Bucks Pick up First Win in Franchise History
The Bismarck Bucks picked up their first win in franchise history in an exciting game that came down to the very final play.
The Bucks coming off a 40 point loss in their opener against the Sioux City Bandits a week ago, were hoping to have a better showing against the West Michigan Ironmen The Bandits have been an indoor football team since the late 1990s and have been members of the Champions Indoor Football League since its inception in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Ironmen are new to the CIF just like the Bucks but the Ironmen are not new to indoor football. The team was a member of the American Indoor Football League last season so the Ironmen still have played together previously.
The Bucks began the game on offense and after two incomplete passes by Quarterback Jonathan Bane to open things up, he found Lance Lewis inside the five yard line on a 27 yard completion setting up an eventual rushing touchdown. Tyler Floyd rushed it in on an end around giving the Bucks their first ever lead in franchise history going up 7-0 off the opening drive.
The West Michigan Ironmen answered quickly on a 29 yard touchdown completion on the ensuing drive but a missed extra point kept the Bucks in the lead 7-6.
The two teams both scored on their second drives as well and that was all the scoring for the first quarter with the game tied at 13.
West Michigan opened the second frame with a score and the Ironmen took their first lead of the game going up 19-13 following a second missed extra point.
At the half, the Bucks were down 26-25. The Ironmen scored a TD with just about 8 seconds left in the half and on the ensuing kickoff, the Bucks almost brought it back for a touchdown but were stopped 5 yards short of the goal line.
The Bucks came out strong in the second half as their defense didn't allow the Ironmen to score on the opening possession and then the Bucks found the endzone themselves allowing Bismarck to go up on top 32-26.
The Bucks then intercepted a deep pass in front of the endzone on the next possession and the third quarter ended with the Bucks up 32-26.
Bismarck opened up the fourth quarter with a long pass completion to Elby Pope to put the Bucks up two scores 40-26 following a two point conversion.
The Ironmen with just over a minute left had the ball down 40-33 and a chance to tie the game (or win with a two point conversion). The Bucks missed a long field goal on the prior possession to try and make it a 10 point game.
It was a nail-biting finish. West Michigan with 10 seconds left had the ball at the Bucks 14 and it was 4th and 1. The snap was fumbled, but Ironmen QB Donovan Campbell recovered it and completed a pass that was taken down inside the 5-yard line. The Ironmen took a timeout with just 3 seconds left and had one final play from the 2 yard line. But then a false start sent the Ironmen back to the 7-yard line. The Bucks' Michael Thompson intercepted the final pass and the Bucks got the victory 40-33
The win gets the monkey off the backs of the first year franchise but it's also a good win because as mentioned above, although this is also the Ironmen's first season in Champions Indoor Football, it is not the first year for the team in general. This game proves the Bucks can win against more experienced teams on the road.
The Bucks will try and get revenge on the Sioux City Bandits on Friday night, March 17th at the Bismarck Event Center at 7pm.