Nobody is thinking ahead to what could happen in two weeks.
OK, almost nobody is thinking ahead.
After all, the Arkansas City High School football team has a roughly four-hour drive today when they take on the Ulysses Tigers in the KSHSAA Class 4A Week 9 playoffs in Ulysses, a town of about 6,000 residents 32 miles or so east of the Colorado state line on U.S. 160.
A victory against Ulysses, coupled with a Winfield win tonight at home against El Dorado, would pit the Bulldogs against the arch rival Vikings next weekend in the 4A Regionals in Winfield.
That isn’t a real big “if.”
The Vikings have already beaten El Dorado once this season in AV-CTL D-III play, 17-0 in Week 6 at El Dorado.
Ark City hasn’t played the Tigers (5-3), or anyone else on their schedule, but put their schedule into perspective.
Ulysses’ toughest game of the season was in Week 1, a 36-0 blanking at home against Class 3A Colby (8-0). In fact, the Tigers opened with four straight games against 3A opponents, going 2-2. They won 49-12 at Goodland (1-7) and 29-16 at nearby Hugoton (4-4) before falling 27-7 at home to Scott City (6-2).
Their first 4A competition was a 42-3 loss at Pittsburg — a little more than a six-hour road trip.
Then they went just south of Ark City in Week 6 to pick up a 28-6 victory against Newkirk, Okla. (0-8) — a team that has been outscored 342-24 with five losses by shutout.
Ulysses defeated Labette County (3-5) 17-13 two weeks ago, and is coming off a 48-6 pasting of Abilene (0-8), the No. 16 seed in the West that has been outscored 265-63 this season.
Not exactly the Wichita Metro AV-CTL D-II schedule the Bulldogs have faced.
The No. 12 seed Bulldogs (2-6) survived that brutal schedule with a freshman quarterback and now look to repeat last year’s run deep into the playoffs.
Ark City was just a few mistakes last Thursday from an upset of Class 4A No. 5-ranked Andover Central.
The Bulldogs (2-6) committed three turnovers, none most costly than a 99-yard pick-6 when they were driving in for the tying score. Actually, all three turnovers were cashed in to touchdowns.
Welch finished 11-of-26 passing for 173 yards, hitting senior Jamauri Jordan on a 6-yard scoring strike. Daigen Moulton caught three passes for 100 yards.
Ark City held the Jaguars to 65 rushing yards and 4 of 15 on third- and fourth-down conversions. The Bulldogs did allow 162 yards through the air, but that likely won’t be an issue tonight.
Ulysses amassed 446 total yards last Friday against Abilene, but 409 were on the ground. Quarterback Jordan Stein threw for just 37 yards and was intercepted three times.
The ground game accounted for six touchdowns, and the Tigers scored on four of their first five possessions. Nick Homes and Edgar Soto scored two TDs apiece, one of Soto’s coming on a 54-yard run. Oscar Martinez also found the end zone on a 90-yard TD run, and Evan Cortez tacked on a late 47-yard TD run.
The Tigers held Abilene to 221 total yards and forced three turnovers.