But here’s the good news: Omaha does have a firm grip on the last playoff spot in the CIF Northern Division so far. However, we’re still in the early stages of the 2016 season. Also, the Beef could be put to the test as they head over to Chicagoland this weekend to play the Chicago Eagles on Saturday evening at the UIC Pavilion. Last Week’s Ranking: 6 (-1)
Chicago Eagles (1-3): So Omaha fell back in their bye week, the Chicago Eagles jumped up a spot in this week’s poll when they were idle. Apologies if that seems a little unfair. What helps Chicago’s ascent, despite having one victory so far this season, was their home win against the Bloomington Edge on March 26. The Eagles have a chance to nab the last wildcard spot and leap up the ranks when they host the Omaha Beef this Saturday on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago. To do that, quarterback Anthony Iannotti will need to deliver a stellar performance. Last Week’s Ranking: 9 (+1)
Bloomington Edge (1-3): In the weekly CIF Power Rankings, it’s a sad policy of “what have you done for me lately?” The Edge were given the bump due to looking more impressive in their 51-48 loss to the undefeated Wichita Force on the road this past Saturday, which enabled Bloomington to bump up a spot. Also, quarterback Caleb Holbrook held up quite well, passing for 170 yards and touchdowns, along with rushing for 53 yards. Save for any sudden movements, the Edge have the potential to move up in the poll in given time, with a bye week and a home date against the Mesquite Marshals on April 16 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Last Week’s Ranking: 10 (+1)
Salina Liberty (1-3): Liberty fans must hate these power rankings by now. But the 46-20 letdown last weekend at the Tyson Events Center against the Sioux City Bandits didn’t really help matters. After four games, Salina is indeed looking up from the bottom of the CIF Northern Division standings. To do so, the Liberty will need solid footing behind center, who had to resort to converted wide receiver Derek Racette. What could be worse for the Liberty this week? A tough home contest against the Derrick Bernard-led Dodge City Law on Saturday evening at the Bicentennial Center. Last Week’s Ranking: 8 (-2)
Mesquite Marshals (1-4): Following their upset victory over the CIF defending champions in their home opener, there was optimism for the upstart Marshals. Since then? They’ve been outscored 162-59. Granted, they have played a strong Texas Revolution squad twice and were blown out by a red-hot Duke City Gladiators team. Another point could be made that quarterback Kolton Browning, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, needs more help from his receivers. It won’t get any easier, as the Marshals will host a very angry Amarillo Venom team this Saturday at the Mesquite Arena. Last Week’s Ranking: 11 (None)
San Angelo Bandits (0-4): Sitting idle after enduring a four game skid, the Bandits need to begin to turn things around. Because giving up an average of 51 points a game doesn’t reflect well on the defense and gives any offense, no matter the talent, a serious mountain to climb. Should these problems defending persist, the Bandits will be in a world of hurt. It will be a tall order as the Bandits head to Tingley Coliseum to take on the dangerous Duke City Gladiators. Last Week’s Ranking: 12 (None)