By John Curtis
Dodge City Daily Globe
The Dodge City Law made their debut Saturday night at United Wireless Arena with a party atmosphere and pinball-style scoring in a 60-16 exhibition victory over the Missouri Mustangs.
The Law had been waiting to show off since owner/general manager Ricky Bertz announced the franchise in September and the city seemed to have been on pins and needles as well considering the line waiting to get into the facility an hour before the start of the game.
"For me it was exciting to finally playing in Dodge City," Bertz said. "We were excited that we finally made it happen after six months of hard work and I think everybody who attended the game was excited about what they saw on the field."
Bertz said he did not have an official attendance mark for the game, but there were only about 500 tickets available by 3 p.m., so he guessed more than 3,700 attended the exhibition.
The Law had a lot of interaction with the fans before, after and even during the game with the closeness of the spectators to the field. Players were giving high-fives and shaking hands on the sidelines and in the endzone, and fans also were hoping to get a football they were allowed to keep if it went into the crowd.
The team introduced Marshal, the team's mascot, and the Gunpowder Girls before the game, as well as team introductions. The players and the cheerleaders also signed autographs for those in attendance on the field after the game.
Law head coach Sean Ponder was interested with how cohesive all the units were during the game. Ponder didn't think he was going to have to make many moves between Saturday's exhibition and the season opener Sunday at Omaha.
"The one thing I really liked was that the team kind of stuck together," Ponder said. "We played consistently defensively and we scored on every possession in the first half. I just wanted to see how the team would react to each other and the team chemistry; and I thought it was fantastic.
"The greatest thing was to have that family entertainment. The crowd was fantastic and got behind us. It's all about entertainment and winning football games and we did that."
Running back D.D. Holyfield scored the first Law touchdown less than two minutes into the contest and defensive back DeaJohn Love scored a minute later on a 40-yard interception return to make the score 14-0. Love did a backwards flip in the end zone to celebrate his score.
Holyfield scored another touchdown early in the second quarter and Dominique Carson scored his first touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter to build the lead to 26; before the Mustangs got on the board with a 23-yard field goal by Brent Laughman.
Quarterback Charles McCullen and receiver Kendrick Ings connected for touchdown passes at the end of the second quarter and to begin the scoring in the third quarter to increase the margin to 40-3. McCullen hit Ings for a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter and they combined for a 30-yard score in the third.
The Law got their second interception returned for a touchdown midway through the third when Mike Bragg scored from 16 yards away; and Dodge City made it 54-3 on Carson's second seven-yard touchdown run.
Missouri got their first touchdown midway through the final quarter when Ryan Jones scooped up a fumble and ran 47 yards for the score; but the Law quickly answered back when Cashman Thomas took the ensuing kickoff 55 yards for the final touchdown for the home squad.
The final score for Missouri was a 25-yard pass from Charles Smith to Shane Kilson.
Kickoff for the opening regular season game in the Law's inaugural season Sunday against the Beef will be at 3 p.m.
LAW 60, MUSTANGS 16
Missouri 0 3 0 13 — 16
Dodge City 14 19 14 13 — 60
D — Holyfield 4 run (Burkhard kick)
D — Love 40 intercetption return (Burkhard kick)
D — Holyfield 7 run (kick failed)
D — Carson 7 run (kick failed)
M — Laughman 23 FG
D — Ings 10 pass from McCullen (Burkhard kick)
D — Ings 30 pass from McCullen (Burkhard kick)
D — Bragg 16 interception return (Burkhard kick)
D — Carson 7 run (kick failed)
M — Jones 47 fumble return (Laughman kick)
D — Thomas 55 kickoff return (run failed)
M — Kilson 25 pass from Smith (run failed)
(No individual statistics available)