ULYSSES — When the Ulysses High School football team won the toss to start Friday night’s KSHSAA Class 4A Week 9 playoff game against visiting Arkansas City, the Tigers elected to defer and receive the ball to start the second half.
Little did the Tigers know they would be facing a 34-point deficit by then.
The Bulldogs had their way with Ulysses, rolling to a 55-17 victory at Maxwell Field.
Ark City used a balanced offensive attack, piling up 514 total yards, and a stifling defense that has become a trademark.
The result was a resounding victory that sets up a rematch of the Week 1 Cowley Cup game. The Bulldogs will play this Friday at arch rival Winfield at Richard L. Jantz Stadium.
The Vikings stunned Ark City with a 20-18 victory on a last-minute touchdown pass that led to a five-game losing skid.
The Bulldogs (3-6) scored on all four possessions in the first quarter Friday, recovered an onside kick and forced six turnovers. The Tigers (5-4) amassed 327 yards, but were just 2 of 14 on third- and fourth-down conversions.
Tailback Braiden Mattocks had his best game of the season, amassing 196 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He broke free for a 46-yard run on the fourth play of the game that set up his 2-yard touchdown run.
Ark City recovered an onside kick and marched 49 yards, with the help of two Ulysses penalties, before freshman quarterback Gabe Welch plunged in on a 1-yard keeper and it was 14-0 just 4:06 into the game.
Walker Moulton intercepted Ulysses quarterback Jett Moyer and the Bulldogs cashed that in seven plays later when Welch found fellow freshman Cadon Clark on a 17-yard scoring strike.
Welch found Haden O’Toole on a 16-yard pass to set up first-and-goal, and Mattocks bullied his way into the end zone from the 6 to make it 28-0 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.
Welch added a 20-yard touchdown pass to O’Toole with 4:54 left in the first half for a 34-0 lead.
The Tigers finally answered after Oscar Martinez intercepted Welch at the Ulysses 15, and Moyer later found Martinez on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds left in the half.
The Bulldogs capped the 41-point first half with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Welch to Andrew Schnackenberg with 14 seconds left.
The Bulldogs already had amassed 173 rushing yards and three scores by halftime. Mattocks had 137 of the yards and two of the TDs. But all that did was set up Ark City’s passing game, and Welch took advantage with 170 first-half passing yards and three touchdowns.
Tommy Pacheco added a 14-yard TD run and Daigen Moulton hauled in a 23-yard TD pass from Welch in the third quarter.
Moyer connected with Oscar Martinez on a 72-yard touchdown pass one play after Pacheco’s TD run, and Maurice Ochoa booted a 34-yard field goal after Ulysses’ Jace Garrison blocked a punt.
The big pass play made Moyer’s numbers look a bit respectable, but he was just 6-of-20 passing for 161 yards, with four interceptions.
Statistics estimated from KSOK radio feed from Ulysses.
Arkansas City 55, Ulysses 17
AC — Braiden Mattocks 2 run (kick failed), 9:29.
AC — Gabe Welch 1 run (Haden O’Toole run), 7:54.
AC — Cadon Clark 17 pass from Welch (Tommy Pacheco kick), 4:00.
AC — Mattocks 6 run (Pacheco kick), 0:46.
AC — O’Toole 20 pass from Welch (kick failed), 4:54.
U — Oscar Martinez 40 pass from Jett Moyer (Maurice Ochoa kick), 0:53.
AC — Andrew Schnackenberg 14 pass from Welch (Pacheco kick), 0:14.
AC — Pacheco 14 run (Pacheco kick), 7:45.
U — Martinez 72 pass from Moyer (Ochoa kick), n/a.
U — FG, Ochoa, 34, 5:07.
AC — Daigen Moulton 23 pass from Welch (Pacheco kick), 4:23.
3rd Down Conv3-101-10
4th Down Conv2-31-4
RUSHING — Ark City, Braiden Mattocks 21-196, Tommy Pacheco 10-61, Rodolfo Zapata 5-36, Devon Watkins 7-28, Gabe Welch 3-10, Wyatt Bahm 1-0, team 2-(minus 10). Ulysses, Edgar Soto 12-69, Oscar Martinez 5-53, Nick Holmes 9-35, Brennan Vagher 2-11, Jett Moyer 4-1, team 1-(minus 3).
PASSING — Ark City, Gabe Welch 10-16-1 190. Ulysses, Jett Moyer 6-20-4 161.
RECEIVING — Ark City, Haden O’Toole 3-72, Daigen Moulton 3-51, Andrew Schnackenberg 3-51, Cadon Clark 1-17, Braiden Mattocks 1-2. Ulysses, Oscar Martinez 2-112, Yahir Alvarado 1-19, Jordan Sifuentes 1-18, Nick Holmes 2-12.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Ark City, Pacheco, 45 (n/a).