The Arkansas City Bulldogs defeated their rivals, the Winfield Vikings, 13-3. With the win, Ark City is a regional champion and heading to the Class 4A football quarterfinals.
It was the first time Ark City and Winfield met twice in one season. During their regular season meeting, Winfield defeated Ark City 20-18.
The Week 1 loss was the start of a 2-6 regular season for Ark City. The team’s two-win regular season made its odds of seeing the playoffs, let alone becoming regional champion, seem slim to none.
Despite Ark City’s losing record, Coach Jon Wiemers said that all it took were the players locking in and buying into their program to make the playoffs.
“I think (our season turned around with) the kids buying into our culture and what we’re trying to do,” Wiemers said. “It was just believing in that, and at some point that eventually took over.”
The Bulldogs had a chance to redeem themselves for a second-chance Cowley Cup matchup, but they let their nerves get the best of them at the beginning of the game.
Down by three at the half, Ark City was struggling to generate much offense. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that senior Braiden Mattocks ignited the offense and got the Bulldogs on the board.
“We were missing some big plays,” Wiemers said. “The second half I told them ‘Guys you have to calm down. Calm down and just play football.”
Going back to the basics and just playing football is exactly what the team did with the help of Mattocks. The senior ran in for a second touchdown the following drive, securing the playoff win for the Bulldogs.
Mattocks said that the game ultimately came down to who wanted it more. He said that the Bulldogs had the odds stacked against them and wanted to prove to the Cowley County community that they can take down the Vikings.
“We out-efforted them, that’s all there was to it,” Mattocks said. “We went out in the second half and believed we could win the game.”
Ark City will lay No. 1 McPherson in the quarterfinals. Ark City lost by 34 points to McPherson in the 2018 4A quarterfinals.