By James Chambers, Contributing Writer
The NFL season is over and the beginning of the CIF season started Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Wichita Force played the defending Champions, the Duke City Gladiators in Tingley Coliseum located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wichita Force started the game receiving the opening kickoff. On the first attempt for the Force they miss-snapped the ball with the Gladiators recovering,and that set up the first score of the game.
The Force defense failed to slow a championship defense giving up a whopping 28 points in the first half. The young defense was no match for high power offense of the CIF Champions. Led by QB Donovan Porterie, the offense was just to much to handle for the Force defense. Wichita Force had a problem with low snaps on offense throughout the whole game, but the biggest problem is a defense that failed to stop the champs.
The second half kickoff the Gladiators returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was a statement that they were not slowing down their scoring campaign. Therefore, by the end of the third quarter, the score was 49- 3 Gladiators. The Force would not score their first touchdown until the fourth quarter. Wichita did try to mount a comeback scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
There were many fans who worried about such a young team playing the champions. There were sparks on offense that may produce better offense later in the season. Jack Tomlinson shows promise as a wideout along with Gary Jovelet. Tomlinson ended the day with 10 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, while teammate Gary Jovelet ended the day with five grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown. Joe Hubener ended his day with 21 completions out of 33 attempts and 191 yards with two touchdown passes. Running back Dontaye Rivera would add a score from five yards out.
There is not much to say about the defense who struggled the whole game to stop the Gladiators offense. In the end, the game would end with a score of 76 - 24. The defense is young and played against a very good offense. Only time will tell how this defense will come together for the rest of the year. It does make fans wonder if the defense would have been better off keeping a few more veterans like Chris Hemphill and Kendrick Harper. Chris Hemphill signed with the Orlando Predators in the National Arena League. Having a few more veterans on the team may help guide and develop the defense.
The Force will have the opportunity to show a home crowd what they are capable of Saturday, March 30, 2019. They will be hosting the Texas Revolution. According to the Wichita Force, there are some Kansas City Chiefs who will be attending the game. Chris Jones and Dustin Colquitt will be in attendance for the showdown between these rival teams. Having some pro players in attendance may be exactly what the Force needs for motivation.