Wichita Force

Defense delivers first win for Wild

PARK CITY — Several well-wishers congratulated new Wild coach Morris Lolar after he guided Wichita's indoor football team to its first win of the season and the first victory of his Wild career.

But after Wichita's 56-32 win over Amarillo Saturday night at Hartman Arena, Lolar talked about separating his personal achievement with attempting to get the Wild on the right track after an 0-5 start.

Keeping the game ball had to be pretty nice, though.

"It's not my victory," Lolar said. "I could care less what I do. It's all about the team and these guys, and they fought hard."

Lolar, a former Wild assistant, replaced Ken Matous this week. Matous was fired after a dreadful start in a season that began with championship aspirations.

A win over winless Amarillo doesn't indicate that a third straight trip to the Indoor Football League playoffs is coming, but it's a start, and Saturday's win gave the Wild plenty of reason to hope.

The hope came mostly from the defense, which struggled to stop an average Venom offense before holding Amarillo to six points in the final 31 minutes.

"It's just making adjustments, allowing the guys to see something," Lolar said. "Somebody comes up and slaps you in the face every time you see him, sooner or later you're going to figure out, 'When I see him, he's going to slap me in the face', so you're going to protect yourself."

Lolar might not have had his good start if the Wild didn't have a momentum-building one of their own on Saturday.

Jake Sharp, who hadn't yet found his niche in Wichita's offense, returned the opening kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown. Sharp totaled 166 yards on four kickoff returns and helped set up Wichita scores with two other long run-backs.

"I knew that was going to pop sooner or later," Lolar said. "He almost had two other ones. We set up the return in practice and it was a solid return, and we had the right guy back there to hit it."

The teams traded scores until it appeared Amarillo would take control in the second quarter, when it led 26-24 before Cashmin Thomas intercepted Shane Mascarenas.

But Wichita's Kendrick Harper notched an interception on the next play, leading to a touchdown that put the Wild ahead 31-26. They wouldn't trail again.

"Anytime you change momentum like that... they had to think momentum was on their side, but our defense stepped up and gave it back to us," Wild receiver Clinton Solomon said. "To get momentum like that, it's kind of easy to go in and score, because we just got a pick and the offense felt like we needed to score."

Solmon's first four catches all went for touchdowns, as he established a rhythm with Mascarenas and caught six passes for 83 yards. Solomon caught Wichita's final go-ahead touchdowns, then two more before halftime to put Wichita ahead 43-26.

"Coach Lolar's first game, we wanted to get him a win," Solomon said. "We did the best we could and we fought as a team. It's a new beginning and we've got to start over. We feel like we're 1-0 right now."

Amarillo13 13 6 0 — 32 Wichita21 22 0 13 — 56

W—Sharp 55 kickoff return (Pohlman kick)

A—Carcich 1 run (McCauley kick)

W—Solomon 10 pass from Mascarenas (Pohlman kick)

A—Bergeski 29 pass from Carcich (kick failed)

W—Mascarenas 17 run (Pohlman kick)

A—Flagler 5 pass from Carcich kick failed)

W—Pohlman 18 FG

A—Thomas 59 field goal return (McCauley kick) W—Solomon 36 pass from Mascarenas (Pohlman kick)

W—Solomon 6 pass from Mascarenas (kick failed)

W—Solomon 9 pass from Mascarenas (kick failed)

A—Carcich 3 run (kick failed)

W—Fudge 8 pass from Walker (kick failed)

W—Walker 11 run (Pohlman kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Amarillo, Carcich 11-59, Ivory 3-3, Bloodsaw 1-(-4); Wichita, Mascarenas 2-24, Walker 5-8, Murph 1-0, Fudge 7-(-7).

Passing—Amarillo, Carcich 17-35-3-146, Bloodsaw 1-2-0-8; Wichita, Mascarenas 8-18-1-121, Walker 4-5-0-37.

Receiving—Amarillo, Flagler 10-78, Bergeski 6-62, Roberson 1-13, Ivory 1-1; Wichita, Solomon 6-83, Murph 2-38, Fudge 2-20, Sharp 1-10, Hyde 1-7.