June 21, 2024

Defense dominates for Storm in 35-12 win over Wichita

Dodge City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–The Southwest Kansas Storm wrapped up a three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon, playing host to the Wichita Regulators in AFL play. It would be a revenge game, after the Storm dropped a one-point decision to the Regulators on May 13. Southwest Kansas forced three second half turnovers, including a pick-six, as they coasted to a 35-12 victory inside United Wireless Arena.

Both teams had no issues scoring for a majority of the first half. The Storm scored the first point of the game on the opening kickoff, as the kick sailed wide of the rebounding structure to take the early 1-0 lead. From there, they burned six minutes off the clock, and got a one-yard run from quarterback Matt Struck on fourth-and-goal to go up 8-0, with the Dillon Burkhard PAT. Wichita came right back down the field and got on the board. They used a nearly seven-minute drive as quarterback Charlie Brewer connected with Daniel McKinney on the padding on fourth-and-goal from the 17 yard line to pull the Regulators to within 8-6. They would miss the four-point conversion. Southwest Kansas (4-3) scored on the last play of the first quarter, on a Struck two-yard run. Burkhard’s kick made it 15-6 after the opening quarter.

Wichita (1-4) responded back with a Brewer four-yard run to pull to within 15-12 with around 11:30 left before halftime, as they would fail on the two-point try. The Regulators kicked the ball wide left of the rebound structure again on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Storm a 16-12 lead. SW Kansas would burn nearly 10 minutes of the second quarter clock for their next score, as Struck scored from two yards out with just under two minutes left before the break, and Burkhard’s kick pushed the lead to 23-12. Wichita had one more chance before the break. Starting quarterback Charlie Brewer was knocked out of the game on third and goal on an intention grounding penalty, and on fourth down, new quarterback Joseph Hess misfired and the Storm led 23-12 at the break.

Southwest Kansas forced two interceptions in succession in the second half. The Storm turned the ball over on downs on their opening series at their own 15. On the very next play. Keon Clary picked off Hess on a deflection, and weaved his way to the end zone from 47 yards out to extend the lead to 29-12 with under six minutes left. They missed the three-point conversion. 

In the fourht quarter, the scoring closed on a Vincent DiLeo II five-yard run wiht 6:38 left. The PAT was no good, and the final would be 35-12. 

Southwest Kansas held Wichita to minus-23 yards rushing unofficially, and gave up only 126 yards of offense. Charlie Brewer threw for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Hess threw for 54 yards and three interceptions. Drevon Macon was the Regulators leading receiver, with 48 yards.

The Storm got 68 yards passing from Matt Struck, and he also added 51 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Vincent DiLeo II had 43 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. Southwest Kansas finished with 174 yards of offense.

Southwest Kansas is now above .500 on the year, as they improved to 4-3. They’ll hit the road on Saturday aganst West Texas, who is now 3-4 after a 73-70 home loss to unbeaten Albany. The Storm are sitting in fifth place in the AFL Standings. Wichita fell to 1-4 on the season, as they host the Salina Liberty on Saturday night.