WICHITA, Kan. — Saturday’s contest between the Ada-based Oklahoma Outlawz and the Wichita Wild indoor football team figures to be a little more serious to the players on both sides than your average exhibition game.

Match-ups with semi-pro squads like the Outlawz make up an informal regular-season schedule for the Wild, which currently isn’t affiliated with any indoor or arena football league. For the Outlawz players, Saturday’s game (at 7:05 p.m. at the Kansas Coliseum) is a chance to show they can compete against tougher competition than they saw this spring in the Central Football League.

“The benefit is to get our players some exposure to the next level,” Outlawz owner Mike West said Thursday. “I’m not wanting to hold my guys back, and I think I’ve got some guys who can play at the next level.

“Guys like Daniel Crites, T. R. Kanuch, Omega Holman, Kwame Ferguson and Brandon Smith should all be able to play at that level,” West said. “And (quarterback) Keith Jones is phenomenal. I think he could play at any level.”

Saturday’s contest is the finale to a breakout season for the Outlawz, who won eight of 10 regular-season games to finish second in the CFL South Division, went 1-1 in the playoffs (losing to the North Texas Falcons, 38-34, in the division title game) and had 18 representatives on the South squad that beat the North, 24-14, in last Saturday’s CFL All-Star Game.

But if the local team can make it close against the Wild, they will be the first semi-pro team to be competitive with the Wichita club this spring. After scoring more than 70 points in three straight blowout wins, the Wild last weekend manhandled the first squad it faced from the CFL, 56-12.

“The Arkansas Wild (runner-up in the CFL North) was supposed to play them last week, but the team ended up being made up mostly of players from the (league champion) Joplin Crusaders and some Oklahoma City players,” West said. “If they could throw together a team and go up there and lose 56-12, I think we can do pretty well.”

Arena football is quite a contrast from the game played in the CFL, and the wide open style employed by most indoor teams is a far cry from the ball control offense that was the Outlawz trademark this season. But West said Jones’ 362-yard passing performance in the loss to North Texas two weeks ago showed that his team can air it out when needed, and he said most of his top players will be making the trip to Kansas.

“The majority of our all-star players are going with us,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of injuries, so we’re going to have to fill those positions, and we’re also going to add a couple of players.

“The Wild doesn’t care where we get our players, so long as we put on a good show,” West added. “They’re not sure what (indoor league) affiliation they’re going to have, and they wanted some competition. They couldn’t pull in AFL2 teams because they’re not affiliated with anybody yet, so I guess they’re calling this their regular season.”

Outlawz coach Mark Barrett was the head coach for the South All-Stars last weekend, and West said the fact that a lot of the top players from Joplin squad bypassed the game to play in Wichita caused some re-shuffling in the all-star rosters.

“The problem we had was that most of the North All-Stars went to play against the Wild,” he noted. “The majority of the South team was split between the Falcons and the Outlawz, and I wouldn’t wish (having to play that team) on anybody.”

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