Week after week the Kansas City Bulldogs have faced a nationally respected opponent and week after week they have been even more impressive. Now in their first off week, the undefeated Bulldogs have a chance to reflect on their progress so far, while ironing out wrinkles for the remaining long journey ahead.
Last weekend the Bulldogs knocked off the St. Paul Pioneers, 38-33, for the second consecutive season, this time in Kansas City.
“This is by far the most technical and disciplined group we have faced,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Cherry told Developmental Football USA. “These guys are very well coached and compete at a very high level every single play. To top that off, coming off the two previous games we played against nationally ranked teams. The Pioneers bring the best out of our guys every time we play due to the similar styles of play and familiarity with one another. They have some big time athletes over there. Jeff McGaster is a beast for them on the defensive line and he brings the absolute best out of our offensive line.”
No championship team is a one-man show. In fact, one characteristic of a championship team is the number of different players making plays and working well together on both sides of the ball. This has been the Bulldogs story through three games as each unit has done their part, allowing someone different to stand out based on the match-ups.
“If I had to pick someone from offense, I would have to say Doug White stood out,” Cherry said. “Doug had a great all-around game. He had some key punts and kickoffs that put the Pioneers in compromising field position as well as the game-sealing touchdown.”
Defensively, the 33 points are more than the Bulldogs typically give up, but the unit rallied together to get the job done when it mattered most to stay unbeaten.
“We had multiple guys step up and if I had to pick, I will have to say Myke McJunkins stood out with a great defensive effort with four tackles for losses,” Cherry said. “Will Griffin had some key deflections in the secondary and real solid run support on the edge and Tyrone Groves had another pick-six early in the game to give us some much needed momentum.”
While the national games come with all of the hype and excitement and the added honor of beating top teams, at the end of the day, the Bulldogs are still 0-0 in Midwest Football Alliance play, which they will kick off next weekend against the Quad City Nighthawks.
In the MFA, the defending champions, the Bulldogs are marked men and will receive every opponent’s best shot.
“Our first three opponents presented a challenge to us based on their national ranking and all that comes with that,” Cherry said. “MFA league games are always tough as we consider every league game a rivalry game. We are every team’s championship game. Everyone wants to beat the champs meaning we can’t count any of them out because all the teams are well-coached and they will be ready to play.”
Not to take anything away from the Nighthawks, but at this moment in history, that name doesn’t carry the same weight as the Denver Sharks, Minneapolis Warriors or St. Paul Pioneers. In any case, the Bulldogs will have to come focused and ready to roll.
“It gets challenging keeping the guys focused due to the length of the season and front loading our schedule the way we did,” Cherry said. “The key is we have our eyes on a bigger prize and they know if we continue to stay focused and continue to improve, we will be just fine.”
The Nighthawks are the first of four consecutive road games for the Bulldogs. On June 1, they travel to play the Des Moines Blaze, then the following weekend, they travel north to take on another nationally-ranked non-league opponent in the Wisconsin Hitmen.
“We will take this bye week and get healed up continue to get guys coached up to prepare for league play,” Cherry said. “Continue to work hard in practice and continue competing at a high level. Our next big non-league game is against Wisconsin Hitmen which we know is a good team and we have to be prepared both mentally and physically to go up there and compete at a high level.”
If the Bulldogs can remain unbeaten through a nearly two-month stretch with no home game, then the sky truly is the limit for what looks like it could be the organization’s best group ever.
“I think his team is different because we feel that we have put in the work over the course of four or five years,” Cherry said. “We deserve to be here and guys are starting to buy into and believe in what we are preaching. Having gone through some adversity and big games, I feel this has matured the team and prepared them for the harder games. Those experiences have taught us to deal with it differently, whereas in previous years we were young and hadn’t learned to do so, and it cost us in big games.”