McMullen: The Mid-Mo Outlaws will Return

June 11, 2013

It has been a tough season for Sedalia’s very own professional indoor football team, the Mid-Missouri Outlaws.

Their status as a founding member of the Champions Indoor Professional Football League did not do them any favors in the matter of gridiron success.

The home opener against the Lincoln Haymakers resulted in a loss, but it still left us with hope: the Outlaws only lost by one possession and they would surely be able to turn a close game into a win sooner rather than later.

But when the Outlaws traveled to Bloomington, Ill. to wage sport on the Edge, expectations began to sink. The second game of the season saw an even bigger deficit than the first. The Outlaws got run out of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum, 54-3.

The next two games weren’t pretty but they also weren’t 51 point losses. That elusive spark of hope found its way through the darkness one last time on April 14 when the Outlaws fell to the Oklahoma Defenders by only two points. It turns out that a two-point deficit would be the closest that Sedalia’s team would come to a win all season.

The situation only got worse from there — around the same time the Outlaws lost Smith-Cotton High School graduate Kyle Middleton, who had been starting at quarterback for the Outlaws for seven seasons. And it would seem that his departure left a major hole in the most vital position on the field and the deficits began to pile up.

Against the Wichita Wild, they lost by 73 points; 57 to the Omaha Beef; 50 to the Sioux City Bandits; and by 40 in the second game against the Bloomington Edge. They only lost by 25 when they hosted the Salina Bombers only to lose to the Wild again. To be fair they made progress — they only lost by 58 points. The Wild alone scored 131 unanswered points against the Outlaws this season and were clearly the best at handling them, no matter where the game was going on.

And while the loss of their starting quarterback is certainly a factor, another reason for the big deficits near the end was the now clear fact that the Outlaw schedule was inadvertently back-loaded with the best teams in the league.

In their last six games the Outlaws played all four teams that would eventually secure a spot in the CPIFL playoffs. This included two games against the Wichita Wild and three road games against the best teams in the league.

The Outlaws ended the season 0-12, and their season is officially over. The next team up on the standings, the Kansas Koyotes, only have one win and I bet you can guess where it came from.

The other Big 12 teams like seeing the Kansas Jayhawks on their football schedule each year because they know that it is probably going to be a win. They might be able to play some football in Salina and Wichita and even Manhattan but for two years running that team from Lawrence hasn’t won a single conference game.

Big 10 football has Indiana, The ACC has Boston College, and the AFC South has the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But that’s the thing about most sports teams: they’re not going to win all the time. The true fan sticks with their team through thick and thin and might even find that the thin makes the thick even more sweet. You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have: sports.

So the Outlaws had a rough time in a new league. So the Missouri Tigers had a rough time in a new conference. So what? That doesn’t give us free reign to abandon them or disparage them. The Outlaws will be back — maybe not next year or the year after that. After all, their talent pool is probably not great compared to the other large communities that have teams in the league in a purely numerical sense. But they won’t give up and we can’t either. They will be back and one day they’ll even conquer the CPIFL itself.

Good try, Outlaws! We’ll see you next season.