The Oklahoma Defenders will host the 2013 defending Champions Professional Indoor Football League champion Wichita Wild on Sunday afternoon in the Cox Business Center and it will be a battle of the unbeaten as the 2-0 Defenders meet the 1-0 Wild.
The fast start for the Defenders is already paying off in terms of league recognition as OKD quarterback Zach Rasmussen earned the CPIFL Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second week of the season.
Rasmussen led the Defenders to a 56-49 victory over the Dodge City Law by throwing for 146 yards and five touchdowns. Rasmussen did not throw any interceptions in 29 pass attempts which proved to be crucial as Dodge City was forced into three turnovers by the Defender defense. Rasmussen added a rushing touchdown in the game as well.
To date the gunslinger from Tinker AFB has 25 completions on 37 attempts through the air for seven touchdowns and no interceptions. On the ground Rasmussen has 77 yard in 10 carries and three touchdowns.
Hubert Anyiam is a favorite target for his quarterback as he and Rasmussen have connected for nine catches for 139 yards and seven touchdowns. Another favorite of Rasmussen’s to run the ball, (when he isn’t carrying the ball himself), is Kingjack Washington, who has galloped for 116 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. In terms of all-purpose yardage, leading the way there is Isaiah Anderson. The OSU product has amassed some 157 yards in two games.
Defensively, the Oklahoma Defenders are very scary indeed. The addition of former OU Sooner and Detroit Lion Ronnell Lewis has seen an almost immediate impact, with Lewis making 16 tackles, with eleven of them being solo stops. He has also blocked three kicks.
Assisting him is Niko Wright. The defensive back from Bacone College is responsible for 12 tackles, seven of them unassisted stops. Ki’Ounta Cathey has had an outstanding start to the 2014 campaign, contributing a safety in the game against Dodge City and has a blocked kick in addition to four tackles on the young season.
The numbers are looking very good for the Defenders but the one thing number can’t tell the average OKD fan is the depth of character the team has showed. Particularly when it comes to the Defenders last game against Dodge City.
They were behind for most of the game and when the final quarter of the game remained, the Defenders took the field with each player was holding up four fingers, symbolic of when they intended to take control of the game, which was in the fourth quarter. The Defenders buckled down on Dodge City and shut down their offensive threat, taking full control of the game.
This character will be helpful when the face the reigning CPIFL champions on Sunday afternoon when Wichita comes to town.
The Wild are the league’s inaugural champions and the team to beat this season.
In 2013 the Defenders lost to the Wild both times they faced them and Wichita hung 70 points on them both times.
The off-season saw several key players retire from Wichita but nevertheless they remain a threat.
The game on Sunday will kick off at 3:05pm in the Cox Business Center and the Defenders are hosting what is being called the “Spring Break Kickoff”, in which several promotions are planned.
There is the customary potluck tailgate which will be held in the Baxter’s Interurban parking lot from 11am until 2pm, hosted by The Regulators, the official Oklahoma Defenders booster club.
A $5 ticket special for kids 12-and-under plus 50% off for all employees and students at the OSU Medical Center are being offered at the box office. Finally, in celebration of the beginning of Spring Break free sunglasses will be given out to the first 300 kids through the door.
Tickets for Sunday’s game and all Oklahoma Defenders home games are on sale at the Cox Business Cneter and BOK Center box offices.