Sioux Falls, SD
The 2012 United Bowl is just days away now and another shot at a national title is just business as usual for the Sioux Falls Storm. The team is busy prepping for a rematch of last year's title tilt against the Tri-Cities Fever. Unlike the past few weeks, the Storm are getting help from a familiar face this week, their coach.
Kurtiss Riggs is back in the saddle after sitting out the past two playoff games. The Storm leader since 2003 was suspended after the league ruled the franchise overcompensated a player right as the playoffs were set to begin.
"I mean it's what I'm accustomed to, so it's a more natural fit than being gone. That was the toughest part," Riggs said.
His team seemed to do just fine without him, cruising past Lehigh Valley in the opening round 79-21 and holding it together late for a 61-42 victory over Green Bay in the second.
"That's the team we have. They're business as usual. I think the game with Lehigh Valley was a mismatch and we took advantage of that. Emotions were high. Green Bay, the guys never panicked. It was a tight game. Green Bay took the lead in the second half. The guys continued to work and made some big plays," Riggs said.
They'll need a few more of those to get past Tri-Cities. The Storm topped the Fever 55-16 at home in mid-May before narrowly escaped later that month on the road with a 73-72 win.
"29 penalties will hurt you. 29 penalties, two onside kicks they recovered and they played a good game. It's a very difficult atmosphere to play in out there just like it is here," Riggs said.
With a sixth title in eight years on the line this Saturday, the arena is sure to filled with rabid fans. And with his suspension out of the way, Riggs is glad he can now take part in some postseason football.
"Hopefully people know I had nothing to do with any of that. The by-laws state the coach is the one that gets suspended. As they went through that whole process my name was never brought up once. It's just I was the one that had to be the consequence as the by-laws stated. It is what it is, we got it done and now we're able to play for the championship," Riggs said.
Kick off is scheduled for 7-Oh-5. Tickets range from seven dollars on up to thirty.