Desert Hawks Fly Through the Storm 65-61

The Desert Hawks kept their season alive in front of the home crowd this weekend. The game between West Texas and Southwest Kansas had major playoff implications, and the Hawks won 65-61. 

Desert Hawks Playoff Dream is Alive

This game was a pivotal moment for the Desert Hawks in their quest for a playoff spot. They were locked in a fierce battle with Southwest Kansas for the 5th place spot. 

With the West Texas victory, they now share the same record, but the Desert Hawks hold the advantage with the head-to-head tie-breaker. This win has given them control of the final playoff spot, but they must remain vigilant to stave off the rest of the potential takers in the final two weeks.

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Running Away with the Offense

The AFL that everybody is used to is a primarily passing league. It is usually long bombs with sparingly few rushing plays until the end of the game approaches. Apparently, these two teams did not get the message. 

They must have come together before the game and agreed they must run the football. For Southwest Kansas, two guys led the charge: FB Vincent Dileo II and QB Matt Struck. 

Dileo got the majority of the rushes, but both of them were able to get into the endzone on designed runs.

For West Texas, it was FB Desmond Maxwell. Maxwell is a much bigger rusher and would generally fall under the description of “Power Back”. He is not always good for large breakout runs, but he can punch the ball ahead three yards at a time almost at will. 

Impact Players for the Desert Hawks

It is impossible to discuss a West Texas game without acknowledging Jonathan Bane’s contributions. This game was a standout performance for him, as he delivered 7 touchdown passes, his best of the season. 

With the postseason on the line, he rose to the occasion. His main receivers on his road to excellence were Caleb Smith, Lonnie Outlaw, and Isaiah Scott. A surprising but significant contributor to the Desert Hawks was the kick return team. 

Despite the frequent changes in personnel, they made a significant impact on field positioning. Many of the Desert Hawks’ drives started in their favor, thanks to their ability to reach the 45-yard line before the first offensive play. 

Impact Players for the Storm

The ground game was strong for the Storm in this game. No doubt, thanks to the overwhelming presence of fullback Vincent Dileo II. He was the go-to producer for the Storm offense, having a dozen carries and three touchdowns alone.

Also adding to the running game was QB Matt Struck. He did his duties from both the air and the ground. He was good for over half a dozen rushes in designed run plays, earning himself one rushing touchdown.

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