Clarence Anderson’s first-quarter receiving touchdown was the highlight for the Force’s offense on Saturday night – and the high point.
Anderson’s acrobatic one-handed grab as he crashed into the back wall that borders the end zone gave Wichita its only lead of the night, but the Force couldn’t build on it.
Sioux City scored the next 24 points before halftime as Wichita quarterback Emmanuel Taylor became inconsistent, and Sioux City took an important 55-45 win at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Force (7-4) missed a chance to earn home-field advantage for the Champions Indoor Football playoff, losing to Sioux City for the second time in three meetings this season. Wichita tries to solidify its playoff position in next week’s regular-season finale at Omaha.
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“We do this every time we play them,” Force coach Paco Martinez said. “We just give them 21-point leads and we think that’s fair. That’s too much to come back from. We were a little bit undisciplined, but they took us out of our game plan.”
Anderson’s touchdown, his first of three on Saturday, was a 27-yarder that Taylor lofted toward the back-center of the end zone and let Anderson corral. It put the Force ahead 13-10 with eight seconds to go in the first quarter and seemed to signify that Wichita’s offense was clicking.
The touchdown to Anderson was Taylor’s sixth completion in seven attempts, a ratio he never approached again, completing three straight passes once in his final 42 throws.
Five of Taylor’s seven attempts following Anderson’s touchdown were incomplete, and that was the opening Sioux City needed to take control.
Sioux City (7-3) scored on five straight drives. The Force, meanwhile, had seven penalties in the first half, three missed field goals and a missed extra point. Wichita had two total first downs on its final three drives of the half.
“I think we got a little complacent,” Anderson said. “I think we lost that hunger we had coming into the game. We kind of relaxed. We tend to do that every now and then. We’ll get up or we’ll get the momentum and we tend to relax. We’ve got to stay hungry.”
While Wichita turned one-dimensional offensively because of its deficit, Sioux City became balanced and creative to build its lead. Quarterback Charles Dowdell completed 11 of his first 12 passes, but was hardly going it alone.
Sioux City offered a deep and versatile running attack. Six players had at least one carry, and they combined for more than 100 yards on reverses, double reverses and other misdirection plays.
Dowdell had 10 passing yards in the second half but Sioux City held off the Force with its balance.
“Those are things that we worked on,” Martinez said. “I can’t say that they ran anything that we didn’t practice this week, it was just that we weren’t disciplined enough. And that goes for offense as well. We knew what their defense was going to do, they didn’t surprise us with anything. They just executed better than we did.”
SC—Bruno 4 pass from Dowdell (Martin kick)
W—Hubbard 7 pass from Taylor (kick failed)
SC—Martin 22 FG
W—Anderson 27 pass from Taylor (Frazell kick)
SC—Downs 5 run (Martin kick)
SC—Bentley 1 run (Martin kick)
SC—Bruno 5 pass from Dowdell (Martin kick)
SC—Martin 24 FG
W—Frazell 24 FG
W—Murph 6 pass from Taylor (Frazell kick)
SC—Downs 15 run (Martin kick)
W—Soft 18 pass from Taylor (Frazell kick)
W—Frazell 55 FG
SC—Mothershead 5 run (Martin kick)
W—Anderson 2 pass from Taylor (kick failed)
SC—Downs 9 pass from Dowdell (Martin kick)
W—Anderson 49 kickoff return (pass failed)
Rushing—Sioux City, Dowdell 8-30, Bruno 6-27, Downs 3-21, Bentley 5-20, Mothershead 1-5, Prohaska 3-(-1); Wichita, Hubbard 3-10, Taylor 4-10.
Passing—Sioux City, 13-21-152-0 INT; Wichita, Taylor 24-49-227-0.
Receiving—Sioux City, Downs 5-82, Mothershead 5-56, Bruno 2-9, Bentley 1-5; Wichita, Murph 11-97, Anderson 6-68, Soft 5-50, Hubbard 1-7, Milo 1-5.