BY JIM MISUNAS
ANDOVER — There were few bright spots during the worst football season in 24 years at Great Bend High School.
But Panther ninth-grade halfback Lupe Ramirez provided a inspirational moment with a hustling 1-yard touchdown dive in a 49-7 playoff loss to Andover Central Friday. The 130-pound Ramirez ran for 47 yards on eight carries with determination and heart. A running clock magically stopped with 21 seconds left after Ramirez scored.
Noah Jerke gave the Panthers a scoring opportunity when he recovered a Jaguar fumble at the 32-yard-line. Sophomore quarterback Cayden Scheuerman expertly directed the offense to a touchdown. Ramirez twisted and turned 23 yards on the first play. At one point, game officials allowed valuable time to click off while slowly putting a football into play.
Great Bend (0-7) had two football games canceled and was forced to miss 10 days of practice due to coronavirus issues. It was the worst record since 1996 when the Panthers finished 0-9.
"We dealt with adversity all year," said Great Bend coach Erin Beck, who missed last week's game with an illness. "We got a taste of reality, but they kept plugging away all year. Hopefully, they learned a little bit more than football. I'm proud of the way we kept fighting."
Jaguar backs Jacob Rees and Ashton Barkdull each scored two touchdowns for No. 2 seed Andover Central, which rolled up 155 yards rushing and 190 yards passing. Quarterback Chase White completed 11 passes for 190 yards, highlighted by several shovel passes. The Jaguars (7-1) used offensive speed and defensive strength to overpower the Panthers.
"Andover Central is a really good football team. Hats off to them," Beck said. "They played really well. It was a tough one."
Beck paid tribute to his graduating seniors.
"Your heart goes out to the seniors who finished the season," Beck said. "But we had defensive players like Austin Moore and Brody Tracy who improved tremendously."
The Jaguars scored on first-half drives of 26, 28, 49 and 63 yards. Jacob Rees scored on 1- and 2-yard runs. Kyle Kohman caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Chase White. Barkdull dashed 49 yards for a 28-0 lead after White's fourth extra point kick.
The Panthers enjoyed a few unique highlights. On one drive, Andover Central lost yardage on two plays and drew two major penalties that gave the Jaguars second down and 56 yards to go for a first down. Panther punter Paco Hernandez booted a career high 60 yarder that stopped at Andover Central's 7-yard line.
The Jaguars started the second half with a clever 51-yard shovel pass from White to Jack Bell for a touchdown. Barkdull scored on a 9-yard scoring dash and Jackson Rees scored on a 41-yard run.
Great Bend 0 0 0 7 — 7
Andover Central 14 14 14 7 — 49
AC—Jacob Rees 2 run (Chase White kick)—8:49
AC—Kyle Kohman 11 pass from White (White kick)—3:32
AC—Jacob Rees 1 run (White kick)—10:49
AC—Ashton Barkdull 49 run (White kick)—9:34
AC—Jack Bell 51 pass from White (White kick)—11:30
AC—Barkdull 9 run (White kick)—9:56
AC—Jackson Rees 41 run (White kick)—6:22
GB—Lupe Ramirez 1 run (Alex Galindo kick)—0:21
RUSHING—GB—32-73; Ramirez 8-47, Gavin Haberman 11-16, Cody Miller 7-11, Brody Tracy 1-3, Cayden Scheuerman 2-0, Joseph Moeder 3-(-4); AC—25-155; Barkdull 5-68, Jackson Rees 1-41, Jacob Rees 7-34, Jace Rees 9-31, White 2-(-16), team 1-(-3)
PASSING—GB—J. Moeder 5-12-1, 29; Scheuerman 1-3-2, 9; AC—White 11-12-0, 190
RECEIVING—GB—Laken Webb 2-18, Paco Hernandez 3-11, Colton Brack 1-9; AC—Bell 3-108, Davin Simms 5-63, Kohman 2-18, Rees 1-1