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Consensus No. 1 Falcons fly past Panthers, 55-14

POSTED September 24, 2011 11:09 p.m.
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WICHITA —Defending Class 6A state football champion Wichita Heights and its offensive juggernaut was everything as advertised — and then some.
Heights unleashed a heavy dose of its vaunted running game on Great Bend and methodically shredded the Panthers to a tune of 528 rushing yards in a 55-14 runaway victory on Friday night in non-conference action.
“They’re exactly what we thought they were,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said of the Falcons, who finished with 589 net yards. “As much credit as we gave them and knew how good they were, they might even have been better than what we really anticipated.
“They’re the real deal and a great football team.”
Great Bend (1-2) was in it early, getting a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mitch Kottas to wide receiver Mauricio Uribe to knot the score at 7-7 with three minutes, five seconds remaining in the first quarter. It was the first of two scoring plays involving the duo. They also hooked up for an 8-yard TD pass with 11:13 remaining.
But the Falcons answered in a big way with three unanswered touchdowns, including two in the final 6:52 of the second quarter, to open up a 28-7 halftime lead they built on after the break.
Falcons running back Kenneth Iheme, who finished with a game-high 180 yards in only 12 carries, ran 39 yards in a foot race down the sideline for their first touchdown.
Heights’ Marquel Moore also had a 39-yard scoring jaunt at the 1:37 mark in the first quarter to make it 14-7.
Iheme also had a 6-yard scoring run at the 6:52 mark in the second quarter for a 21-7 lead, and then Moore had a 9-yard TD run with 16 seconds remaining before halftime. Moore finished with 114 yards in 15 carries.
 “For a brief time, we were in it at the start,” Black said. “After that, we were just totally outmanned in every phase of the game and every position of the game. They’re a great football team, and a lot better than we are.”
Heights had a 45-yard TD run by quarterback Matt Reed at 10:29 mark in the third quarter, and Moore added his second score with a 3-yard plunge to enlarge the margin to 41-7. Reed finished with 155 yards in 13 carries.
Meanwhile, Heights’ defense throttled the Panthers, who had several offensive plays that backfired. The Panthers only had 129 net yards, including 67 rushing yards.
“Consistently, we couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t throw the ball, we couldn’t protect the quarterback, we couldn’t run routes, we couldn’t make throws and we couldn’t makes catches when we had the opportunity,” Black said.
 “It’s just really difficult because everybody wants to put a positive spin on it, but there’s absolutely nothing positive that came out of this game.”
Trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter, the Panthers had the ball near the Falcons 30-yard line after Uribe’s long kickoff return down the left sideline.
But Kottas had his first-down pass intercepted by Heights’ Skylar Gatson to negate the drive. Shortly after Gatson’s pick, Iheme punched in his 6-yard TD for a two-touchdown lead.
Great Bend sophomore defensive back Jonathan Allende recovered two Heights fumbles in the first half alone. His second recovery of a Reed fumble gave Great Bend the ball at its own 44.
After another three-and-out by the Panthers, a long punt return put Heights in business again, leading to its commanding halftime lead.
The Falcons lost four fumbles in the game, something Heights head coach Rick Wheeler says “we need to clean it up.”
Senior defensive end Stu Hogg and sophomore defensive back Chris Burley also recovered fumbles for the Panthers.
Linebacker Jeremy Sigler led Great Bend with 12 tackles, including eight solo stops. Defensive back Connor Sell had nine stops, five unassisted, and Burley had eight tackles, four unassisted.

• GAME NOTES — The Panthers, who play host to Dodge City on Friday night at 7 at Memorial Stadium, were playing without two seniors against Wichita Heights. … Senior wide receiver Jace Bowman, who caught a game-winning touchdown pass in Great Bend’s 14-7 come-from-behind win over Garden City in the Panthers’ Game 2, tore the meniscus in his knee in practice before the Heights game and has been lost for the season. … Senior linebacker Spencer Keil also suffered a season-ending injury last week in practice, breaking an ankle. ... GBHS sophomore Nick Warren (6-foot-4, 251 pounds) averaged 34.0 yards in four punts. His longest was 47 yards.

At Falcons Stadium
Wichita Heights 55, Great Bend 14
Great Bend          7    0     0     7  — 14
Wichita Hts         14  14   13   14 — 55
First Quarter

Heights — Kenneth Iheme 39 run (Malichi Hoyer kick), 9:34
Great Bend — Mauricio Uribe 17 pass from Mitch Kottas, 3:05
Heights — Marquel Moore 39 run (Hoyer kick), 1:37
Second Quarter
Heights — Iheme 6 run (Hoyer kick), 6:52
Heights — Moore 9 run (Hoyer), 0:16
Third Quarter
Heights — Matt Reed 45 run (Hoyer kick), 6:28
Heights — Moore 3 run (kick failed), 3:37
Fourth Quarter 
Great Bend — Uribe 8 pass from Kottas (Mario Espino kick), 11:13
Heights — Iheme 65 run (Hoyer kick), 10:29
Heights — Jon Wilcoxson 39 run (Hoyer kick), 7:10
                               GBHS    HTS

First Downs                     9    21
Total Net Yards           129    589
Rushes-yards                67    528
Passing                          62    61
Comp-Att-Int          9-19-2    2-3-0
Punts-Avg               8-31.3    0-0.0
Fumbles-Lost              1-0     4-4
Penalties-Yards          3-15    3-37
Wichita Heights, Iheme 12-180, M. Reed 13-155, Moore 15-114, King 3-41, C. Reed 3-1, Wilcoxson 2-34, McGinnis 2-2; Great Bend, Kottas 17-9, Josh Lopez 5-38, Uribe 2-17, Jeremy Sigler 1-3, Matt Marshall 1-1.
PASSING ­— Wichita Heights, M. Reed 2-3-0-61; Great Bend, Kottas 8-18-2 62. Marshall 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — Wichita Heights, Wilcoxson 1-12, Singleton 1-49. Great Bend, Uribe 5-43, Sigler 2-4, Bayless 1-11, Connor Sell 1-4.

Sigler 12 tackles (8 unassisted) 1 tackle for loss, 1 caused fumble; Chris Burley 8 (4 unassisted) fumble recovery., Sell 9 (5 unassisted); Marshall 6 (2 unassisted), fumble rec.; Hunter Harrison 6 (4 unassisted) Greg Burley 6 (2 unassisted), 1 caused fumble; Stu Hogg 4 (2 unassisted), fumble recovery. Uselton 4 (2 unassisted), Brock Ibarra 4 unassisted tackles. John Verbeck 4 (4 unassisted) Jonathan Allende (2 unassisted), 2 fumble recoveries.


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