ALTAMONT — One week after ending a nine-game road losing streak dating back to 2018, the El Dorado Wildcats football team earned a second straight road win on Friday, grounding out a 30-14 victory over Labette County at Lucas Field.
"I’m happy for our kids and our community," said Wildcat coach Wes Bell, whose squad has already matched its win total from all of last year when it finished 2-7. "Someone said it’s been a long time since El Dorado was 2-1. I told them we should be 3-0. I would love to see us finish better and not have turnovers like that. We also had too many foolish penalties, but I’m happy for the kids. The staff put together a good plan on both sides of the ball and, for the most part, the kids executed. We have things we need to continue to improve on, but I’m pleased with where our very young program is to this point in the season."
El Dorado was coming off a 14-7 victory at Augusta a week ago — the team’s first road win since Aug. 31, 2018, when it won at Independence 36-8. The Wildcats moved to 2-1 overall following Friday’s victory and are just a few seconds away from being a perfect 3-0 after losing a 25-20 heartbreaker at home to Independence in week one.
After consecutive road wins, the Wildcats will return home this next Friday to take on Buhler. The Crusaders are currently 1-1 following Friday night’s 21-9 home win over Winfield.
"Buhler is a big boy team in our league," Bell said. "We will have to bring our A game to be able to compete. Right now, we move one day at a time. If we want to be taken serious, these are the opponents we need to compete with."
Much like last week’s win at Augusta — in which the Wildcats ran 81 plays compared to the Orioles’ 28 during the game — El Dorado was hoping to ground things out again against Labette County to control time of possession.
That was definitely the case much of the game, particularly in the first half when it established some lengthy drives on the ground. On the team’s opening possession, the Wildcats marched right down the field, capping things off with a 10-yard touchdown run by Gannon White with 4:42 left in the opening quarter.
Leading 6-0 after one period, El Dorado extended its lead midway through the second quarter with the help of a 14-play, 65-yard drive. Zach Wittenberg, who ran for 167 yards in the win over Augusta, found his way into the end zone from four yards out to give the visitors a 12-0 advantage that they would take into the intermission.
"I think we wore them down, and it showed in the second half," Bell said. "Our program is starting to put things together, and it’s fun for the staff and I to watch. That’s what our plan is every game. We are in year two of our new schemes on both sides of the ball, and the kids are making strides. I’m not concerned about scores really. As long as we keep hammering away, playing hard, tackling in space and taking care of the football, the score will take care of itself."
The teams exchanged turnovers early in the second half before the Wildcats eventually opened things up. Wittenberg scored on a 10-yard run late in the third quarter, and White added a 45-yard scamper for a touchdown early in the fourth to give El Dorado a 24-0 advantage with 10:44 remaining.
Labette County ended the shutout midway through the period on a six-yard pass from Griffin Eaton to Noah Yeoman. But the Wildcats answered moments later on a 13-yard run by Wittenberg — his third rushing touchdown of the game — for a 30-6 edge with 1:49 to go.
The Grizzlies (0-3) added one late score on a two-yard run from Eaton and ensuing conversion run by Harrison Hall for the final margin.
El Dorado 30, Labette County 14
EL DORADO66612 — 30
LABETTE COUNTY00014 — 14
El Dorado — Gannon White 10 run (Run failed)
El Dorado — Zach Wittenberg 4 run (Pass failed)
El Dorado — Zach Wittenberg 10 run (Conversion failed)
El Dorado — Gannon White 45 run (Conversion failed)
Labette County — Noah Yeoman 6 pass from Griffin Eaton (Pass failed)
El Dorado — Zach Wittenberg 13 run (Kick failed)
Labette County — Griffin Eaton 2 run (Harrison Hall run)