Records often can be deceiving, as is the case for the Winfield High School football team as the Vikings head into play tonight at streaky Rose Hill.
The Vikings (1-5) have just one victory, and that was by only two points. But the quality of opposition is evident — Class 5A Arkansas City, 4A state powers Buhler and McPherson, and Class 3A State runner-up Perry Lecompton.
The toughest loss, however, was the last one, when Augusta scored a touchdown in the final minute to stun the Vikings 41-35 last weekend.
“The positive part was that we came back. We’re down 28-6 and sitting there with a 1-4 record, not playing very well in the couple of weeks beforehand. I was proud of the kids for the way they battled back,” WHS coach Linn Hibbs said. “You battle your way back in and play a team you match up with a little bit better, but there’s nothing you can do about it now. We just go back and try to do it again this week.”
The Rockets (3-3) have won three straight after losing the first three games of the season. Of those, only Class 3A Andale would be considered a state power.
The Orioles are the only common opponent. Augusta fell to the Rockets 28-26 in Week 4.
“They played Collegiate, they played Andale, they beat Wellington. They have a good group,” Hibbs said. “Coach (lee) Weber does a good job up there. They have a quarterback that throws the ball and run around real well.”
Hibbs added the Rockets have a Division I lineman in 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior Noah Bolticoff.
Quarterback Bryson Evans threw touchdown passes to three targets last weekend in Rose Hill’s 46-6 victory against Mulvane.
Bryce Bischler caught two TD passes, Trevor Kiser hauled in a 23-yard TD pass, and Spencer Nolan caught a 58-yard TD pass and ran 12 yards for another score. Keegan Beavers scored the first touchdown as the Rockets took a 39-0 halftime lead by cashing in three fumble recoveries leading to scores.
Winfield trailed 28-12 at halftime last week at Augusta, but stormed back to tie the game 35-35 with 2:02 remaining on quarterback Riley Yingling’s fourth touchdown run of the game. But the Orioles scored the winning touchdown with 17 seconds left.
Yingling was held to 92 yards on 7-of-22 passing, and finished with 68 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
Junior tailback Ar’mon Acosta piled up 230 yards on 24 carries, but had to leave the game due to an unspecified injury. His status for tonight is unknown.
“I really can’t comment on injuries a lot,” Hibbs said. “Hopefully he can play.
“We continue to make progress offensively,” Hibbs added. “I feel our offensive line is coming together real well. Riley Yingling is continuing to improve each week. The final quarter not having Acosta and still being able to score two touchdowns was nice.”
As it stands, the Vikings are on the outside looking in at playing a Week 9 playoff game at home.
Winfield and Wellington are both 1-5, Mulvane is 1-4 and Towanda-Circle is 1-3, with Augusta and Ark City at 2-4 and three teams tied with 3-3 records in the Class 4A West Regional. The Vikings need wins tonight and next Friday at home against El Dorado (2-2), then get some help from teams above them.
The top eight teams in the regional play at home in Week 9.
“There’s still some good possibilities for us out there if we just take care of business and execute better,” Hibbs said. “Even at 3-5, even if we can get to that point, in the standings you have the big three there, then the rest are just bunched together. A lot of different things can happen.”