Arkansas City has won four straight games in overwhelming fashion, but what the Bulldogs did Friday night was their most impressive performance yet. They whipped host Andover Central 41-20, completely dominating the lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“Our mindset was that we were the better team and we could go in there and beat them,” said Ark City senior Marcus Banks, who plays on the offensive and defensive lines. “We were taught to play physical and that’s what we do. That’s the best we’ve played as a team.”
Ark City's offense gained 437 yards of offense - 347 in the first half. Its defense shut out Central in the second and third quarters. The Bulldogs ended the third quarter by sacking Jaguar quarterback Blake Meier three straight times - with Banks in on all three of them - setting up fourth down and 36.
The series before that, Meier was sacked on back-to-back plays.
Meanwhile, Ark City’s offensive line paved the way for quarterback Riley Dowler to rush for 134 yards – all but one coming in the first half – on 18 carries. Ark City’s first play from scrimmage was an 85-yard touchdown pass from Dowler to Kacy Ternes.
Ark City tailback Tyler Tracy gained 131 yards on 14 carries.
“Our defensive line gelled pretty early,” Ark City coach Jon Wiemers said. “And our offensive line, over the last three games, has figured it out.”
By halftime, Dowler had added three more rushing touchdowns from 11, 33 and 2 yards. By the middle of the fourth quarter, he had been replaced by backup Tyler Southerland.
“Our offensive line just keeps pushing and pushing,” Dowler said. “Our whole thing is to just keep getting better each week.”
Dowler also completed 7 of 11 passes for 142 yards. He was intercepted on his last pass attempt; Meier was intercepted twice.
Ark City (5-2) didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs handed Andover Central (2-5) its fourth straight loss. It was their second victory in Andover District Stadium this season – not only are the only team to defeat Andover High this season, they shut the Trojans out.
Still, Weimers called Friday the team’s best game so far, despite being charged 12 penalties for 112 yards.
“I think without a doubt it probably was,” Weimer said. “Beside the stupid procedural stuff we have to get cleaned up, that game was something else. I think they play hard and believe in themselves. As long as we continue to do that, good things will happen.”