The Wichita Wild has struggled with winning this season, losing its first four games and falling to last place in its conference.
The losing, at least, stopped Saturday when the Wild defeated the New Mexico Stars 31-24.
The Wild’s first win was far from pretty, though, mainly because neither team scored a touchdown until the fourth quarter, and no points were scored in the first and third quarters — a rarity in the high-scoring world of indoor football.
James Chandler kept the Wild on the scoreboard with three field goals in the second quarter. A safety in the second quarter gave Wichita an 11-3 halftime lead.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to put it through and to help my teammates out,” Chandler said. “…because I’ve got the easy job, they’ve got the hard job.”
The Wild played without starting quarterback Phil Staback, who is out for an MCL sprain. Marcus Jackson stepped in at quarterback.
“It feels great. The team, the coaches, the organization from top to bottom, they all said they had the utmost confidence in my abilities,” Jackson said.
Jackson, who backed up Andy Dalton at TCU, threw for 129 yards and one touchdown and rushed for another touchdown. He also didn’t throw any interceptions.
“It’s tough but you make due with what you have and you try to prepare the guys that are out there to play,” Wild coach Morris Lolar said. “Hopefully we can use this as a learning step for Marcus (Jackson) and next game he can be a lot stronger.”
The low-scoring game was frustrating for Lolar, who felt his team’s play on defense helped keep the score down.
“Defensively we played well for the most part. Offensively we did some things that were good and other things that were bad,” Lolar said. “It’s frustrating because you know you’re just one play away from breaking it open, either side. But fortunately we had a couple of big plays that allowed us to win the game.”
Wichita’s first win puts the Wild at 1-4 heading into next Saturday’s game at Omaha .
“I hope that we use this as a springboard and get on the road,” Lolar said. “I know we made a lot of mistakes, they’re things that are correctable though.”
W—Chandler 28 field goal
NM—Arevalo 20 field goal
W—Chandler 19 field goal
W—Safety Hall sacked
W—Chandler 26 field goal
W—Jackson 5 run (Chandler kick)
W—Hubbard 19 run (kick failed)
NM—Bruno 7 pass from Hall (kick failed)
W—Riffel 4 pass from Jackson (Chandler kick)
NM—Marshall 2 run (Bruno pass from Hall)
NM—Taylor 7 pass from Hall (Arevalo kick)
Rushing—New Mexico, Marshall 6-7, Hall 7-0. Wichita, Hubbard 12-65, Jackson 7-2.
Passing—New Mexico, Hall 15-22-0-166. Wichita, Jackson 15-31-0-129.
Receiving—New Mexico, Taylor 3-63, Bush 4-43, Marshall 5-39, Bruno 3-21. Wichita, Simmons 5-48, Rhodes 2-23, Young 2-21, Hubbard 2-17, Pierce 3-15, Jackson 1-5.