Who knew this Great Bend Black Panther football team would go 7-2? Who knew they would defeat both Salina schools for the first time in 25 years? Who knew that they would make it to the playoffs for the first time in five years? Who knew they would win a District championship and get to host a home playoff game? The betting odds on all of this, in August, would have been astronomical but, here we are!
Probably Coach Tony Crough and some of his Seniors would confirm that, “they knew” but, for most of the rest of us, it has been a pleasant surprise. The world of Kansas 5A football has to be surprised but now, it’s time to get over that surprise. These guys are for real!
This is a “Big-Play” team. They make plays when they have to. Defense, offense, big plays abound. To quote Coach Crough, “We’re the most exciting thing on Friday nights.” Last Friday against Salina South it was Thomas Bobbitt’s turn to play hero. He’s just the latest in a long line of Panthers to make a big play. Great Bend has had five defensive touchdowns in the three District games. Those are BIG plays!
Friday evening the Black Panthers get to host a home playoff game against Maize South. The Mavericks also bring a 7-2 record into the game. In comparative games and scores, there’s not much to look at. No common opponents.
Great Bend had one “bad” loss, to Dodge City 51-7. Maize South had their “bad” loss against Bishop Carroll, 42-14. Their other loss was to Goddard Eisenhower 29-20. Great Bend’s other loss was a 14-point game against Garden City. So, who had the toughest schedule? My vote would be Great Bend.
Defensively in the area of points allowed the two teams are nearly equal with Maize South giving up 238 points and Great Bend 242. Offensively the Mavericks scored 320 while the Black Panthers totaled 293.
Coach Crough has been wearing his “Beat Salina” hat for a couple of weeks. Let’s hope he’s got a “Beat Maize” one in the closet as well. Everything points to a close game but there is that home field advantage and there should be a big crowd on hand for the Panthers first playoff team in five years. Great Bend 27, Maize South 19.
CHALK TALK: Is Major League baseball losing our young people? If they are, the World Series and Playoff games aren’t helping. Not when most of the games don’t get over until way after the kids should be in bed. Whatever happened to daytime games? Kudos to the Royals for NEVER letting the New York fans ever get the chance to be a factor in the World Series. Even Casey Stengel would have loved the way these Royals played! What a weekend! Great Bend won, the Chiefs won big and the Royals closed it out! They tore down the goal posts in Memorial Stadium at KU. OOPS! Well, they can’t wait FOREVER for a football win! Within five years of retirement, 60% of NBA players are broke. You think football’s not important at Alabama? This from former Coach, Bear Bryant: “Football is important. It’s kind of hard to rally around a math class!”