The Wyoming Mustangs professional indoor football team kept its playoff hopes alive for its inaugural season in the Champions Indoor Football League with a 38-34 win over the Wichita Force of Kansas on Monday night.
The win was only the team's second in league play and puts them in a tie in fifth place with Wichita at 2-4. Only the top 4 teams make the CIF playoffs at the end of the season.
The contest with Wichita was back and forth all night in the Wyoming Center at Cam-plex. Scoring was hard to come by in the first half before both team's offenses came alive in the final 30 minutes of the game.
The Mustangs took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter but Wichita answered back on a 31-yard touchdown pass on third and 21 but missed the extra point to put the score at 7-6. Wyoming's kicker added a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead.
The Force missed a field goal attempt as time expired in the first half to go into the locker room down 10-6 at halftime.
On the first play of the third quarter, Rashad Ridley returned a kickoff 57 yards for the Mustangs and also converted the two-point conversion with his feet to stretch the lead to 18-6. But that would be the last of the scoring for the Mustangs in the quarter as Wichita took control on both sides of the ball.
The Force scored two touchdowns consecutively to take a 20-18 lead over Wyoming. With the Mustangs on offense, two botched snaps in a row resulted in a safety to give Wichita the 22-18 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Both offenses exploded in the final quarter. Wichita scored first to go up 28-18 but Wyoming wide receiver Tim Keith scored on a 27-yard rush to trim the score to 28-25.
After the Mustangs recovered a fumble on Wichita's next possession, D'Nerius Antoine scored on a 1-yard run to give the Mustangs a 32-28 lead with 8 minutes left in the game.
The Mustangs blocked a Wichita field goal attempt in their own endzone on the ensuing drive that defensive back Eriq Swiftwater recovered for a touchdown to go up 38-28 after a missed extra point.
Wichita would score one last touchdown during the following drive but the Mustangs were able to chew the rest of the clock out to hold on to the 38-34 home win.
Monday was the Mustangs last home game in Gillette during the regular season. Wyoming will now travel for its final three games of the season in hopes of clinching a playoff spot.
The Mustangs will have a short week before returning to the field against the Sioux City Bandits at 6 p.m. Saturday in Iowa.