Mustangs inch closer to playoff spot with 40-30 win over Southwest Kansas

The Wyoming Mustangs professional indoor football team got one step closer to claiming its first-ever postseason bid with a 40-30 win over the Southwest Kansas Storm on Saturday in the Wyoming Center at Cam-plex.

The game was a must-win for the struggling Mustangs as the team improved to 3-7 on the season and 3-6 in league play. Wyoming was tied with the Rapid City Marshals for the sixth and final playoff spot going into the weekend in the Champions Indoor Football League. The Marshals play the Omaha Beef on Monday night.

In the team's final home game of the season, the Mustangs found their scoring stride early but struggled to stop the Storm's offensive attack. Kansas took an early 8-0 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass during its opening drive of the game.

Wyoming running back Tabyus Taylor answered with a 9-yard touchdown run 2 minutes later to cut the lead to 8-7. Tre'Sean Artis picked off a Kansas pass on the ensuing drive and Taylor put the Mustangs in control 14-8 with another 2-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

The Storm didn't trail long as the team was able to score on a 12-yard touchdown run to go up 16-14 going into the second quarter. On Wyoming's next drive, quarterback E'Mond Caldwell scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to put the Mustangs back up 20-16 with 9:50 left in the first half.

The Storm turned the ball over on downs the following drive but Wyoming wasn't able to capitalize after Caldwell fumbled after a 3-yard scramble. Kansas reclaimed the lead shortly after with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Lou Dorsey put the Mustangs back on top with a 6-yard touchdown to make the game 26-22 with 12 seconds left in the second quarter. But Kansas was able to score on a 17-yard touchdown pass as time expired to take a 30-26 lead into the halftime break.

The second half featured a lot less offensive firepower as the Mustangs scored the game's final 14 points in the fourth quarter. After a scoreless 15 minutes in the second quarter, Caldwell put the Mustangs up 33-30 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 11:20 left in the game.

Artis was able to seal the game on the defensive end by forcing a fumble and returning it himself 30 yards for a Mustangs touchdown. The score put Wyoming up 40-30 and the Mustangs were able to hold the 10-point lead the rest of the way.

The Mustangs haven't clinched a playoff spot yet but the team significantly boosted their odds with Saturday's win. Wyoming will end the regular season with a road game against the Billings Outlaws (6-2) next weekend.

The Mustangs and Outlaws will play at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Montana.