McPHERSON — Two straight football games against state powers, two gutsy performances.
Two bitter disappointments.
The Winfield Vikings marched Friday night into McPherson expecting victory — something the Vikings might not have imagines in years past. Which likely makes this one sting the worst.
The Vikings fumbled on their first possession in overtime, sealing a 21-14 victory by the host and Class 4A No. 3-ranked Bullpups.
“I don’t believe in moral victories — I just don’t — never have,” WHS coach Monty Lewis said. “I know that our players need to learn how to win and that statement is always made without any follow-up as to how a team learns to. I believe that you have to have the mental focus that allows you as a player — or even a coach — to move past mistakes that you’ve made during the game itself. Also moving past the good plays are equally important. ‘‘Be here — right now.’”
McPherson took the ball first in overtime and called three straight running plays, the final a 1-yard touchdown run by Aiden Hoover. Brother Blaise Hoover kicked the extra point and it was Winfield’s turn.
Senior tailback Ar’mon Acosta took a handoff on first down for a 7-yard run to the 3. But on second down, quarterback Riley Yingling was stripped by McPherson defensive end Curtis Landrum and Collin Pearson pounced on it to end the game.
Yingling, who returned despite suffering a dislocated thumb in the Week 1 Cowley Cup victory against Arkansas City, showed no rust with a 105-yard rushing effort on 22 carries. McPherson held him to 5-of-14 passing for 80 yards, the majority of them coming on a 60-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter that gave the Vikings (4-0, 2-0 AV-CTL D-III) a 6-0 lead. That play was set up when the Bullpups were called for roughing the punter on fourth-and-16.
Yingling’s 34-yard touchdown keeper in the third quarter, coupled with a 2-point run by junior Kody Brenn, gave the Vikings (2-2, 0-2) a 14-7 lead with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
The lead stood up until early in the fourth quarter when McPherson tailback scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge. Gumm scored from 16 yards out in the second quarter.
The Vikings marched downfield, but Bryant missed on a 44-yard field goal try with three seconds left.
“I saw those opportunities slip past us due to a lack of focus, which led to mental errors,” Lewis said. “Turnovers continue to cost us dearly — in my mind we win both games if we don’t turn it over — period (taking nothing away from Buhler or Mac).”
The Winfield defense forced four turnovers, snuffing out McPherson’s second drive of the game when senior Eli Heger intercepted Hunter Alvord on second-and-goal at the WHS 9.That set up the big pass play between Yinging and Acosta for the first points of the game.
Senior Lance Austin forced a fumble that was recovered by senior Parker Smith on the next McPherson drive. However, the Bullpups cashed in a Winfield fumble on Gumm’s 16-yard TD run.
Senior Tanner Bruce forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore Zerrick Vargas in the second quarter. The Vikings were forced to punt, but Austin picked off an Avord pass.
Alvord finished 8-of-15 passing for 81 yards, with the two picks. Gumm amassed 165 yards on 22 carries.
The Vikings are on the road again this Friday at Towanda-Circle. The Thunderbirds (2-2, 1-1) lost 28-14 to Mulvane on Friday.
“We weren’t ‘beat,’ we lost — there is a difference,” Lewis said. “We know that physical effort and play will always give you a chance to win. Now we’ve experienced what happens when we lose mental focus. I expect our football family to respond and put both together down the stretch — that’s the Viking standard.”
McPherson 21, Winfield 14
Winfield 6 0 8 0 0 — 14
McPherson 0 7 0 7 7 — 21
W — Ar’mon Acosta 60 pass from Riley Yingling (kick failed), 3:07.
M — Jaytin Gumm 16 run (Blaise Hoover kick), 9:11.
W — Yingling 34 run (Kody Brenn 2-point run), 7:56.
M — Gumm 1 run (B. Hoover kick), 10:32.
M — Aiden Hoover 2 run (B. Hoover kick).
First Downs 16 21
by Run 12 14
by Pass 2 4
by Penalty 2 3
3rd Down Conv 4-15 3-9
4th Down Conv 3-6 2-2
Rush Att-Yards 47-178 39-224
Passing Yards 80 81
Pass Comp-Att-Int 5-16-1 8-15-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-3 2-13
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-2
Kickoff Ret-Yards 3-50 2-52
Punt Ret-Yards 1-13 0
Punts No.-Avg Yards 4-36.2 3-36.3
Penalties-Yards 8-76 6-60
Time of Poss 29:52 18:08
RUSHING — Winfield, Riley Yingling 22-105, Ar’mon Acosta 19-57, Justyce Tate 4-10, Parker Smith 2-6. McPherson, Jaytin Gumm 22-165, Hunter Alvord 5-27, Sky Schriner 7-16, Tucker Pelnar 2-15, Aiden Hoover 1-1, Jayden Dukes 2-0.
PASSING — Winfield, Riley Yingling 5-14-0 80, Ar’mon Acosta 0-2-1 0. McPherson, Hunter Alvord 8-15-2 81.
RECEIVING — Winfield, Ar’mon Acosta 4-75, Eli Heger 1-5.
McPherson, Trey Buckbee 3-38, Tucker Pelnar 2-20, Sam Becker 1-12, Ayden Johnson 1-6, Braeden Ediger 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Winfield, Austin Bryant, 44.