Nighthawks Hold On To Defeat Crush 54-52

Nighthawks Hold On To Defeat Crush 54-52

Story By Donny Victory/ Times Record News

When the Wichita Falls Nighthawks traveled to Colorado back in April, the game was a nail-biter that turned out to be a heart breaker for the Nighthawks when the Crush scored with 17 seconds left in the game to snatch victory away.

There was too much on the line for the Nighthawks and too much of a bitter memory from the first game for Wichita Falls not to be prepared Saturday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Still, the Crush gave the Nighthawks a scare. Wichita Falls took advantage of two failed Colorado two-point conversion attempts in an offensive shootout, hanging on for a 54-52 victory.

"We knew we had to win this game," Nighthawks running back Tyler Williams said. "Colorado had beaten us three straight times. They kind of had our number, but we came through tonight."

Colorado scored every time it had ball, but had to settle for four field goals.

"We did not play our best defensively," Wichita Falls coach Billy Back said. "It feels good to win, but it is disappointing that we didn't play better. Our offense really bailed us out tonight."

The Nighthawks offense did a good job of bailing, scoring eight touchdowns on nine possessions. Charles McCullum was primarily responsible for the offensive output having his hand in on seven of the eight Wichita Falls touchdowns. He went 16-of-21 for 152 yards and five touchdowns through the air. while leading the team with 36 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Jordan Jolly was McCullum's primary target. He led the Nighthawks with six catches, 57 yards and two TDs.

The win keeps Wichita Falls (12-3) on pace for accomplishing the team's stated goal for the season — winning a championship.

Wichita Falls Nighthawks' Jarve Dean lifts Tyler Williams in celebration after Williams scored a touchdown against the Colorado Crush Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Key Yeager Coliseum. The Nighthawks defeated the Crush 54-52. 

"The win was big for us tonight," Back said. "We have a chance for exactly what we wanted. Starting tonight when we get home, we are building for a three-game playoff run that can end with a championship."

First Quarter: The Nighthawks defense started the game with some intensity with three big hits and a sack to hold Colorado to a field goal on their opening kickoff. The offense was not to be outshone as they executed flawlessly on the Nighthawks' opening drive which was capped by a 9-yard TD pass from McCullum to Tyler Williams. Colorado 10, Wichita Falls 7

Second Quarter: The scoring started quick with each team punching into the end zone in the first three minutes of the quarter. Neither team slowed down much as the teams combined for seven scoring drives. Colorado 30, Wichita Falls 27

Third Quarter: Wichita Falls did exactly what it needed to do to try to take control of the game by driving down the field on the opening possession. Then the Nighthawks defense came up with a big stop on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line to force a Colorado field goal. Wichita Falls answered with a three-play drive that ended with Jolly in the end zone. However, Colorado never went away with its consistent offense. Wichita Falls 41, Colorado 39

Fourth Quarter: The offensive onslaught continued into the fourth. With both teams having no problem finding the end zone, PAT execution was a huge difference. Colorado failed to convert a 2-point conversion after each touchdown it scored in the quarter. Wichita Falls managed to grind out the remaining time on the clock after the second failed PAT. Wichita Falls 54, Colorado 52