Amid chaos, Kansas Kaos squeak past Wildcats, 10-9
There was little about Saturday night that went well for the Kansas Kaos, with exception to the end result—a 10-9 victory over the Arkansas Wildcats.
There were fumbles, interceptions, bad snaps, penalties and a ridiculous screaming match after the game that took place on the field between the Kaos’ offense and defense that carried over into the locker room.
“The fine-tuning that needs to be done is what makes this league tough,” Kaos coach Mike MacDonald said. “These guys all have jobs and families. Football is something they love to do, but they don’t have the time to practice enough to execute really well on game day. That leads to the frustration that we saw.”
There were hundreds of fans in attendance at the 7 p.m. kickoff in the peak of the day’s heat at David Jaynes Stadium that were ready to see some quality football in the summertime. What they got instead was a sloppy game that took a while to get going on the scoreboard and a fight between teammates that included all the colorful language and hand gestures to escalate it to more than just a mere spat.
On the field, the two teams were evenly matched. Neither team could pass with much success, and both teams were stout up the middle on defense while forcing changes to the regular game plan of power running. Any gap up the middle was quickly filled by a blitzing safety or linebacker.
The Kaos got on the board with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a Thompson Omboga 8-yard touchdown run. Omboga, a former wideout at the University of Missouri, faked a handoff on third and goal and scooted around the left side of the line for the designed bootleg. The Wildcats had it sniffed out, but Omboga outran one would-be tackler and flattened another before diving into the end zone. The extra point was good and the Kaos looked poised to cruise from there.
However, on their first possession in the second quarter, the Kaos lost focus. They committed a procedure penalty, threw an incomplete pass, fumbled a low snap and were forced to punt. The low snap was a problem in pregame warm-ups, and it happened again when the ball skipped past punter Chuck Smiley. Smiley never got a handle on the ball, but he pounced on it in the end zone in time to allow only a safety.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple hundred times — too many mental mistakes,” MacDonald said.
The play sparked the Wildcats, and they marched down the field and scored on a quick hitter up the middle by the 250-pound fullback Antwan Dyer from 9 yards out. The extra point gave Arkansas a 9-7 advantage.
That same score was on the board halfway through the third quarter until Bonner Springs native Tyson Ross nailed a 22-yard field goal for a 10-9 Kaos lead. Little did anybody know then, but Ross’ kick would prove to be the game-winner as both teams combined for four turnovers and a handful of first downs during the final 23 minutes.
After the game, both teams shook hands and said an “Our Father” prayer, and then the Kaos grouped up around MacDonald for a postgame speech. The intrasquad fight broke out moments after the speech ended.
A defensive player said that they had “bailed out the offense again,” and the offensive players responded negatively to that assertion. Some choice words were uttered and it set of the skirmish. Players walked away yelling and throwing pads and helmets. A shoving match ensued and carried over to the locker room, where MacDonald was summoned to stop the commotion before it got out of hand.
“We are having a team meeting to address that very incident,” MacDonald said. “We have to show better class as an organization and men and handle that kind of thing in the locker room. There is no blame when you win either, by one or 100 (points). We can’t do that type of thing in front of our fans, the other team and our families. We didn’t show class for once.”