INDOOR FOOTBALL: Axemen anxious to return to action after bye week
BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Axemen will return to action for the first time in two weeks as they host the Wyoming Cavalry 7:05 p.m. today at the Sanford Center.
Head coach Robert Fuller said the team enjoyed the rest provided by last week’s bye and focused on getting healthy and getting players up to speed with the system he and his staff have instituted.
“Our main focuses during the bye week were to incorporate some new players into our system and also get healthy,” Fuller said. “We did practice during the bye week, but they were much lighter practices.”
The Axemen will try to rebound from a 43-19 road loss they suffered against the Nebraska Danger two weeks ago on March 1.
Despite the loss, Bemidji (1-1) currently sits in three-way tie for second place in the United Conference thanks to a 40-36 win in its season opener over Green Bay.
“With an expansion team, you have a good mix of rookies and veterans, but it is a process that takes time,” Fuller said. “I like where we are at. We don’t use being an expansion franchise as an excuse. Our focus is to go 1-0 each weekend.”
Wyoming enters tonight’s tilt with an 0-2 record after taking road losses to the Tri City Fever and Colorado Ice in its first two contests.
“Wyoming has started off with two very difficult road games,” Fuller said. “They are a tough, physical team that plays hard for all four quarters and are very well-coached.”
If getting back on the field was not enough of a reason for excitement for Fuller and the Axemen, playing in front of the home fans in Bemidji provides extra motivation as the team will try to stay perfect at home and move above the .500 mark on the season.
“Being at home, especially in this league with the long bus trips, is an incredible advantage,” Fuller said. “The Bemidji community has given us incredible support, so it is great to have the ninth man working to your advantage.”
So far this season, home teams in the IFL have gone 8-2 and no team other than the Sioux Falls Storm has managed to earn a victory on the road.
Saturday’s game, which will also be Mardi Gras Night at the Sanford Center, marks the beginning of a two-game homestand for the Axemen as they will host a rematch with Nebraska next weekend before spending over a month on the road.