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The Wichita Force headed back to the road following their 27 point victory over the Oklahoma Flying Aces last Saturday, travelling to Sioux City to take on the Bandits as they looked for their second win in a row. However, quarterback Dillon Turner could not be stopped, as he threw for five touchdowns and ran for another in the 70-30 Sioux City victory. That spoiled Mikhail Lindsay’s biggest game of the year, as he rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown.
The first quarter would end tied after each team would score a touchdown. The Wichita Force took the opening kickoff and marched to the Sioux City seven where the drive stalled. They opted to go for the field goal, but Jordan Drake’s 22 yard attempt was just outside the right goal post. The Bandits responded by scoring on their first possession of the game, a 12 yard touchdown pass from Turner to Frederick Bruno to make it 7-0 Sioux City.
The Force had success moving the ball early, scoring on their next possession. After gaining seven yards on each of their first two plays, quarterback Joe Hubener connected with Gary Jolivet, Jr. for a 21 yard touchdown to tie the score at seven.
A tight game would turn quickly on Wichita as a big turnover changed the momentum in favor of Sioux City. After Turner scored from one yard out on fourth and goal to give the Bandits a 14-7 lead, Oscar Opera intercepted a Hubener pass on the first play of the next drive for the Force. Opera raced for the endzone, scoring to make it 21-7.
The Force went to the ground on their next drive, riding the legs of Mikhail Lindsay to the Sioux City 14. Lindsay had three carries on the drive, gaining 30 yards, but the drive stalled, forcing another Drake attempt. He nailed the 28 yarder to cut the deficit to 11.
The Force looked like they would get a big defensive play on the next possession for Sioux City when Evan Ray picked of a Turner pass at the goal line, returning it 26 yards to the Bandits 24. However, an illegal formation call went against the Force, putting the ball back in the hands of Turner, and he made Wichita pay, tossing a 13 yard touchdown pass to Londell Lee to extend the Bandits lead to 18.
On the next possession for Wichita, Hubener’s first pass was intercepted at the Sioux City 12. After Todd Macon moved the ball with a 17 and a 4 yard run, Turner threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 21 yard strike to Lee to make it 35-10.
There was no quit in the Wichita Force, however. With 1:20 left in the half, Hubener threw a 21 yard touchdown to Montero Dubose to make it 35-17. That would be the score heading to the locker room.
Coming out of the break, the Sioux City Bandits would get a big boost when Bruno returned the kickoff 33 yards to the Force 14. Two plays later, Andrew London scored from seven yards out to extend the lead back to 25.
Hubener helped the Force respond right away. He led the team on a nine play drive that would end with a 17 yard touchdown pass to Lindsay. Wichita methodically moved down the field, converting a third and 1 at the Sioux City 22 to keep the drive alive. The coaching staff opted to go for it when faced with a fourth and 6 at the 17 and their running back rewarded their faith. Hubener found Lindsay on the swing pass and the running back did the rest, making two defenders miss before scoring.
The Wichita Force were within 18, but it would be all Sioux City from that point on. Daryl Virgies delivered a 28 yard touchdown run on the next drive for Sioux City and Turner threw his fourth touchdown pass just before the end of the third quarter to make it 56-24 Bandits.
In the fourth quarter, the Wichita quarterback threw his third interception of the game. This time Xavier Spann made the pick, returning it 24 yards for the score.
Lindsay would add one more score for Wichita, bull rushing his way into the endzone from two yards out to make it 63-30, but Turner would respond with his sixth total touchdown of the game, a 24 yard toss to Bruno to make it 70-30.
Turner threw just 12 passes on the day, completing eight of them for 122 yards and 5 TDs. Hubener was 19 of 37 for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Force. He also threw 3 interceptions. Jack Tomlinson had 9 catches for 71 yards and both Montero Dubose and Gary Jolivet, Jr. had a touchdown reception for the Force. Mikhail Lindsay had 93 total yards from scrimmage, adding a rushing and a receiving touchdown.
The Wichita defense was led by Marcus Carter, who had 9 tackles.The Wichita Force (2-5) will return home next Friday night when they take on the defending champion Duke City Gladiators (3-3). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:25. You can purchase your tickets by visiting https://www.wichitaforce.com/schedule.html.
By Robert Pannier
Minor League Sports Report