Story by Donny Victory/Times Record News
Photo by Lauren Robert/Times Record News
Wichita Falls, TX – The Wichita Falls Nighthawks don't just want to be in the postseason. They want to host an Indoor Football League playoff game.
Those hopes took a brutal shot Saturday night when the Colorado Crush upset the Nighthawks, 61-56, scoring with 11 seconds remaining in the game at Kay Yeager Coliseum. The loss coupled with a Cedar Rapids (11-4) 28-20 victory against Billings leaves the Nighthawks (10-5) needing some help if they want to reach their goal of hosting a playoff game.
The Nighthawks must win their final two games on the road against Iowa and Green Bay and hope Cedar Rapids loses its season finale in two weeks against Iowa to earn a first-round playoff game at home.
Troy Evans returned the ensuing kickoff to the Colorado 14 and the Nighthawks got two shots at the game-winning touchdowns. Quarterback Charles McCullum's pass as time expired sailed over the outstretched arms of his intended receiver.
Fleming was 21 of 37 with six touchdowns and no interceptions, while Josh Ford carried the ball 18 times for 49 and caught 5 passes for 60 yards. Kaiser caught eight passes for 85 yards.
McCullum went 21 of 29 for 183 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He also had a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Crush gave the Nighthawks their hardest time in the second quarter. With six minutes left in the first half, Wichita Falls was facing a third and goal from the 1, but miscommunication on the snap allowed Colorado defensive back Daniel Masifilo scooped the ball and sprinted the length of the field to give Colorado its first lead of the game.
The Crush defense kept up the intensity as they ran off 18 straight points for a 32-21 advantage. They led 39-35 at the half.
The Nighthawks regained control of the game midway through the third when McCullum found Johnny Thomas for a 29-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Colorado bobbled the ball and the Wichita Falls kick coverage gathered the loose ball. McCullum capitalized for the Nighthawks when he finished the short drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 52-45 lead with 8:14 left in the third.