INDOOR FOOTBALL: Axemen kick themselves too many times in 34-13 loss to Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Bemidji Axemen left too many points on the board in its 34-13 loss to the Sioux Falls Storm Saturday at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The Axemen were held scoreless in a first half where they missed four field goal attempts -- two of them were blocked, but only one was over 35 yards -- and turned the ball over on downs twice inside the ten-yard line of Sioux Falls.
The kicking woes of Zach Pulkinen and the offensive line led head coach Robert Fuller to opt to keep his offense on the field two times instead of trying what is usually an easy field goal attempt.
With the loss, Bemidji (5-6) falls below the .500 mark and Sioux Falls (10-0) continues its undefeated campaign to stay atop the United Conference.
Despite leaving points on the board every time it stepped on the field, Bemidji only trailed 7-0 after 29 minutes of action.
Storm quarterback Chris Dixon capped off a drive late in the first half with a one-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 14-0 and kicker Parker Douglass added a last-second field goal -- which came after a blocked field goal attempt from Pulkinen -- to send the home team to the locker room with a 17-0 lead.
Sioux Falls added a field goal and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Dixon to Tory Harrison to increase the margin to 27-0.
The touchdown was Dixon's 50th total touchdown of the season.
He threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Martevious Young on the first drive of the game.
Bemidji showed signs of life as quarterback Cody Kirby threw touchdown passes to Ryan Balentine and Josh Jarboe to cut the deficit to 27-13 with 11:53 left in the game.
Harrison and the Storm countered with a one-yard rushing touchdown to halt the Axemen momentum and build a three-possession lead.
Bemidji's defensive effort was led by a pair of turnovers, a fumble recovery by Jory Johnson in the first half and an interception by Gary Wilburn in the second half.
Offensively, the Axemen were able to move the ball as Kirby finished with 222 yards through the air and connected with Balentine nine times for 126 yards.
Dixon completed 22 of his 34 pass attempts for 259 yards.
Bemidji has next weekend off and will return to action in two weeks from now when it will host the Texas Revolution at the Sanford Center.
Sioux Falls 34, Bemidji 13
Bemidji 0 0 7 6 -- 13
Sioux Falls 7 10 10 7 -- 34
SF- Young 7-pass from Dixon. PAT, Douglass kick, 6:51.
SF- Dixon 1-run. PAT, Douglass kick, :39.
SF- Douglass 19-kick. :01.
SF- Douglass 25-kick. 11:00.
SF- Harrison 26-pass from Dixon. PAT, Douglass kick, 5:55.
B- Balentine 26-pass from Kirby. PAT, Pulkinen kick, 5:22.
B- Jarboe 6-pass from Kirby. PAT, 2-point conversion failed, 11:53.
SF- Harrison 1-run. PAT, Douglass kick, 9:07.