Blatchford and Bucher with the tackle

Arkansas City High School sophomore linebacker Braden Blatchford, left, and senior defensive back Owen Bucher take down Andover Central running back Ashton Barkdull with 8:42 left in the first quarter Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

Arkansas City High School has a chance to have a real special football team next season.

There’s still football to play this season, however.

The young Bulldogs continued to make enough mental and physical mistakes Friday night that visiting Andover Central had little trouble pulling away for a 37-6 victory in AV-CTL D-II action at Bulldog Stadium.

The KSHSAA officially confirmed, the Bulldogs (2-6, 1-5 AV-CTL D-II) travel next Friday to Wellington.

Just four teams in the region had winning records.

The Bulldogs have six sophomores in the starting lineup. And while the underclassmen are gaining valuable experience, they are more than paying their dues this season.

Ark City coughed up three fumbles leading to 17 points Friday.

Coupled with Goddard’s 20-13 loss Friday against Andover, the Jaguars (6-1, 5-1) captured the Division II title.

The Bulldogs played tenacious defense for the most part Friday, but the Jaguars took advantage of good field position, big plays and the turnovers.

The first big play came on the second play of the game, when Jags quarterback Chase White found Jacob Rees for an open pas and Rees rambled down the left sideline en rute to a 63-yard touchdown.

Ark City’s first fumble was cashed in two plays later when White hit Davin Simms for a 6-yard TD pass near the end of the first quarter.

While Ark City’s running game improved to the tune of 68 yards on 30 carries, the Bulldogs continued to have trouble inside the red zone. They marched down to the Jaguar 20-yard line early in the second quarter, but quarterback Gabe Welch was stuffed on fourth-and-1.

Sophomore Trevor Pierce intercepted White with less than five minutes left in the first half, but Welch was sacked on fourth-and-12 at the Andover Central 25.

Ark City lost another fumble on their first drive of the second half, and the Jaguars converted it into a 40-yard field goal by White. And after driving inside the Andover Central 40, Welch threw s desperation incompletion on fourth down as he was being sacked.

Three plays later, White hit Jack Bell wide open across the middle and Bell rambled the final 25 yards into the end zone for a 23-0 lead.

The Bulldogs put together their most complete drive of the game spanning the third and fourth quarters, a nine-play drive that included a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.

That drive threatened to stall inside the red zone reminiscent of last weekend’s home loss to Valley Center, but Welch hit Cadon Clark on an 8-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal.

Ark City’s final miscue, a fumble on a kickoff return, was quickly cashed in two plays later on a 22-yard touchdown pass from White to Simms with 4:40 remaining.

For complete coverage of ACHS sports, see Tuesday’s CourierTraveler.

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