The Wichita Force needed everything Clarence Anderson had in the first half of Friday night’s 59-42 win over the Omaha Beef at Intrust Bank Arena, including a mad dash to the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown as time expired in the second quarter.
Running back Tywon Hubbard had everything else covered.
“Just an awesome night to be out there playing football,” Hubbard said. “We knew at the beginning of the year that Clarence was going to be an asset, and you’re starting to see that now.”
“That’s a good one-two punch,” Anderson said. “But it’s not just us. It’s the offensive line playing great and special teams setting things up for big plays.”
The Force won its fourth straight and improved to 5-1 with the win. They also grabbed a big dose of momentum headed into a three-game road stretch at Texas, Salina and Sioux City. Hubbard, a Butler Community College product, scored four of his five touchdowns in the second half.
“First half, I wasn’t happy with the defense or the offense and we got lucky with the two special teams touchdowns,” Force coach Paco Martinez said. “Two terrible turnovers … a pick and fumble in a close one and that could cost you the game. And our defense gave up 21 points, which is unacceptable.
“In the second half we turned it around. We just need to find the combination to make that team that showed up in the second half the one that’s there for the whole game.”
Anderson put the Force on his shoulders in the first half with a pair of highlight-reel touchdowns on missed field goal returns.
The first saw the former Wichita Southeast star and three-time NAIA All-American at Ottawa catch the ball in the back of the Beef’s end zone and zig-zag all over the field for a 57-yard score and a 14-7 lead with 6:36 left in the first quarter.
On the second touchdown, Anderson snagged the ball over the wall in the back of the end zone, made one cut toward the Force’s sideline and outran Omaha’s team as the buzzer sounded for a 27-21 lead at halftime.
“Usually we have Kendrick Harper do that, but (Martinez) took a chance on me and I’ve been jawing at Kendrick all season to let me get back there,” said Anderson, who finished with 226 all-purpose yards. “Most teams have offensive linemen out there for their field-goal units, so that seemed like a good opportunity for me to use my speed and go score some touchdowns.”
The Force leaned on Hubbard in the second half as he scored two rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. Wichita held Omaha (1-5) scoreless in the fourth quarter.
“First half, we let them play with us,” Wichita defensive lineman Matt Moss said. “Second half, we dominated. We just locked down and told each other we weren’t going to let (Omaha) beat us at home.”
W—Watkins 12 pass from Jech (Lacayo kick)
O—Rush 1 run (Adolf kick)
W—Anderson 57 missed FG return (Lacayo kick)
O—Houghton 10 run (Adolf kick)
W—Hubbard 5 run (Lacayo kick)
O—Houghton 1 run (Adolf kick)
W—Anderson 59 missed FG return (kick failed)
O—Boro 17 pass from Houghton (Adolf kick)
W—Hubbard 9 pass from Jech (Lacayo kick)
O—Houghton 4 run (Adolf kick)
W—Hubbard 9 run (Lacayo kick)
W—Kassanavoid 1 run (kick failed)
O—Patterson 8 run (Adolf kick)
W—Hubbard 6 pass from Jech (kick failed)
W—Hubbard 4 run (kick failed)
Rushing—Omaha, Houhgton 11-63, Daniels 6-53. Wichita, Hubbard 13-61, Anderson 3-17.
Passing—Omaha, Houghton 10-25-102-1. Wichita, Jech 14-20-11-1.
Receiving—Omaha, Boro 3-42, Kinnie 3-26, Rich 2-4, Daniels 1-24, Rush 1-6. Wichita, Anderson 6-40, Murph 3-26, Hubbard 2-16, Watkins 1-12, Kassanavoid 1-9, Soft 1-9.