WHEATLAND – A year ago the Wheatland Bulldogs went into Upton-Sundance undefeated and were ambushed by a team which eventually only lost one game in the regular season.
That same team came to play on Bulldog soil this year, not having played here since 2018. In the past three years, the Dogs have been 0-3 against the Bearcats and have been outscored 152-62. Déjà vu would have given the nod to Upton-Sundance, coming into an almost exact situation as last year.
Both teams undefeated. Both teams ranked. The Bulldogs the underdogs in this conference battle.
This year would be different. A year to finally “get off the schneid” and to claim dominance, Wheatland prevailed in a hard-fought contest 38-28 and continued to be ranked in the top spot according to Wyopreps.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead with a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by Rodee Brow followed by Kade Preuit’s run for the two-point conversion. Upton-Sundance countered with a bomb that caught the secondary in a confused transition and came within two points.
With the score close, the Bobcats were threatening again in the Bulldog redzone. On the verge of disaster and depleting the wind out of the sails of the Bulldogs, momentum was changed in an instant as Jake Hicks picked off a Bobcat pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards for another Bulldog score.
Although the 2-1 Upton-Sundance team was strong and persistent, the Dogs held the line and came out the victors.
The Bulldogs would end up with 271 yds offense on the night but that number doesn’t include some big plays made by the defense and specials teams.
“We played well all night as a whole but we gave up 4 big plays that hurt,” said head coach Cody Bohlander. “If we limit those plays we win the game 38 to 6, but we were able to push through and get the win. We are just focusing on getting better each week and making sure we do things right, not trying to play perfect games but putting together 4 solid quarters.”
Aric Suko had another big night rushing with 137 yds on the ground. Overall, the defense played well with 4 mistakes that were costly.
“Petroski, Hicks and Borton were our defensive leaders,” Bohlander said. “We are glad to move to 4-0 but definitely know we have work to still to do make sure we can stay on top.”
The Bulldogs who moved to 4-0 on the season will be on the road for the next two weeks, traveling this Friday to Glenrock (2-2) for a 7 p.m. kickoff and the following week will travel to Burns (1-3). Wheatland will return for its homecoming game Oct. 8 against Tongue River (3-1).