Indoor football: Chris Wallace returns, Tarpons rout Voodoo for first win of season
ESTERO — The Florida Tarpons got a much-needed boost from a local indoor football legend on Sunday that might just help them turn around this season.
Quarterback Chris Wallace returned to the Tarpons, and threw seven touchdown passes as Florida drilled the Missouri Voodoo, 79-13, at Germain Arena.
Wallace, who left arenafootball2 as the all-time leading passer after his stint with the Florida Firecats, retired from professional football after leading the Tarpons to the 2013 UIFL Ultimate Bowl championship. Florida coach Michael Taylor enticed Wallace to put the pads back on.
“(The Tarpons) contacted me and said that they were looking for a quarterback,” Wallace said. “We made sure the schedule worked, and it all worked out and I was able to get back. It’s nice to get these boys back in the win column.”
“It’s a huge difference in the level of play (with Wallace back),” Taylor said. “He brings leadership to these guys. We have a lot of young guys, and when you have a leader that is a vocal leader it makes a big difference.”
Florida (1-2) scored the first 58 points of the game as an overwhelmed Missouri team struggled to defend and move the ball.
Former USF running back Mike Ford opened the game’s scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. The Tarpons quickly added two more touchdowns after capitalizing on Voodoo turnovers, and led 24-0 after the first quarter.
The Voodoo (0-3) had four downs from the 1-yard line to try and get on the board late early in the second quarter, but failed to get in on three running plays and threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Just three plays later, the Tarpons built a 32-0 lead after former Florida Gators and Dunbar High standout Markihe Anderson snagged a 35-yard touchdown pass from Wallace. Anderson was a two-way standout for the Tarpons as he caught four touchdown passes from Wallace and had three interceptions, one of which he returned 36 yards untouched for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
“Markihe is a great player,” Taylor said. “Him playing both offense and defense makes him a very valuable member of the team.”
Former NC State linebacker and Fort Myers High graduate Ray Michel gave Florida a 51-0 lead heading into the halftime break with a 13-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Tarpons will look to avenge a 68-38 loss to Corpus Christi on Saturday when they play the Fury on the road.
“I don’t think Southwest Florida is used to be 0-2 anytime we play football,” Wallace said. “We really wanted to get a win.”
TARPONS 79, VOODOO 13
Missouri 0 0 6 7 — 13
Florida 24 27 14 14 — 79
Florida — Ford 1 run (Singleton pass from Wallace)
Florida — Anderson 18 pass from Wallace (Singleton pass from Wallace)
Florida — Singleton 45 pass from Wallace (Ford run)
Florida — Anderson 35 pass from Wallace (Wallace run)
Florida — Singleton 31 pass from Wallace (run failed)
Florida — Anderson 36 INT return (kick failed)
Florida — Michel 13 INT return (Hernandez kick)
Florida — Anderson 14 pass from Wallace (Hernandez kick)
Missouri — Thomas 2 run (kick failed)
Florida — Singleton 29 pass from Wallace (Hernandez Kick)
Florida — Anderson 28 pass from Wallace (Hernandez kick)
Florida — Ford 2 run (Hernandez kick)
Missouri — Cross 19 pass from Gerald (Halloway kick)