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Wild looking to bounce back tonight

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, April 1, 2011, at 12:08 a.m.

Last Friday, the Wichita Wild announced the acquisition of a much-needed experienced quarterback, Ben Sankey, an indoor football star who promptly jilted the team five days later.

In between, the Wild suffered the humiliation of a 72-point loss at home and dropped to an unexpected 0-3.

No one in the Indoor Football League organization is talking championship anymore. Instead, the team is simply trying to recover and regroup heading into tonight's game against West Texas (3-1) at Hartman Arena.

Coach Ken Matous is pleased with how his team reacted to the 92-20 loss to league power Sioux Falls.

"I've seen our football team practice as well as we've practiced all year," he said. "I think the kids got embarrassed by the Sioux Falls game and decided it's time to get tough, time to get focused."

The Sankey saga obviously didn't sit well with the Wild front office.

After Sankey, who had been traded from the Chicago Slaughter to the Wild, reneged on his decision to come to Wichita, general manager John Blazek responded with a verbal swipe: "I want players that have a passion to be here and be a part of a team."

For his part, Sankey tried to take the high road while explaining why he backed out. Last season's IFL offensive player of the year, Sankey wrote in a text that he respects the Wild organization and coaches but that he couldn't fully commit because of family matters, which would have required him to commute to and from Chicago.

"I got too much love for Wichita and did not want to sell them short of nothing but 100 percent," he said.

While Matous was uncertain of his exact plan, it appears that Brandon Walker, who usually plays receiver, and rookie Shane Mascarenas will again share time at QB.

Walker, who played some quarterback at Washburn, seemed to impress Matous the most last week. He was 5 of 11 for 23 yards and an interception, and he rushed seven times for 40 yards.

"He has the ability to scramble and move around and get loose," Matous said. "We can incorporate a lot of things to help Brandon shine."

The discovery of a run game would help either quarterback and keep an overworked defense off the field. The offensive line isn't opening any holes, and Darius Fudge is averaging only 24 yards a game.

"He's one of the premier players in this league and we're not using him enough," Matous said.

Notes — Wild receiver Clinton Solomon is nursing a sore ankle but expected to play.... The addition of Greg Nicks is expected to help the offensive line.... Matous said that former Kansas star Jake Sharp will get a few carries at running back this week and continue to return some kickoffs.... Former New York Jet Rashad Washington leads the Wild with 34 tackles. Marques Walton has 2.5 sacks.... West Texas is allowing 33 points a game, fifth best in the IFL. QB Arkelon Hall has thrown 14 TD passes, three interceptions.

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