Law hope to snap skid
Dodge City (1-2) vs. Salina Bombers (3-0); 6:30 p.m. Pregame; 7:05 p.m. Kickoff on 98.1 FM; z98mobile.com and tuneinradio app: KSKZ
Dodge City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-The Dodge City Law will attempt to end a two-game losing skid when they host the 3-0 Salina Bombers on Saturday night at United Wireless Arena in Dodge City.
Dodge City enters the game after losing consecutive games to the Oklahoma Defenders and the Wichita Wild.
Against Oklahoma, Dodge City’s defense struggled to make stops and force turnovers. In the second half of that game, Oklahoma was able to overcome a large half-time lead and leave the game with a victory.
However, the defense redeemed itself with a solid performance against Wichita.
Law Head Coach Sean Ponder said that prior to the Wichita game the coaching staff worked hard to make sure that the defensive players thoroughly understood the team’s defensive schemes and their respective responsibilities.
“After watching the tape from the Oklahoma game we knew there were a lot of areas that we needed to improve on defensively,” Ponder said. “The defense put in a lot of work and it paid off. They did everything we asked of them in the Wichita game and I am looking for them to do the same thing against Salina. It is really important that they consistently perform at the level they did against Wichita.”
The offense, after playing well against Oklahoma, struggled to get anything going last Saturday against Wichita. The offensive line gave up six sacks and allowed the Wichita defensive line to disrupt the Law’s offense.
Charles McCullum and Dennis Havrilla, the two Law quarterbacks who played against Wichita, combined for only 12 completions on 35-passing attempts. McCullum left the game early with a shoulder-stinger and Havrilla reported a high-ankle sprain after the game ended.
Ponder noted the importance of having the offensive line play at their best.
“The most important thing that we do is protect the quarterback,” Ponder said. “We have to give him plenty of time to allow the play to develop and keep him off his back. If McCullum and Havrilla have enough time back there they are capable of making good things happen.”
Over the past week, Ponder and offensive line coach Darrick Reaves have worked closely with the offensive line to help them improve in terms of pass protection and run blocking.
“Last week our passing game was lacking and we didn’t have much of a running game, either,” Ponder said. “When the guys up front are playing at their best it makes it so much easier for the quarterbacks to get their job done and for the running backs to start piling up yards on the ground. It is really important for us to have a strong passing game and running game in order to keep the defense guessing and on its toes.”
Saturday’s opponent, the Salina Bombers, made it all the way to last year’s CPIFL Championship game before losing to Wichita and they are undefeated this year.
“Salina has a really good offense that can score at any minute,” Ponder said. “We can’t go out there and play a so-so game. Their offense can make a team pay for its mistakes. We don’t want to give them that chance.”
The winner of Saturday’s game will receive the Wagon Wheel Trophy presented by the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce.
“This is our first chance to play against Salina and it would be great to start off with a win,” Ponder said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get a victory and keep the trophy here in Dodge.”