February 22, 2024

Layin down the Law; Dodge City wins first ever game


Final Highlights: DC Law vs. Omaha Beef

Omaha, Neb (westernkansasnews.com)-In the normal sense, expansion teams aren’t this good this early. But apparently the Dodge City Law are the exception to the rule. 

Southwest Kansas’s newest indoor professional football team rocked the boat on Sunday afternoon, racking up 303 total yards on their way to a 61-35 opening-week win over the Omaha Beef in front of a raucous crowd at Ralston Arena. 

“It was pretty good for a first game,” Head Coach Sean Ponder said after the game. “We came out like a lightning rod.”

And it was like both Ponder and owner Ricky Bertz knew something was going to happen. It was early Sunday morning in the hotel lobby that both had a steady confidence about them, and it showed on the field. 

It took the Law (1-0) just two plays on the opening drive to show the rest of the league just how potent their offense can be. D.D. Hollyfield’s 27-yard return on the opening kickoff set Dodge City up at the Omaha (0-1) 23-yard line. Just moments later, Hollyfield would score the franchise’s first touchdown on a 14-yard scamper to pay dirt. Dalton Burkhard’s extra point gave Dodge City a 7-0 lead with 13:54 to play in the first quarter. 

Two minutes later, the Law was back in the end zone-this time on the back of a 45-yard missile from Charles McCollum to Brandon Venson. The former Chicago Bears tight end, who finished the day with three catches for 69 yards and two scores, made the catch in stride and coasted into the end zone making it 14-0. 

That lead would swell to three touchdowns when McCollum hooked up with Maurice Young on a slant for an 11-yard score. Burkhard’s PAT made it 21-0 with 7:38 remaining in the first. 

After Omaha (0-1) got on the board on a Lee Chapple to O.J. Simpson 14-yard touchdown pass (extra point was no good), the Law drove six plays in just over four minutes-capped off with McCollum’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon: A 10-yard dart to Venson. Burkahrd’s extra point was wide right and the lead was 27-6. 

The Beef though caught a major break on the ensuing kickoff. Burkhard’s line-drive squib, pelted one of the Omaha up men in the chest, and Dizeas Calbert recovered at the Law five yard line. Three plays later, Chapple found Jared Elmore for a touchdown-pulling the Beef to within 14 at 27-13. It was all Dodge City from there. 

The Law would tack on three more scores in the first half: Dominique Carson’s 21-yard rushing touchdown; Hollyfield’s second score and Mike Bragg’s pick six gave Dodge City a 47-13 lead at the half. 

“I think complacency set in,” Ponder said of his team’s play in the second half. “We should have put up 90 on this team.”

Omaha made things interesting in the third quarter-taking their second offensive possession and driving it 31 yards in six plays. On fourth and goal from the 10, Chapple eluded the rush by rolling left and found Marques Parker along the back wall in the end zone. The quarterback-receiver combo hooked up on the ensuing two-point conversion making it 47-21 Law with 4:34 to go in the third period. 

Omaha would add two more points the next time Dodge City had the ball when McCollum was caught behind the line and sacked in the end zone. The officials called intentional grounding on the play, and the Law lead was cut to 47-23. 

The Beef wasn’t finished-setting up shop at the Law 15-yard line following the free kick. Two plays later, Preston Brown, who made a spectacular cut against the grain, scampered 11 yards to the end zone. The two-point conversion failed but the Beef were within striking distance-down 47-29. 

But Dodge City quickly doused any hopes of a Beef comeback on their next possession. On 2-and-9 at their own 18, McCollum, who finished 11-of-21, for 162 yards and four touchdowns, unleashed a bomb down the left sideline to young, who was standing wide open in the end zone. Burkhard’s extra point was good-extending the lead to 54-29.

“He (McCollum) played pretty well,” Ponder said. “He did miss some reads, but overall I’m pleased.”

The Law would add another score late on Carson’s second rushing touchdown of the day. 

Omaha’s final points came on Chapple’s one-yard t.d. pass to Beau Kildow. The former Arena League backup quarterback and record-breaking signal caller at North Alabama, completed 19-of-30 passes for 105 yards, four scores and two picks. 

Next up: Dodge City vs. Oklahoma Defenders-Saturday, March 8-6:30 Countdown to kickoff on 98.1 FM 

Final Stats: final stat pack law vs. beef

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