Bucks Pregame: Salina
Posted 4/21/18 (Sat)
One of the only constants in Indoor Football is change. Because all the players in the league are free agents, the transaction wire is constantly buzzing. And there’s no better time to make those changes than a bye week. New players get a chance to get familiar with the team, the schemes, and the area.
So the Bismarck Bucks, currently resting at 3-2 and third in the CIF North, went to work changing things up. And those shifts came at some of the biggest spots on the field. Over the course of the week off, the Bucks promoted Paco Martinez to the head coach position. He’ll maintain control of the offense, and Clay Harrell takes the reins of the defense.
Usually, when a mid-season change is made at coach, the next man up doesn’t have a ton of experience in the position. That is absolutely not the case with coach Martinez. He faced a similar situation in Wichita, taking over as head coach after a successful run as OC. That team would go on to be incredibly successful, winning a title in this very same Champions Indoor Football. Now, Bismarck hopes he can do the same thing again.
But the coach at the helm wasn’t the only big change over the bye. Along with changing the leader of the organization, the Bucks also got a new leader of the offense. Bismarck added a new QB: Aaron Aiken. He fits the mold of an outstanding indoor QB: the dual threat gunslinger with size and strength. He’s developed an immediate rapport with his fellow Bucks, and now he gets ready to take the field against one of the league’s top defenses. To learn more about the new Bucks offensive centerpiece, be sure to join us on the broadcast tonight at seven!
The Bucks only have two teams in front of them in the CIF North right now. One of those squads is the Salina Liberty. Now, Bismarck gets a chance to even that difference out as the Bucks take on the Liberty for the second time this year. The first matchup between those two served as a launching pad for Salina: they haven’t lost a game since.
Salina is the team most different from a year ago. After an incredibly difficult season that saw the Liberty with one of the worst records in the league, Salina completely retooled their roster and it worked. Taking advantage of a folding Dodge City squad, these Liberty kept the best players for one of the league’s best teams last year in the state of Kansas. So Salina retooled their roster, and the result is one of the most talented teams in the league.
On the offensive side, the Liberty is led by quarterback Derrick Bernard. Bernard is one of those many Dodge City standouts, and had an outstanding game against the Bucks down in Salina. Bernard is exceptionally difficult to bring down, and that proved to be the Bucks undoing down in Kansas. Nearly all the big-time plays came after first contact as Bernard eluded the initial tackle and survived long enough to make a throw downfield. But it’s his rushing ability that is the most important factor. Bernard is top five in the league in rushing per game at just about 40 yards a game.
Despite being top 5, Bernard isn’t even the top rusher on his own team. That honor goes to Dominique Carson. The former Sioux City back is a one cut and go explosion. He’s currently second in the league, and is part of what makes Bernard so dangerous on the ground. The bevy of options on the ground is also matched by a group of veteran wide receivers.
The Salina defense is another unit that ranks near the tops of Champions Indoor Football. Travis Taylor is the sack leader in CIF, and he’s joined by two other Liberty defenders amongst the top ranks. Overall, this Salina team is one of the most talented in the league and the Bucks will have a big-time challenge tonight at seven!