An interesting matchup awaits the Winfield High School football team tonight when the Augusta Orioles pay a visit to Richard L. Jantz Stadium in an AV-CTL D-III showdown.
On paper, it is a winnable game for the Vikings (3-1, 1-1 AV-CTL D-III).
The only common opponent is hapless Towanda-Circle, a team that the Vikings thrashed 59-0 two weeks ago. The Thunderbirds, who finally scored last week in a 39-20 loss at Rose Hill after opening the season with three consecutive shutouts, lost to Augusta 28-0 in Week 2.
The tough opponent for the Orioles in the early going was Andover Central, which resulted in a 35-7 Week-1 loss. Augusta also lost 35-24 to Buhler two weeks ago.
The Vikings are coming off a 28-7 victory against formidable Labette County.
Tailback Nolan Foust turned in a solid performance with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, a perfect blend for the passing game. Quarterback KC Crandall completed 10 of 17 passes for 150 yards, with nearly half of the yards coming on an 84-yard touchdown catch by Braden Ledford, who finished with 128 yards on just five catches.
Crandall gave Winfield another option with 28 yards and a TD on six carries.
The difference in the game, however, might have been defense. The Vikings forced five turnovers, picking off LCHS quarterback Kooper Peak three times. The only blemish on the night was a busted play where Peak completed a 72-yard TD pass to Nathan Smith to prevent the shutout.
The Orioles (2-2, 1-1) might counter with some razzle-dazzle from their victory against winless Wellington.
Augusta fake-punted on several second-half plays, and needed a blocked field goal by Ely Wilcox with 4:27 remaining.
Quarterback Ryan Andrews scored on a pair of short touchdown runs, and Hunter Anderson added a late 5-yard TD run to spell the difference.
While it’s still early, the Vikings have put themselves in excellent position to play host to a Week 9 playoff game.
Winfield sits in fourth place in the KSHSAA Class 4A West Regional standings, behind state powers McPherson, Buhler and Andover Central — all with 4-0 records.
The Vikings follow tonight’s game with a two-game road trip to El Dorado (2-2) and Wellington — both winnable games — before returning home in Week 8 to face Buhler.