Rain cuts game short, but Kaos still rout Panthers
Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Penn makes dazzling catches in debut performance
So far no football teams have been able to stop the Kansas Kaos.
On Saturday Mother Nature came the closest to accomplishing that feat.
Two rounds of thunderstorms forced the Kaos' game against the Kansas City Panthers to be halted at halftime - but by then the Kaos already had a commanding 27-0 lead and collected the victory at David Jaynes Stadium.
The Kaos improved to 4-0 with the victory.
"That was the best half of football we've had all year," coach Kip Van Hoose said. "I was extremely proud of our defense. Our line put a lot of pressure on their quarterback and helped out our secondary."
Heavy rain and lightning filled the skies over the stadium prior to kickoff making it unsafe for players and fans. In fact, lightning struck the Bonner Springs High School campus on one occasion. The game was delayed, but it began once the weather cleared.
The Kaos needed little time after that to seize control.
The Panthers took possession at their own 34 with a spread offensive attack that the Kaos had been concerned about defending. On the first play from scrimmage they hit a 21-yard quick out pattern into Kaos territory, giving them a first down. It would be their last converted first down of the game.
Two plays later, Kaos defensive lineman Brandon Walker recovered a fumble at the Panthers 41-yard line. The Kaos moved down to the Panthers' 30 where they turned the ball over on downs, but shifted field position in their favor.
After forcing a Panthers punt, Chuck Smiley returned the kick to the Panthers' 16-yard line. Seven plays later quarterback Jason Sutherland rolled to his right and connected with Don Allen in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass. After a successful conversion the Kaos led 8-0.
After each team failed to do anything on their next possessions the Kaos defense made another big play. Defensive back Jerome Eldridge intercepted a wayward pass attempt by the Panthers and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, the score was 15-0.
Both teams struggled to get anything going until the second quarter when the Kaos struck again with their new weapon, former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Penn, who up until Saturday night was a Kaos coach.
Penn caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Sutherland to make the score 21-0, running a precise route to get separation from the defender.
On the next drive he dazzled the fans at the stadium by catching 28-yard pass from Sutherland at the 5-yard line while being drilled by a defender along the sideline. The catch set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Lee Baker that made the score 27-0 at halftime.
Another storm came through the area during the intermission and the referees called the game because of more lightning at about 10:45 p.m. After a discussion between referees and each team's coaches, the game was deemed a victory for the Kaos.
Penn had to play because another receiver was unable to make it to the game. He originally planned on coaching, but he decided to help the team out.
"Being a veteran and playing (football) so many years I know where the open spots are going to be," Penn said of his performance. "My teammates have been egging me on all year to get me to play. Now they are saying it had better not be a one-time deal, so I'll continue to play. I'm having fun, I'll definitely be back out."
That is good news for Van Hoose as the team prepares for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
"He showed his skill set out there tonight," Van Hoose said. "His knowledge of the game really helped out our quarterback and everyone else on the offensive side of the ball."
Penn's ability and knowledge also has made throwing the ball easier on Sutherland.
"He runs such good patterns and gets so wide open you have to get him the ball," Sutherland said. "It's a dream come true for me to be playing with former NFL guys like Chris and Allen (Williams)."
Penn played for three teams in his six-year NFL career - Chicago, Kansas City and San Diego. He played in 70 games, caught 148 passes, gained nearly 2,000 yards and caught 12 touchdowns.
The Kaos hit the road to visit the Cass County (Neb.) Renegades at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Kaos won an earlier meeting with the Renegades, 34-0, but Sutherland does not believe the Renegades should be taken lightly.
"We need to do the little things better, no matter who we are playing or where," he said. "We are getting better at each practice, but it is difficult to get timing down when you only practice once a week."
The Kaos' next home game is at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 against the undefeated Iowa Lightning.