The Wild was held to a season-low 11 points but almost pulled off a comeback Saturday night in Salina, losing to the Bombers 13-11 at the Bicentennial Center.
Wichita is 6-2, Salina is 5-2. The Wild is tied for first in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League with Sioux City.
Wichita kicker Ernesto Lacayo missed five field-goal attempts while Salina kicker Michael Georgetti missed three.
Salina led 13-3 and had the ball at its 5-yard line with just under three minutes remaining following a DeWayne Autry interception. But three plays netted six yards and Wichita blocked Georgetti’s long field-goal attempt through the end zone for a safety, making it 13-5 with 1:25 left.
Georgetti’s ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving the Wild the ball at the 25 and quarterback Joe Kassanavoid scored from the 1 with 22 seconds left, narrowing the deficit to 13-11. Kassanavoid was playing in place of Wild starter Rocky Hinds, who was attending a tryout.
The Wild tried to tie the game with a two-point conversion attempt, but Kassanavoid was nearly sacked and forced to throw the ball away under pressure.
Wichita recovered the ensuing onside kick, but was offsides on the play. Lacayo then grazed the ball on the re-kick and Salina recovered at the Wild 2 with 15 seconds left to clinch it.
Hinds averages 142 passing yards and has 27 touchdown passes. His absence was pivotal. Kassanavoid, a wide receiver, was 10 of 20 for 64 yards and two interceptions as Wichita finished with 96 total yards. Kassanavoid did present some problems running the ball with his with his size — 6-foot-6, 225 pounds — and had a game-best 29 yards on 13 carries.
Salina rookie quarterback Robbie Nallenweg, making his second start, was 13 of 27 for 156 yards and the interception, but struggled the second half — 4 of 12 for 52 yards. Ricky Roberts caught five passes for 75 yards and Attrail Snipes four for 52.
Salina got on the board first on Georgetti’s 24-yd field goal with 2:01 left in the first quarter. The points came after Scales intercepted Kassanavoid and returned it to the 25.
Nallenweg hit Roberts on a deep crossing pattern and the former Kansas Wesleyan wide out did the rest on a 43-yard scoring play. Georgetti’s kick made it 10-0 with 13:05 left in the half.
Georgetti connected again, from 21 yards, with 4:01 left in the half to extend the Bombers’ lead to 13-0.
Lacayo missed three field goals the first half, from 35, 37 and 48 yards out.
S—Georgetti 24 FG, 2:01
S—Roberts 43 pass from Nallenweg (Georgetti kick), 13:05
S—Georgetti 21 FG, 4:01
W—Lacayo 17 FG, 8:28
W—Kassanavoid 1 run (pass failed), 0:22
Rushing – Wichita, Kassanavoid 13-29, Hubard 6-8, Allen 3-6. Salina, Valentine 9-15, Benning 6-15, Barfield 2-(-1), Team 2-(-13), Nallenweg 1-0.
Passing – Wichita, Kassanavoid 10-20-2-64. Salina, Nallenweg 13-27-1-156.
Receiving – Wichita, Johnson 5-33, Kelly 2-13, Love 1-9, Hubard 1-6, Kassanavoid 1-3. Salina, Roberts 5-75, Snipes 4-52, McClain 3-19, Lucas 1-10.