Originally published Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 08:06p.m.

KINGMAN – It is no secret that the Kingman High School football team has not finished with a winning record in a number of years. However, the Bulldogs have a chance to end that streak with a win at 7 p.m. Friday on the road against Wickenburg.

“It’s exciting that we have a chance to be over .500 for the first time in 20 years,” said Kingman head coach Russ Stryker. “And it’s also exciting for us and the coaches that our last game this year will be with the future of our team, which is our JV team. That’s really exciting for all of us.”

The Bulldogs JV squad plays next week, while Kingman’s varsity will end the 2019 on the road. And the No. 27 ranked Bulldogs (4-4, 1-2 3A West Region) have a chance to end the year with a bang against a squad dealing with its own struggles.

The Wranglers advanced to the 3A State Tournament in 2018, but they won’t be making a postseason berth this season. Instead, No. 26 ranked Wickenburg (3-4, 1-1) is trying to salvage the season with its first winning streak after picking up a 15-13 victory at Chino Valley last week.

“We’ve watched several hours of Wickenburg’s film and they’re not terrible,” Stryker said. “They have some pretty big kids – their two defensive ends are both good. It looks like they’re a team that’s built to try and stop the run. It should be a good matchup.”

And Kingman’s main focus will be Wickenburg’s Bryson Adler as the junior has rushed for 857 yards and eight touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will respond with their strong running game that’s racked up 2,236 yards and 30 touchdowns. Austin Dias leads the way with 839 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Gavin Randall has 632 yards and six scores.

The duo will join 14 other seniors who will play their final high school game. Stryker is thankful for their contributions to the program, but he is also looking forward to the future.

“It was nice to have the seniors because in some ways they kind of put a Band-Aid on what’s been wrong with the program for a long time,” Stryker said. “Just because they are 17- to 18-year-old men and they’re big, strong kids that helped us. But the flip side of it is they were part of really poor culture and it’s hard to change their mindset. So it was nice to have them this year, but I’m really excited about the young kids coming up.”