The Wichita Wild (6-1) and the Omaha Beef (4-1) entered Saturday night battling for first place in the CPIFL, with Wichita earning a 29-17 victory over Omaha to clinch the spot atop the CPIFL standings. Quarterback Rocky Hinds led the Wild to a win with an outstanding performance on the night including three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.
The Beef started the opening drive on the Omaha five yard line, courtesy of a touchback by Wild kicker Alex Fambrough. The Beef, however, overcame the poor field position to drive deep into Wild territory, but Wild defensive back Dan Kontz ended their drive with an interception. The Wild offense capitalized on the turnover as Hinds finished off the drive with a two yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tim Simmons, putting them in the lead 7-0. Omaha struck back quickly with a 14 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chuck Wright to wide receiver Jusmon Rivers to tie the game. Wichita was able to extend their lead again with completion of a long drive concluding with a four yard touchdown pass from Hinds to wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid. After a missed extra point by Fambrough, the Wild led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with an Omaha drive stalling as defensive lineman James McCartney produced his first sack of the game, holding the Beef to a 36 yard field goal that trimmed Wichita’s lead to three, 13-10. Wichita countered with a field goal of their own, a 21 yarder by Fambrough to push the lead back to six, 16-10, but another quick drive by the Beef, finalized with a two yard touchdown run, would steal Wichita’s lead, 17-16. After Wichita’s next drive ended with a missed field goal by Fambrough from 20 yards out, the Beef attempted to convert once more before the end of the first half, but Wild defensive back Chris Hemphill halted their progress with Wichita’s second interception on the night to leave the Beef with a one point a 17-16 lead at the half.
The second half began with a huge kick-off return for the Wild by Simmons, whose shifty moves helped him run the ball 29 yards to put Wichita in scoring position. The Wild drove all the way down to the Omaha six yard line, but a costly sack on third down held Wichita to a 43 yard field goal by Fambrough, putting the Wild back ahead 19-17. The Beef attempted to reclaim the lead with a field goal, but Omaha kicker Mike Stillmock’s attempt would bounce off the upright. Wichita then began to pull away from the Beef with Fambrough’s third successful field goal of the night and a 22-17 lead. Just before the end of the third quarter, long pass attempt by Omaha to the endzone would be intercepted by defensive back Kendrick Harper crushing any chance of a score.
Wichita continued to create scoring attempts in the final quarter, but would not be able to convert on a field goal that would have pushed their advantage over the Beef. The solid defending by Wichita continued with the Wild pinning the Beef deep in Omaha territory leading to a three and out and a Wild touchdown courtesy of a one yard run by Hinds for a 29-17 lead. After another empty possession for Omaha, running back Tywon Hubbard received the kick and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, but a block in the back penalty brought the ball back to the Wichita four yard line. The game came to an end when Matt Moss sacked Wright in the endzone, forcing a fumble and a Wild recovery on the Beef three yard line, clinching a 29-17 Wichita victory over Omaha.
The Wild hit the road next week, traveling to Sedalia, Missouri to take on the last placed Mid-Missouri Outlaws; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST). The game can be heard on 1410 AM KGSO in the Wichita area or streamed live on kgso.com. Wichita will return home on May 4th, hosting the Oklahoma Defenders. Tickets start at $5 in the Sport Clips GA Zone and can be purchased by calling (316) 927-3999. For more news and tickets visit www.wichitawildfootball.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter (@wichita_wild).