The Winfield High School football team is an inigma.
Then again, so is El Dorado.
When the Wildcats (3-2, 2-1 AV-CTL D-III) converge tonight on Richard L. Jantz Stadium to take on the Vikings (1-6, 0-3), literally anything can happen.
Win-loss records favor El Dorado. But statistics favor the Vikings.
Winfield has played a brutal schedule that included state powers Buhler, McPherson and Perry-Lecompton. When the 3-3 Rockets were home last weekend to play Winfield, it appeared — on paper — to be a fairly even matchup. However, the Vikings’ 48-7 loss would beg to differ.
So up comes the Wildcats, who usually battle Towanda-Circle for last place in Division III. Oh, the Vikings didn’t get to play Circle — due to COVID-19 issues in Towanda, Winfield instead had to play Class 3A State runner-up Perry-Lecompton.
El Dorado had COVID-19 issues as well, and missed two games on the schedule because of it. So their 3-2 record actually puts them third in the Class 4A West Regional standings.
The Wildcats could still miss out on playing host to a Week 9 playoff game. While the Vikings are assured of going on the road next weekend, a Winfield victory could be disaster for El Dorado because fourth-place Rose Hill is the only other team in the region with a record better than .500.
The Vikings still need this one — no doubt about it.
Winfield’s only victory was a 14-12 Week 2 squeaker against Labette County (2-5). However, the Vikings lost a heartbreaker two weeks ago at Augusta on a last-minute touchdown.
Winfield’s biggest issue is health. The Vikings have been battered and bruised, including tailback Ar’mon Acosta, who was knocked out of last week’s game. Mavrick Thomas (13-52) and Justyce Tate (13-35) filled in admirably for Acosta, and Winfield finished with 100 rushing yards on 35 tries.
Quarterback Riley Yingling finished 7-of-14 passing for 78 yards, 37 of them on one pass to Braden Ledford.
El Dorado’s confidence comes by virtue of a 14-7 victory against Augusta in Week 2, and a 32-14 trouncing of Labette County a week later — both struggles for the Vikings.
The Wildcats rarely throw the ball, relying on a bevy of backs led by tailback Zach Wittenberg, who has 370 yards and three touchdowns on 72 carries, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Jaydon Sundgren (20-168 1 TD) is averaging an eye-popping 8.4 yards per tote, while quarterback Gannon White has 156 yards and two scores on 29 carries (5.4 ypc). Drew Veatch (19-156 3 TD) is averaging a whopping 8.2 yards per carry.
White has only played in three games, completing just 4 of 14 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown, that going to Barry Summers (2-49).
Ironically, if the season ended yesterday, the Vikings would play their Week 9 playoff game at ... El Dorado.