It was the home opener for the Wichita Force, coming off a season opening loss to the defending champion Duke City Gladiators. The Force looked greatly improved in every facet of the game, but were no match for Robert Kent, Jr. and the Texas Revolution, who pulled out a 47-37 victory.
A week after yielding 76 points to the Gladiators, the Wichita Force defense looked much improved. They recorded their first turnover of the season, an interception by Marcus Carter that he returned for a touchdown, while sacking Kent three times. However, the defense struggled to get off the field in the first half, committing four penalties that resulted in first downs while allowing Texas to convert three of the five third-downs they faced.
The Force looked like they would they would stop the Revolution on their opening drive, but an illegal shift call on fourth and 4 negated a sack and a turnover on downs. Three plays later, after a roughing the passer penalty against Wichita, Kent found Clinton Simmons for a four yard touchdown to make it 7-0.
Texas would extend their lead to 14, thanks to another penalty. On second and 10 from their own five, a pass interference call gave the Revolution a fresh set of downs, and Kent would come through with his second touchdown pass of the game when he connected with LaDon Hudson for a 23 yard score.
Force quarterback Joe Hubener responded with a four yard touchdown strike to Adrian Palmore to cut the deficit to eight. The drive was set up by a 30 yard kickoff return from Zack Miller that placed the offense at the Revolution 22.
After Texas restored their 14 point lead, the Wichita Force added a field goal by Jordan Drake to make it 20-9. Drake added a last second 21 yard field goal at the end of the half as Texas led 27-12 going into the break.
Hubener had a solid first half for Wichita, going 9 or 10 for 69 yards and a touchdown, but turnovers would haunt the Force after the break. Wichita took the kickoff, moving to the Texas 13 before Scooter Rogers jumped in front of a Hubener pass for the interception. The defense would hold, putting the ball back into the hands of the offense, but a fumble at the Revolution three gave Texas back the ball.
After Texas extended their lead to 34-12, Hubener led Wichita to the 11, but his pass was intercepted by Frankie Solomon, Jr., the third turnover by the team in the third quarter. The team was in need of a big play, and Marcus Carter delivered. On the next play, the ball was slightly tipped at the line and Carter picked it off, then raced the 12 yards to the end zone to pull the Force to within 16.
After the Revolution scored, Hubener led an impressive seven play drive that included converting a fourth and a third down. The Force quarterback made it 40-25 with a perfect pass to Jack Tomlinson for the touchdown. On their next possession, Hubner found Tomlinson once again, this time for a 19 yard touchdown, Tomlinson’s third touchdown reception of the season.
The Wichita Force would add one more score. After the defense forced a turnover on downs at their own 13, Hubener moved his team to the 24. On second and 10, the Wichita quarterback completed a 19 yard pass to Torrey Gill as time expired. A roughing the passer call gave Wichita an extra play. Hubener then hit Tomlinson with his third touchdown of the game.
After tossing for 191 yards in Week 1, Hubener threw for 197 and 4 TDs. Tomlinson finished with five catches for 43 yards and the three scores. Gary Jolivet, Jr had 10 catches for 64 yards.
Carter seemed like he was in on every play, making 10 tackles while adding the interception. Michael Bell, Chaquil Reed, and Francis Tusa each had a sack.
Following the contest, the two head coaches expressed their satisfaction in how well the team had improved between Weeks 1 and 2. “I thought we settled down a lot,” explained Coach Jerry Taylor. “I thought our kids responded this week.”
We showed vast improvement from where we were last week,” added Coach Rick Lee. “If that continues, we are going to be a very solid football team. Our offense moved the ball better. Defensively we got some pressure on the quarterback. There was great improvement coming around and we just need to keep building off that.”
Coach Taylor was impressed with how the team continued to battle. “I am disappointed we didn’t get the win, but I am not disappointed in how hard we played. Hopefully the fans noticed that there is no quit in this team.”
The Wichita Force (0-2) look for their first win of the season when they travel to Oklahoma next week to take on the Flying Aces (0-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00. The next home contest for the Force will be April 27 against Oklahoma.
By Robert Pannier