August 14, 2022

Force hang 90 on Law in blowout win


Highlights

Game Stats

Scoring Summary

DC Law Offense

DC Law Defense

Wichita Offense

Wichita Defense

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Wichita, KS-Wichita Coach Paco Martinez made a key observation in the days leading up to his team’s pivotal showdown with Dodge City.

“Coach (Sean) Ponder and his staff have made me a better coach this year,” he said. “I’ve had to change how I call plays.”

Three weeks after a humiliating 23-point loss to the Law in which Martinez was thrown out of the game, he not only adjusted, his team flat out dominated.

Jake Medlock threw a career best seven touchdown passes, Dodge City turned it over three times, and Wichita handed the Law its worst loss in franchise history 91-51 Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.

“This one is squarely on me,” Ponder said afterwards. “I have to do a better job getting these guys ready to play.”

During the second half last week in Kansas City, the Law let a 26-point lead slip away before holding on in overtime. Six days later, whatever ailed Dodge City against the Phantoms reared its’ ugly head once again.

With the game tied at 14 in the first, Medlock found the end zone on a quarterback sneak from a yard out, putting Wichita in front by seven. When Dodge City (7-2) got the football back, a bad exchange between quarterback Rudy Johnson and running back Noel Phillips had the ball rolling loose on the ground. Linebacker Jason Catchings recovered, and the Force were in business at the Law 8.

“We made so many mistakes in this game,” Ponder said. “It happened all night.”

Three plays later, Medlock found Clarence Anderson for a nine-yard score, giving Wichita a 27-14 advantage (Luke Pray’s extra point was blocked). That double-digit lead stuck the rest of the night.

Things went from bad to worse on the Law’s next possession. On first-and-10 from their own 7, Phillips fumbled the ball, and Catchings recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, finishing off a sequence in which Wichita (4-4) scored 20 points in a four-minute span.

“That was the decisive blow,” Ponder admitted. “I mean we fumbled on back-to-back possessions. You can’t make mistakes against the defending champs.”

What ensued was a second quarter to forget for the first-place Law.

The Force scored 37 points in the period, the most given up by Dodge City in a single quarter this season. And when Brett Soft slipped a tackle of Tuff Johnson en route to a 23-yard catch-and-run score, Wichita had hung 58 first-half points on one of the top defenses in the league. They led 58-32 at the break.

“It’s hard to explain that,” Ponder said. “They (Wichita) did a good job of executing their game plan. We didn’t.”

Back in week two, the Law overcame a 22-point, third-quarter deficit to earn their first victory over Wichita in franchise history. But any chance of a repeat performance was dashed by one of the premier defensive backs in indoor football in the third quarter.

After Dodge City got the football back following Pray’s missed 24-yard field goal (Marquis George blocked it), the Law drove to the Force 6-yard line. But as (Rudy) Johnson tried to force a pass to Daniel McKinney, Kendrick Harper snagged it out of the air. The veteran then weaved his way down the left sideline 55 yards for a score. The touchdown was eventually nullified because of an illegal block during the return, but the damage was done. Johnson was pulled after that.

“With the situation and where we were, we decided to make a change,” Ponder said.

Before Andrew Jackson ever took the field, the Force extended the lead when Medlock capped off a seven-play, 40-yard drive with an nine-yard rushing touchdown to give the Force a 64-32 cushion.

Medlock added two more touchdown passes; both to Chris Anderson: an eight-yard strike and a 37-yard beauty where Anderson beat Tyrell Green on a post that made it 78-38 with 11:45 to play. Harper put the proverbial dagger in when he returned an onside kick 10 yards for a score.

“They beat us in every phase of the game,” Ponder said. “You have to take it and move on.”

Jackson did throw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to McKinney and Hi-C Scott, but the Law never made any serious push to get back in the game. He finished 10-of-18 for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Before being pulled, Johnson was 15-of-24 for 214 yards and three scores, while Marquise Deadwiller hauled in a season-best eight receptions for 106 yards in the losing effort.

Medlock completed 26-of-36 passes for 260 yards, seven touchdowns and an interception for Wichita, who improved to 5-2 all-time vs. Dodge City. Soft caught 10 balls for 90 yards and three touchdowns, and Catchings, who was originally suspended for the game after begin ejected from the last meeting with Dodge City, had six tackles, four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.  

“We have to find a way to move on,” Ponder said. “This one is over, and there is nothing we can do about it now.”

The game started well for Dodge City, who scored on their opening possession when Johnson hit Phillips on a flare for a six-yard touchdown.

Wichita answered minutes later, using a no-huddle attack and moving the ball from their own 15 to the Law 12. On first-and 10, Medlock zipped a pass to DA Allen in the back of the end zone that tied the game.

The first sign of a crack in the foundation came on Dodge City’s next drive when (Rudy) Johnson’s fourth-down pass to Scott at the Force 23 was knocked away by Harper. Catchings applied the pressure.

The Force then grabbed their first lead on Medlock’s two-yard scoring toss to Soft with 3:23 left in the first.

“I thought early on, we hung with them,” Ponder said. “But in this game, all it takes is one play to change the momentum.”

Trey Dudley’s 58-yard kickoff return for a touchdown tied the score with 3:11 to go in the opening frame. It was all Wichita from there.

Notes: The 91 points was the second most given up by Dodge City in franchise history; they allowed 98 in the opening round of the playoffs in 2016…The 58 points allowed in the first half were the most ever given up

Next up: Dodge City vs. Duke City-Saturday, May 13-6 p.m. pregame; 6:35 p.m. kick on 98.1 FM; westernkansasnews.com/z98 and KSKZ mobile app