MUSKEGON, Mich. – When 97 total points are scored in a game, the casual Championship Indoor Football league fan might wonder if either team made any big defensive stands.
That’s why Kansas City coach Chris Coffin highlighted three consecutive defensive stands that helped his team claim the first win in franchise history as the Phantoms edged the West Michigan Ironmen 50-47 Saturday night at L.C. Walker Arena.
“You look at that final score and think the game was all about offense,” Coffin said, after the Phantoms evened their record at 1-1. “But Isaac Wright made three plays that helped us win the game.”
The former University of Kansas/Washburn University linebacker stopped the Ironmen on consecutive fourth-and-2 running plays, then stripped the ball away from a Michigan wide receiver to set up the game-winning Kansas City touchdown in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
“Three big plays from Isaac,” Coffin said, “or we might not be talking about our first win. I know that winning that game sure made the 13 1/2-hour bus ride back from Michigan go a lot quicker.”
Anthony Parks (Oklahoma State) paced the Phantoms with six receptions for 52 yards and four touchdowns. Phantoms quarterback David Olson (Stanford) completed 17 of 22 passes for 122 yards and six touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown.
“It’s amazing what your quarterback can do after he’s had more than one and a half practices,” quipped Coffin. “We know that David can get the job done. Our offensive line did a great job of protecting him and the guys made some nice catches.”
Former Truman High School standout O.J. Simpson (Missouri Western) hauled in six receptions for 37 yards.
An Olson 6-yard run less than three minutes into the game gave the Phantoms a lead they never relinquished.
The Phantoms led 22-21 at halftime and a Jarard Milo (Kansas State) fumble recovery – off the Wright tackle – followed by a Parks touchdown reception gave the Phantoms their biggest lead of the game at 43-33 with 3:38 left in the fourth quarter.
Kansas City’s Jared Elmore (Mid-American Nazarene) caught what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of play. West Michigan scored a touchdown with eight seconds left to account for the final score.
“We did a lot of bonding on this trip,” Coffin said. “That’s the one thing about a long bus ride, you really get to know each other. We hadn’t had many practices before our first game, and I see a real team bonding happening.
“These guys care about each other and want to do well. I think next time we play at home, the fans are really going to like what they see.”
The Phantoms host the Bloomington Edge at 7:05 p.m. April 1 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The Phantoms travel to Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday for Game No. 3.