BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Extreme wants to be an eradicator of all hope, specifically the hope of the host Omaha Beef to avenge April's 56-44 home loss to the Extreme. | Video
"I think we want to go out there and establish our dominance early," said Bloomington quarterback Dusty Burk.
"If we let them stay with us early, it's going to be a long night. They've had a bye week. We need to step on the gas from the get-go."
That's what happened last time as the Extreme zoomed to a 40-27 halftime lead.
Bloomington scored 14 points in the last three seconds of the first half thanks to a touchdown pass and the return of a blocked field goal attempt for a touchdown.
"That kind of broke the game open," said Burk, whose team is 6-6. "Before that, it was a pretty tight game. They were going point for point with us."
Omaha (5-7) has a dangerous quarterback in James McNear, according to Extreme coach Ted Schmitz.
"He is a very good runner," Schmitz said. "When they get down in the red zone, he is really a problem. We'll put in a special defense for him."
That defense also will be needed in Bloomington's 8:05 p.m. home finale July 7 against Billings (7-4) at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
"We've got to win this game," said Schmitz, whose team has a two-game lead over Evansville (4-8) with three games left in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. "If we do, we'll find out how good we are next week against Billings. Billings has won seven in a row and it will probably be eight coming in here."
The Extreme looked like a team on a roll in last week's 40-15 win over the Colorado Ice.
"It was definitely a total team win," Burk said. "The defense played probably as well as they have all season if not the best they have all season.
"I think offensively we kind of fed off that. Our line played exceptionally well I thought."
Burk played pretty well against Omaha in April, completing 18 of 26 passes for 259 yards and six touchdowns. Glenn Johnson caught seven passes for 138 yards and three scores while Reggie Gray caught seven passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
"You can get big plays on them," Schmitz said. "They will play a lot of man (defense) with no help in the middle. If you are pretty good at receiver and you can beat those DBs, you can get those big plays.
"Because of that I think they'll give us the same look, but play zone. So we might have to be patient, get the first downs, hit the possession routes like last week… Dusty's pretty good at that."
The Extreme is 2-1 all-time against Omaha, which has never beaten Bloomington in Nebraska.
Schmitz agreed it's odd the Extreme has to play at Omaha twice, but notes the UIF schedulers must take into consideration the availability of various venues.
"We've never played Sioux City once," noted Schmitz. "That's just the way it is."
Schmitz hopes his team's health stays the way it is.
"We're staying a lot healthier this year than we did last year," he said. "We have a chance to make a run at this thing if we stay healthy."