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Complete Wild begins CPIFL playoff surge

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, June 13, 2014, at 3:35 p.m.

Photos

Dodge City at Wild

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

What: CPIFL playoff semifinals

Where: Hartman Arena, Park City

Radio: KGSO, 1410-AM

The Wild’s ability to delegate helped quarterback Rocky Hinds win the Champions Professional Indoor Football League MVP award.

Hinds, even as a mobile quarterback, doesn’t have to worry about using his own tools to avoid sacks, because he plays behind a persistent offensive line that allowed defenses to get to Hinds a league-least12 times.

Hinds doesn’t have to worry about making the Wild an offensive juggernaut, even though Wichita finished third in the CPIFL in scoring offense at nearly 51 points per game. Wichita’s defense produced nine touchdowns, and no team got as many points from its kicker as the Wild got from Ernesto Lacayo.

There wasn’t a need for Hinds to do all the playmaking, either. His completion percentage was down slightly from 2013, but receivers such as Joe Kassanavoid and Jerrel Kelly, who combined for 27 touchdowns, have allowed Hinds to throw the fewest interceptions – six – among CPIFL quarterbacks.

The Wild also has one of the league’s top rushing attacks in Tywon Hubbard and Junior Allen. Wichita will use those weapons, Hinds included, to begin defense of its CPIFL championship as it hosts Dodge City in the first round of the playoffs Saturday night at Hartman Arena.

“The offensive line, they do a great job,” Hinds said. “Also, this being my second year in this offense, I’m a little more comfortable knowing what’s going on, so I go through my reads faster and I know what’s going on better. I think everything kind of complements (everything else).”

Hinds missed one game due to injury, but even taking that into account, most of his statistics have regressed nominally this year. Hinds still finished among the leaders in many categories, including total offense and passing efficiency, but the Wild’s balance never created major urgency for the quarterback to do it all.

Wichita was often comfortable kicking field goals instead of going for it on fourth down deep in the opposition’s territory because the defense often canceled out the difference between three and seven points.

The Wild led the league in defensive touchdowns and was second in sacks, and Wichita’s average margin of victory was 20 points. It rarely needed late-game production from Hinds or anyone else.

“I didn’t really expect my numbers to necessarily be down,” Hinds said. “I just knew, at the beginning of the year, that teams were going to be a lot better. The league is a lot better than it was last year.

“I think I needed to be more of a leader. This year, with it being Paco (Martinez)’s first year as coach, I just needed to help a little bit more as far as a leadership role or being a little more assertive on the field.”

Hinds’ leadership included an understanding of his strengths and those of the Wild, which enters the playoffs on a four-game winning streak behind their MVP.

“I think it’s more of a bigger accomplishment for the whole team, especially the offense,” Hinds said of his award. “The offensive line did a great job protecting, the receivers did a great job catching, and Tywon also does a great job out there. More than for an individual, I think it’s for the entire offense as a unit.”

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