Wichita Force

Wild hang on in thriller

Donta Moore, the Wichita Wild's always-intense safety, wasn't totally pleased with the hit. He must have been the only one.

In a game filled with momentum turning plays, Moore turned in one of the biggest late in the fourth quarter when his ferocious collision jarred the football loose from an Omaha Beef receiver, turning a certain first down into an incompletion.

The play, which helped the Wild gain extremely favorable field possession, was a turning point in Wichita's dramatic 56-50 victory in Hartman Arena.

Still, Moore was disappointed that his hit on O.J. Simpson, which came with the game knotted at 50, didn't do even more damage.

"Man, they ran the same play before, and I knew it was coming again, and I just told myself I ain't gonna let it happen," Moore said. "I just lined him up right down the middle.

"I didn't get to knock him down the way I wanted, but, hey, you saw the ball pop out of there, and that's all that matters at the end of the day."

Not surprisingly, Wild running back Darius Fudge put the finishing touches on the most exciting home win of the season with a five-yard touchdown run. The tireless Fudge has 13 rushing touchdowns, tops in the Indoor Football League.

On the game-winning TD, Fudge appeared to be stopped, but surrounded by linemen from both sides, he somehow found the end zone.

"They (Omaha) kept going for the ball, so I just kept driving," Fudge said. "I actually got turned around and back pedaled in."

Last week, the Wild upset league power Sioux Falls for perhaps the biggest win in franchise history. A hangover from that win lingered, coach Ken Matous said.

"When you have a big win like that, you have to get it behind you as soon as possible, and we tried every day," he said. "But I think they let some of that seep back in."

The result for the Wild was too many mental mistakes, too many penalties (nine) and a rather ugly win. Matous made no apologies, though, as the Wild improved to 5-1.

"Hey, you gotta win some games like that," he said. "It was a typical arena football game."

Omaha0 28 6 16 — 50 Wild13 16 13 14 — 56

W—Payne pass from Wooten (Pohlman kick)

W—Solomon 7 pass from Wooten (kick failed)

O—McCardle 7 pass from Sankey (kick failed)

O—Wilson 2 run (kick failed)

W—Kelly 49 kickoff return (kick failed)

O—Wilson 1 run (Rollins run)

W—Solomon 30 pass from Wooten (Pohlman kick)

O—Rollins 10 pass from Sankey (Wilson run)

W—Pohlman 19 FG

W—Solomon 5 pass from Wooten (kick failed)

O—McArdle 7 pass from Stankey (run failed)

W—Fudge 14 run (Pohlman kick)

O—McArdle 9 pass from Sankey (McArdle pass from Sankey

W—Fudge 2 run (Pohlman kick)

W—rouge; Omaha fails to get ball out of end zone on kickoff

O—Simpson 41 pass from Sankey (McArdle pass from Sankey)

W—Fudge 5 run (pass failed)

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Omaha, Rollins 7-31, Wilson 3-4, Simpson 1-1. Wichita, Fudge 14-65, Wooten 5-44.

Passing—Omaha, Sankey 24-40-1-192. Wichita, Wooten 11-22-2-150.

Receiving—Omaha, Simpson 11-90, McArdle 4-35, Rollins 4-18, Jones 1-20, Bell 1-18, Sankey 1-5, Capers 1-4, Peterson 1-2. Wichita, Solomon 7-86, Payne 4-64.