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Beef stay in the playoff hunt, go 2-0 to finish homestand

Omaha Beef / Chicago Eagles

It wasn’t always pretty but they got the job done. The Omaha Beef (6-4) enter the final two weeks of the regular season with their playoff aspirations still very much alive.  With wins over the Chicago Eagles (3-8) and Salina Liberty (2-9), the Beef managed to right the ship after a gut-wrenching last minute loss in their match-up with the Bloomington Edge (5-5).

Omaha squeaked by Chicago 43-42 in OT, led by the play of quarterback Brandon Steed and wide receiver Jonathan Ray. Ray had 127 all-purpose yards and 1 touchdown reception. Steed completed 15 passes on 27 attempts for 225 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and also added in 57 rushing yards.

Brandon Kinnie and Jeremiah Oates also pitched in 4 receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown and 3 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown respectively.

The play of the game though came from defensive lineman Kewan Alfred, as he clinched Omaha’s win in emphatic fashion. Alfred ended the game with a walk off block of Julie Harshbarger’s PAT in overtime. Alfred has made his presence felt consistently through this season as he is second in the league in both sacks with 7.5, and tackles for loss with 17; he trails only teammate Devon Bridges in both categories.

After the nail-biting win over Chicago, Head Coach Cory Ross had his team firing on all cylinders for their 35-18 victory over Salina. Fueled by the dynamic performance of quarterback Joshua Floyd Jr. the Beef were rolling in front of their raucous home crowd.

Floyd, who completed about 50% of his passes (10/21) for 150 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, had a key play in the 4th quarter as his hard count drew a Salina defensive end offside. Floyd recognized the opportunity for the free play and threw a 32 yard jump ball to Jeremiah Oates who fought off tight coverage for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

Jeff Mack had a big game contributing 72 all-purpose yards, as did Kayne Farquharson hauling in 3 receptions for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns. With his 2 scores on Friday, Farquharson moves into a tie for 3rd in the league with 17 receiving touchdowns.

As it stands the Beef currently sit third in the Northern division, behind the Wichita Force (8-2) and Sioux City Bandits (7-3). The new CIF Playoff format for the 2016 season has three teams from each division getting postseason berths. The first place team in each division will receive a bye for the weekend of June 10th, while the second place team in each division will host the third place team.

While the Beef can no longer win the division, they could still hurdle Sioux City by winning out and hoping Sioux City stumbles down the stretch; Omaha hasn’t hosted a playoff game since 2013.

With a home playoff game at stake the Omaha Beef look ready for their fourth bout with the Chicago Eagles on Saturday May 28th; on the season the Beef hold the series edge 2-1, outscoring the Eagles 141-124. To get a win and keep pace in the division Omaha will have to play with the same tenacity and grit they did during their 4-1 homestand.

With this week being an away game, tune in and support your Beef by following the live-stream on the Omaha Beef Football website or join the viewing party at Regency Lodge, located at 909 S 107th Ave.

#PlayoffPush2016 #OrangeIsTheNewBlack

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