Kansas Koyotes derail Junction City Force, improve to 4-4

Kansas Koyotes derail Junction City Force, improve to 4-4

After a tough loss in their previous game, the Kansas Koyotes wanted to come out with a strong start.

They accomplished exactly that, leading 21-6 after the first quarter on their way to a 62-26 victory against the Junction City Force in their final regular season home game at Landon Arena.

Koyotes head coach Jim Green was very satisfied with his team’s all-around effort from the start and all through the game.

“I am very pleased,” said Green. “There are some things in special teams we’re going to work on, but overall I’m very happy with our effort.”

At the end the first half, the Koyotes (4-4) already had a 35-12 advantage, including three rushing touchdowns from Naji Shinskia, in his first game as a running back. He had eight carries for 34 yards on the night. After taking that kind of lead into halftime, Green emphasized his defense’s contributions to it.

“We wanted to make sure we finished and be really strong and play smart football,” he said. “So, yeah, I’m very pleased with the defense.”

Junction City did, however, took advantage of a bizarre play at the end of the first half. Defensive back Trey Lute intercepted a Koyotes pass in his own endzone, briefly fumbled, but picked the ball back up on his way to a 53-yard interception return.

But this only cut the lead to 35-12. Even after an early second half Force touchdown made it 35-18, the Koyotes eventually increased that lead to 55-18 before Nathan Phillips for the Force made a short 4-yard reception for a touchdown to make it 55-26. Robbie DuBois would eventually finish off the scoring with a 14-yard rumble into the endzone. Chris Thompson added his sixth extra point in eight attempts on the night.

A big difference Shinskia saw out of his team this week and in Saturday’s game was their attitudes.

“We just tried to focus on having fun out there,” he said. “It’s kind of like a business, you’ve got to come out when you don’t want to come out and you’ve got to play when you don’t want to play. But when you come out and have fun, you get good results and we emphasized that a lot this week.”

Justin Wrecke, who hooked up with Kansas quarterback Jordan Brill for 20 and 42-yard touchdown receptions, knows the team is excited going into their final regular season game against the Iowa Blackhawks this upcoming weekend.

“It’ll be a good test next week for us to face them and we have a lot to play for,” said Wrecke. “The last time they beat us here and that was probably the worst game we’ve played all year. I think we’ve gotten a lot better since then and we look forward to playing them.”

The Koyotes-Blackhawks game begins at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, June 26.