The Abilene Bombers franchise has made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Formerly known as the Ruff Riders, the name change and a second year for new head coach Joe Brannen seems to have done the trick. It was an up and down regular season but goal number one has been accomplished.
They've made it this far but it is still very much an uphill climb. They will have to face the one-seeded Amarillo venom in the first round – the only team to sweep the Bombers in the regular season – as the four seed.
This week the bombers let us behind the scenes for an all-access tour of everything from their new headquarters downtown to an intense week of practice ahead of the biggest game for the franchise in almost five years.
“The Abilene Bombers have relocated, we're in a new office now, we're at the Alexander building, you know a nice spot downtown,” Coach Brannen said as he showed us around the new office, “we've had a very focused week of practice. I was a little nervous we'd be uptight with it being the first playoff game for a lot of these guys. For all of us it's a big ball game but it's nice to see they're loose, relaxed and ready to play football.”
At practice the team seemed loose and relaxed. When it was time to get down to business though, the intensity was palpable. Second year quarterback Byron Ingram explained the reason for his team’s intensity.
“They've beat us three times straight, they're probably a little arrogant,” Ingram told KTXS of their first round opponent, “but they also know that this will be our fourth time playing them and it's hard to beat the same team four times straight.”
Professional sports are all about making the playoffs,” Joe Brannen explained his coaching philosophy; “once you get there it's anybody's ball game. We certainly feel that the championship is right within our reach. We say we want to go 1 and 0 each week and this week is no different. We're not looking too far ahead but we want these guys to know what’s within grasp for them.”
“It's just all about staying mentally focused and prepared and keeping your eye on the prize,” Ingram explained, “I've definitely always rooted for the underdog team, so to be the underdog makes you want to play harder, win it that much more, make the outcome that much sweeter so hopefully we get up here, get a big upset and go to the championship.”
Fans who cannot make it to Amarillo but still want to watch their Bombers compete in the playoffs can watch the game online by visiting www.texaslsfl.com and clicking on the “Watch Games” tab. Highlights of the game can be seen on KTXS News at 10 on Saturday.