Coming into the 2019 season, the Kansas City Bulldogs believed this could be the best year in the history of their program, which spans over a decade. With another undefeated Midwest Football Alliance regular season under their belts and a spot in this weekend’s championship game, they are right on track to fulfillment.
“Another title would mean a lot for our program,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Cherry told Developmental Football USA. “We are very young this year, so a title would let us know we are still on the right track and the coaching staff is doing this job.”
The Bulldogs only loss of the year came in out-of-league play to the Wisconsin Hitmen – a nationally ranked foe. However, Kansas City handled business in each of the rest of their games versus national opponents and snowballed that momentum into and through MFA dominance.
“This schedule we put together was the toughest we have been through yet, so being able to navigate it successfully would be huge as we will be in position to move into a regional scene for our first time,” Cherry said. “It will keep the guys hungry for sure if they reward themselves for their work.”
Saturday’s game is a rematch of the 2018 MFA Championship and an opponent who shouldn’t be taken lightly in the Omaha Stockmen. Their ascent to the No. 2 spot in the MFA pecking order has been nothing short of remarkable.
“The word hungry is an understatement for this team,” Cherry said. “They’ve come from a bottom feeder team to major contender in a few short seasons. They have convincingly beaten a team who terrorized this league for six-plus seasons, the Des Moines Blaze, the last two times to solidify themselves as the top contender in this league to try and dethrone us. They are literally a handful of plays away from doing just that.”
Since the MFA is among the lowest in the country in terms of off-season league turnover, these two squads are well-acquainted and there isn’t a ton of room for surprises at this point in the year.
“They are very aggressive on defense and love getting to the quarterback,” Cherry said. “If our front line isn’t dialed in, it could make for a very difficult evening for us. Offensively, their versatility makes them extremely dangerous. They have the ability to be explosive on every play, so we will have to stay alert and disciplined at all times. It’s the Championship game, so we are expecting to see things they have not yet used this year.”
Unlike the Stockmen, the Bulldogs success has always been pretty linear and the team has almost always been in the hunt come post-season.
“This team has had success from its origins,” Cherry said. “The difference now is our behind-the-scenes team guys like Greg Olerich and David Bettincourt. They have taken the social media and promotional side of the house to a new level. They have done a superb job getting our brand out to the public and getting us involved with a variety of community events and recent news coverage.”
Offensively, success starts in the trenches and with the Stockmen bringing in a fierce defensive front, the Bulldogs will be leaning on their offensive line now more than ever, in hopes of hoisting more hardware when the clock hits 00:00.
“They must give the receivers time to work downfield, and our quarterback the time to find them. The big boys up front will also be crucial if we should find ourselves up in a close game late and trying to kill the clock. Last time we met the Stockmen, the front line was able to do just that, killing off the last six minutes and change to get out of Omaha with the win.”
Defense has rarely been an issue for the Bulldogs and they’ll need to stay true to their identity this weekend, pressuring the Stockmen and forcing turnovers.
“Similar to the other side of the ball, it has to start up front in the trenches,” Cherry said. “Our front six on defense need to have a big day for us to win this game. The Stockmen found escapes on medium routes last game on third down situations, we must limit the time and vision on their quarterback and make him uncomfortable back there.”