After two off weeks in the last three, the Wild’s final football game before the postseason appears to be only slightly more difficult than not playing.
Wichita hosts the 0-11 Mid-Missouri Outlaws, who have scored 75 fewer points that the second-least prolific offense in the CPIFL and also allowed more points than any other team.
That could create more rest for the Wild (9-2), which may rest some of its starters if it builds a significant early lead. Coach Morris Lolar, though, wants his players sharp going into the playoffs, where Wichita’s seed is to be determined.
“It’s a good thing,” Lolar said. ‘The bye week came at a good time. We didn’t like dropping that game against Sioux City (on May 25). “As far as our backups getting playing time, provided everything goes the way we would like it to go — usually it doesn’t work out that way — we’re going to try to get our starters a lot of reps, also.”
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Lolar said quarterback Rocky Hinds will play at least three quarters. Wichita’s roster doesn’t include a lot of backups because of limited spots available for Champions Professional Indoor Football League teams, but Lolar will look for rest for other starters.
Some coaches and teams prefer to enter the postseason with momentum built from several consecutive games leading to the playoffs. The Wild, though, is happy to conserve its collective energy for a four-team bracket that will create an urgent two weeks.
“I like them being rested,” Lolar said. “If we had a bye week, then I would probably be a little worried, but having a game (helps). Mid-Mo might be the dogs of the league right now, not that they can’t sneak up on you and bite you.
“I want those guys sharp and ready for whoever we play in the first round, whether it’s Sioux City or Omaha, and give them something to think about.”
Even with a playoff spot locked up, the Wild still has plenty to play for. Currently tied for second with Sioux City, one game behind Omaha, Wichita can earn the top seed with a win and an Omaha loss.
Sioux City holds the tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed, but Wichita couldn’t drop below No. 3, where it would be on the road for the first round.
Several Wild players are also chasing individual accomplishments. Hinds is among the league leaders in total offense; Tim Simmons is chasing the lead for receptions, Joe Kassanavoid for receiving touchdowns and Tywon Hubbard all-purpose yardage.
Kendrick Harper is one ahead in interceptions, and Matt Moss and James McCartney are battling each other for most sacks.
“We have some veteran guys that know we need to take care of business,” Lolar said. “You don’t want to go into the playoffs losing to a team like Mid-Mo. You want to make a statement, like we’re clicking on all cylinders and we’re coming to you next.”