The Wichita Falls Nighthawks saw their first ever playoff berth last season, and their success took many by surprise. Second year head coach Billy Back says this year will be different, “Last year the radar wasn’t on us. We were under the radar all year. Coming in, nobody knowing about who we had signed, who I was, or anything, our coaching staff. We made some noise last year. Number one offense in the league, we have all the returners back from that offense, a couple pieces added. And our defense has been totally revamped, we kept two defensive lineman, and brought back all new guys. Expectations are high. We want a championship, we want to do well, We’re on the radar, and people know about us, so it’s going to be a tough fought contest every time we play.”
First and foremost, the league MVP, quarterback Charles McCullum returns to the KYC. McCullum finished the year with the most passing yards in the IFl with 2,959. He averaged 246.1 passing yards per game – more than 50 yards more per game than any other IFL quarterback.
Coach Back is excited about some other big name returners, “Jordan Jolly, receiver, Tyron Laughinghouse, Tyler Williams, number three, Troy Evans, our entire offensive line, as well as our kicker, Rockne Belmonte, best kicker in the league.
Belmonte also gained post-season accolades, named First Team All-IFL Kicker. And the new guys?
“Mike Green is by far the best DB in this league,” says Back. “He’s made plays in camp where it’s just kind of like everybody looking around like ‘wow.’ That’s pretty awesome. That’s something we didn’t have last year. Not to knock on our guys last year, but Mike’s a different caliber player.”
Green adds, “Last year I was number one defensive back in interceptions. So…I had ten. I had to put it out there! The expectations we’ve set for defense is to be the number one defense. Last year they were the number one offense. They just didn’t have a defense to match.”
“A lot of our players came in with a bitter taste in their mouth after the way we got beat in the playoff game. So, Jarve Dean came up with can we get “unfinished business” on our shirts, and make that our motto. And I said, yeah, that’s exactly what we need to do because we felt like we need some business on the table. I’m excited just to see that first opening kick off here on February 18th. Just to get the butterflies to go away. Because it’s nerve wrecking. Until you find out and these guys take the field and you see what you really have.”