PARK CITY — Name the football-related sin, and the Wichita Wild committed it Saturday night at Hartman Arena.
Blocked field goals, dropped balls, missed receivers, no pass protection, porous defense — it all added up to a 43-34 loss to the Sioux Falls Storm.
And even at that, the Wild still had a chance late, trailing 43-34 before Dylan Pohlman missed a 39-yard field goal with 3:17 left in the fourth quarter.
"You learn more about your team after the first loss than you do after the first or second win," Wild coach Ken Matous said. "And if you're going to lose, I'd rather it happen now where we have to time to zero in and correct our mistakes."
Sioux Falls scored on its first drive as Terrance Bryant hit Butler Community College and Kansas State product James Terry for a 7-yard touchdown pass, but Wichita answered right back on the next possession as Dixie Wooten found Hurtiss Chinn for a 17-yard score.
Wichita hit a rough patch at the end of the first quarter and most of the second as Brian McIntire intercepted Wooten in the end zone on fourth and goal, then on Wichita's next possession the Storm blocked Pohlman's field-goal attempt in the end zone for a safety and 16-7 lead.
Rob Zarrilli's 23-yard field goal gave Sioux Falls a 19-7 lead with 5:14 to play in the first half.
"I feel like we were lucky to get ahead because I don't think we were playing that well," said Terry, who finished with 48 receiving yards and two touchdowns. "They made some mistakes and we were able to capitalize."
Wichita avoided digging itself a deeper hole with back-to-back touchdown drives, capped by scores from Clinton Solomon on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wooten and a 5-yard touchdown run by Darius Fudge that cut the Storm's lead to 25-20. Wichita's Randy Kelly intercepted Bryant in the end zone on first and goal with six seconds left before halftime to keep the Wild within striking distance going into the break.
"We showed we can play with them, the ball just bounced the wrong way a couple of times," Kelly said. "We'll be all right."
Wichita took its only lead early in the third quarter after a 3-yard touchdown run by Wooten put the Wild up 27-25. Wichita recovered an onside kick after the score, but the drive ended in a safety after an errant snap flew out of the back of the end zone on another field-goal attempt.
Terry's second touchdown came on the next possession, and Wooten followed that with a fumble and an interception. Sioux Falls final score came on a two-yard run by quarterback Terrance Bryant with 10:11 left. Wooten finished with 105 yards passing and three turnovers.
"Take away those safeties, they hit us for some long balls... and we didn't protect the passer at all," Matous said. "Sioux Falls is one of the premiere teams in the whole league and it showed tonight."
Notes — There was a large contingent of Kansas State and Butler fans that came out for Terry, and he was greeted outside the Sioux Falls locker room by longtime Butler defensive coordinator Steve Braet after the game.
Sioux Falls (2-0) 14 11 11 7 — 43 Wichita (1-1) 7 13 7 7 — 34
SF—Terry 7 pass from Bryant (Zarrilli kick)
W—Chinn 17 pass from Wooten (Pohlman kick)
SF—Treasure 4 pass from Bryant (Zarrilli kick)
SF—Safety, blocked FG in end zone
SF—Zarrilli 23 FG
W—Solomon 15 pass from Wooten (Pohlman kick)
SF—Hovorka 42 pass from Bryant (kick failed)
W—Fudge 5 run (kick failed)
W—Wooten 3 run (Pohlman kick)
SF—Safety, bad snap on FG attempt
SF—Terry 7 pass from Bryant (kick failed)
SF—Zarrilli 42 FG
W—Fudge 1 run (Pohlman kick)
SF—Bryant 2 run (Zarrilli kick)
Rushing—Sioux Falls, Treasure 14-43, Brown 1-(-3), Bryant 4-(-4). Wichita, Fudge 11-39, Wooten 6-14, Chinn 2-11, Pohlman 2-(-7).
Passing—Sioux Falls, Bryant 17-24-190-1. Wichita, Wooten 16-25-105-2.
Receiving—Sioux Falls, Terry 6-48, Hovorka 4-93, Jones 4-28, Treaure 2-10. Wichita, Solomon 8-48, Chinn 4-31, Payne 3-21, Fudge 1-5.