Looking back to last season, Morris Lolar recalls a very different opening four games. The Wichita Wild started last season 0-4. With its 51-22 win over Bloomington Saturday, the Wild is 4-0.
“It’s the maturity level. We have a real good group of our core guys that can kind of lead the young guys into the style of coaching that we want, and this game, it’s a different game. That’s probably the biggest difference from last year,” Lolar said.
Maturity is not a hurdle this season. Now the players have completely bought into the coaching system, and the benefit is obvious.
“Paco Martinez and Jeff McFarland are doing a great job with the offense, and then you get a veteran quarterback in here with Rocky Hinds and you’re going to be able to toss the ball around and make good decisions,” Lolar said. “That’s basically it, these guys are starting to gel together.”
Wichita’s offense scored quicly Saturday with a touchdown 2:04 into the first quarter, but Bloomington answered 3:33 later. Wichita scored two more touchdowns and recovered a fumble to finish the first quarter with a 20-6 lead.
Each team added one more touchdown in the second quarter, and Wichita led Bloomington 26-14 at halftime.
“We went into halftime today up 12, the guys knew that this game shouldn’t be this close,” Lolar said. “It’s not to say anything about Bloomington, but we know that we did not play up to the level that we can play. Coming out in the second half they were strapped and focused, and they got it done the way that we wanted to get it done.”
The Wild opened the quarter forcing a turnover on downs from Bloomington, then added two touchdowns, a safety, and one more touchdown while holding the Edge scoreless.
“We felt very confident coming into this game,” Hemphill said. “We watched a lot of film, we prepared for this team, so we were ready to stop them.”
Wichita played its bench for the entire fourth quarter, allowing one more Bloomington touchdown, while adding a field goal for the Wild.
Wichita quarterback Rocky Hinds passed for four touchdowns, each to a different receiver. Hinds added two running touchdowns for the Wild.
“We see the best defense every day in practice,” Hinds said. “We put together a great team, we’re just working together to make our goals now.”
W—Simmons 6 pass from Hinds (Fambrough kick)
B—Raymond 1 run (two-point conversion failed)
W—Hemphill 2 pass from Hinds (kick failed)
W—Hinds 1 run (Fambrough kick)
W—Hinds 2 run (kick failed)
B—Macon 17 run (Brown pass to Bell)
W—Hubbard 14 run (Fambrough kick)
W—Kassanavoid 11 pass from Hinds (Fambrough kick)
W— Moss safety
W—Murph 13 pass from Hinds (kick failed)
W—Fambrough 17 field goal
B—Minehan 10 pass from Brown (Brown pass to Tillery)
Rushing— Bloomington, Raymond 9-27, Macon 1-17, Banks 3-0, Brown 4-(-4). Wichita, Hubbard 11-39, Hinds 4-25, Ribbing 4-5, Hardesty 1-0.
Passing— Bloomington, Brown 13-26-1-121. Wichita, Hinds 9-14-1-86, Hardesty 0-2-0-0.
Receiving— Bloomington, Minehan 3-34, Tillery 3-31, Macon 3-30, Raymond 2-16, Bell 1-8, Banks 1-2. Wichita, Simmons 4-36, Kassanavoid 2-26, Murph 2-22, Hemphill 1-2.