A victory tonight and Vikings could play host to arch rival Bulldogs again

Winfield High School senior wide receiver Chance Price runs past the block of junior Aidan Harper after catching a screen pass last Friday against Buhler at Richard L. Jantz Stadium. The 14 seniors on the Vikings’ roster will have at least one and possibly two more home games as the KSHSAA Class 4A State playoffs begin tonight with a Week 9 playoff game against El Dorado.

What is on the minds of many Cowley County football fans is the very likelihood of next week’s Cowley Cup rematch against Arkansas City.

Winfield stunned the Bulldogs with a 20-18 victory on an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior KC Crandall to senior Chance Price with 24 seconds left in that one.

A victory tonight for the Vikings (5-3) against El Dorado, and a win for Ark City tonight at Ulysses would pit the arch rivals in a rematch of that Week 1 extravaganza.

Not much has changed for a Wildcats team that lost to the Vikings 17-0 in AV-CTL D-III play on Oct. 11 in El Dorado.

At least they’re not the Buhler Crusaders.

A year ago, Winfield fell to the Crusaders in the regular-season finale, then had to travel a week later to Buhler for a repeat performance.

Not only are they not the Crusaders, but the No. 13-seeded Wildcats (2-6) stumble into the playoffs having lost four straight, having been outscored 93-24 in that span.

The fourth-seeded Vikings aren’t exactly on a roll, having lost back-to-back games to Wellington and Buhler after a four-game winning streak.

Winfield’s victory against the Wildcats clinched home field for this Week 9 game.

In that one, the Vikings were held to 102 total yards and were 3 of 11 on third-down conversions. The only real offense Winfield produced was a 17-yard touchdown run by senior Nolan Foust near the end of the first half. Freshman Austin Bryant’s 27-yard field goal was the only scoring in the second half.

The Winfield defense played as solid a game as possible, though, forcing six fumbles and recovering two of them, including one for a touchdown by Riley Yingling. The Vikings held El Dorado quarterback Gannon White to 2-of-3 passing for 13 yards, and the Wildcats finished with a scant 54 total yards.

That defense was solid again last Friday, except for three backbreaking second-half plays: a 65-yard TD pass from Bradley Neill to Briggam McCurdy, and Austin Gentry touchdown runs of 56 and 69 yards. Take away those three plays and the Crusaders finished with 104 total yards.

Winfield’s ground game needs to be alive in order for Crandall the ability to take to the air.

The Vikings netted just 56 rushing yards two weeks ago in a stunning 14-13 loss at Wellington, but Crandall threw for 171 yards on 21-of-33 passing.

Regardless of the outcome of that “other” game, a Winfield victory and the Vikings remain home for next weekend’s Class 4A Regionals, and they will remain home as long as they are the higher seeded team. However, any team advancing to the Class 4A Sectionals in three weeks is looking at a potential road game at State power McPherson.

The 4A Sectionals — for now, anyway — seem a log way off.

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