INDOOR FOOTBALL: West Texas Warbirds set to kick off home schedule

The West Texas Warbirds’ dress rehearsal is out of the way, the team having successfully traveled to Amarillo last week to work out the bugs.

Now it’s time to raise the curtain at home.

After a delay of more than a year and on the heels of their season-opening victory, the Warbirds will host the Amarillo Venom at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ector County Coliseum.

“It’s exciting to be able to play at home,” Warbirds head coach Tate Smith said. “I thought we had a good opening game last week in Amarillo and now we hope to put on a good show for our fans.”

The Warbirds defeated Amarillo, 38-28, at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Quarterback Daniel Smith threw three touchdown passes, running back Tim Whitfield scored twice and Levi Shetler returned an interception for a touchdown in the victory.

Smith threw for more than 200 yards in the opener, yet Coach Smith feels his quarterback still has room for improvement.

“I thought he played well and managed the game well,” Smith said. “He made some really good throws; throws that I didn’t anticipate him making.

“If we can fix his eyes and his feet a little bit, that will help him get that much better.”

The Warbirds also got solid play from Whitfield, who had more than 100 yards of combined offense on the night, including a 48-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to give West Texas a 10-0 lead.

Smith was happy with the offensive output, but more impressed with the way the running back did the little things to help make the team successful.

“He hung in there and picked up a couple blitzed that bought the quarterback some time to get the ball away,” Smith said.

This is the first of four consecutive regular-season home games for the Warbirds.

They will host Arlington on June 19, San Antonio on June 26 and then the Texas Jets on July 10 following a break for the holiday.

After that it’s the first round of the playoffs on July 17, followed by the league’s championship game on July 24.

Both postseason contests are scheduled for Ector County Coliseum.

Smith is looking forward to the challenges.

“It’s been a long time since these guys (West Texas fans) have had an indoor team,” he said. “The energy around town, knowing something new is coming back, something that people enjoy, has been great.

“It was tough when the previous team packed up and left. We are trying to do things right, with local guys that know the town overseeing things and we’re just trying to put on a good show and have some family entertainment that’s nice for everyone.”

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