PARK CITY — The Wichita Wild reclaimed the drivers seat for the CPIFL playoff, gaining home field advantage with a 63-41 victory Saturday night at Hartman Arena.
The Wild (10-2) rode the kicking of Ernesto Lacayo to put itself in position for its second consecutive championship.
That quest will begin next Saturday, when the Wild will be home against fourth-seeded Dodge City (8-4). Salina (8-4), the third seed, will play at No. 2 Sioux City (9-3) in its playoff opener.
Lacayo missed his first extra point after the Wild took a 6-0 lead just 3:24 into the game.
Oh well, nobodys perfect.
But from then on, Lacayo found perfection, including a 55-yard field goal that closed the first half and gave the Wild a 25-14 halftime lead.
In the second half, both offenses started clicking, but the Wild always seemed to have an answer every time the Bombers would score.
Quarterback Rocky Hinds engineered 12 scoring drives, including five in the fourth quarter.
Running back Tywon Hubbard scored three touchdowns for the Wild, including Wichitas final two in the fourth quarter to repel any hopes of a Salina comeback.
Coach Paco Martinez turned to Lacayo four times in the second quarter when Wichita drives stalled.
Lacayo hit field goals each time, including the long one just before halftime and kicks of 38, 19 and 21 yards.
That helped soothe the frustration of missing the first extra point.
Thats the one thats always the most nerve-racking, the first kick whether its an extra point or field goal, he said. After each kick, I just forget about them, so each ones a new one.
Lacayo said he had kicked field goals for other indoor teams, but the 55-yarder is a record.
Longest field goal of my career in indoor, so far, he said.
He said he has adapted well to Wichita.
I love that they let me do what I want to do, as far as working on my craft, he said. Im very comfortable.
His teammates were also happy for Lacayos big game.
Oh man, that dude is a champion, Hubbard said. All week he practiced hard, and he would be nailing everything all the time.
I havent seen anyone do that well since two years ago, when someone nailed a 62-yarder.
Hubbard said hes ready for the playoffs.
This is the championship run, and thats what were trying to do, work as a team to get there, and thats what we accomplished (Saturday) night.