Barnstormers set to play for First Round Bye against Sioux Falls

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B.J. Butler chases down Sioux Falls Lorenzo Brown in the 2018 United Bowl. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

The second biggest game in franchise history, at least for right now.

Dixie Wooten is never one to circle games on the calendar. Week after week, no matter the opponent, Wooten and co. treat every game the same.

The philosophy is that if his team has a mindset that they are playing a championship game every Saturday night, then they won’t be playing down to any of their opponents’ levels.

Barnstormers set to play for First Round Bye

But, when the Sioux Falls Storm come to Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night, it’s got the ramifications to be a major one.

“This is the second most important game in [franchise] history,” Wooten said. “We want to beat Sioux Falls this week so we can get that first round bye. At the end of the day, that bye is huge.”

The Iowa Barnstormers (11-1) will welcome Sioux Falls (10-2) this weekend in a game that will decide who has the rights to the No. 2 seed and final first round bye in the 2019 IFL Playoffs.

Because Sioux Falls took down Iowa in the teams’ first meeting, if the Storm beat Iowa and win next week against Bismarck, they will have the No. 2 seed no matter what.

It’s created a unique situation.

Saturday’s game is winner take all. The team that doesn’t win this one will have to play a play-in game before traveling to the home of who they lose to Saturday, in the second round.

“We’ve practiced hard,” Wooten said. “My guys have put in the work to be successful.”

This is the first game between the two teams at “The Well” since they faced off in the 2018 United Bowl.

Since then, Wooten has brought a young team to Des Moines and turned them into winners. Iowa’s 11-1 record would be the best in the league if Arizona hadn’t rattled off what looks to be a perfect season.

That’s part of why Wooten was nominated for the IFL Hall of Fame for the third straight year, earlier this week.

“We’re young,” Wooten said. “We can’t look down on teams a lot. We can only focus on what’s in front of us, and this week that’s Sioux Falls.”

The game will kick off at 7:00 p.m. from Wells Fargo Arena live on YouTube.

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