Picture by Brad Anderson, pictured is Zach Miller, Stocton Timbrook and Devin Alvarez
ABILENE – The Abilene Cowboy football team won their first home playoff game since 2011 Friday night in a 38-12 victory over Ark City. Abilene improved to 7-2 with the victory and will host Andover Central in the second round Friday. Andover Central defeated Independence 41-20 in their opening round game.
Friday night, Abilene got off to a fast start like they hoped against an Ark City team that has had recent success in the post season despite having not always having the best record. The Bulldogs compete in Division II of the AVCTL and play a mostly 5A schedule. In 2020 they had only 2 wins as they entered the post-season but made it to the State Championship game. Last season, they finished 3-7 but won in the first round at Buhler. This season Ark City finished the year 1-8.
Ark City opened the game with a turnover. Bulldog Quarterback, Jordey Pierce, was intercepted by Brax Fisher. Abilene would score 7 plays later on a Stocton Timbrook to Weston Rock 4 yard pass play. The score came with 9:06 to play in the opening quarter, to give Abilene 7-0 lead. Timbrook would find Rock again on the Cowboy’s second possession, on a 17 yard pass play. That touchdown increased the Abilene lead to 13-0 with 3:29 left in the 1st quarter.
In the second quarter Timbrook found Brax Fisher on 4th down on a 9 yard pass play. The score increased the Abilene lead to 20-0 with 10:22 to play in the half. The Cowboys then turned to their defense. Joseph Welsh forced a fumble and it was returned 20 yards by Heath Hoekman for a touchdown. Abilene led 26-0 with 9:35 left in the half on the defensive score. Welsh was the Nex-Tech Wireless Defensive P.O.G. He had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the win.
Ark City then scored their first points on an usual play. Pierce passed to Hayden Lucas, who had it deflect off his hands and into the hands of Bryan Wilson who raced it in from 45 yards out. The Bulldog touchdown came with 2 minutes left in the half to cut the lead to 26-6.
Abilene started the scoring in the second half with a 5 yard run by Zach Miller. He scored with 6:42 to play in the 3rd quarter, to increase the Cowboy lead to 32-6. Ark City scored their final points on a Trace Rider 14 yard reception. He got in the endzone with 2:34 to play in the 3rd quarter. That touchdown came after an Abilene interception was taken away on a targeting call.
The Cowboys finished the scoring on a Miller 1 yard run with 10:12 left in the game. Miller was the Nex-Tech Wireless P.O.G. He finished with 26 carries for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was joined in the honor by his line: Tyler Holloway, Devin Alvarez, Gavin Runyon, Hunter Clark and Sam Whitehair.
Abilene’s opponent next week, Andover Central, is in the same division of the AVCTL as Ark City. The Jaguars defeated Ark City 25-6 on September 15. Andover Central is 6-3 on the season and are the #6 seed in the 4A West bracket.