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Bullpups escape Panthers' upset bid 31-13
Great Bend Panthers Broc Reed (52), Mathew Moeder (13) and Jason Scott (60) congratulate Gavin Haberman (5) after a 9-yard touchdown run.


 MCPHERSON – The Great Bend Panthers outplayed and outworked 4A football powerhouse McPherson for nearly a half in a surprising 7-7 tie.

The Panthers’ improbable dream of a major upset vanished as quickly as you can count 1-2-3.

McPherson converted a fumble recovery and blocked punt into touchdowns. The Panthers missed a golden opportunity to lead 14-7 with a lost fumble in the Bullpups’ endzone.

The Panthers made the Bullpups work for a 31-13 non-league football victory. Great Bend (0-3) got an early preview of what 4A playoff football might look like in six weeks. Two lost fumbles and a blocked punt cost the Panthers 21 points on a perfect fall evening.

“We’ve got to eliminate mistakes that cost us,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “We’ve got to play a cleaner game next week.”

Great Bend’s challenging schedule continues against Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (2-1) next week. Beck likes the fight his football team has exhibited.

“We prepare like winners,” Beck said. “They’ve taken the mentality of getting better every week. We've got to keep plugging away."

McPherson’s Jaytin Gumm raced 64 yards on the game’s opening play – the third consecutive half the Panthers yielded a touchdown on the first play of a half.

Panther quarterback Joseph Moeder directed a classic 14-play, 79-yard drive for a 7-7 tie. Moeder completed five passes for 44 yards. Jade Poe converted a fourth down and McPherson shifted offside for a fourth down conversion. Gavin Haberman evaded Darriene Gibbs' tackle and scored on a hard-fought 9-yard touchdown for a 7-7 tie after Angel Razo’s extra point.

The Panthers built on their momentum.

Great Bend stopped McPherson’s high-powered offense with a trio of three-and-outs and an interception by standout Paco Hernandez after McPherson’s opening touchdown. Linebacker Brad Beck contributed seven tackles and Evan Wedel and Johnathan Randall each had six stops.

“I was very proud the way our defense responded after that first score,” Beck said. “We came out and did some awesome things defensively. That’s one of the best 4A football teams in the West.”

Tied at 7-7, Hernandez caught two passes for 26 yards to hand the Panthers a first down at the Bullpup 13-yard line. The Panthers were poised for a 14-7 lead when receiver Brad Beck was popped in midair near the Bullpup goal-line. Beck’s fumble was recovered in the endzone by McPherson’s Jayton Alexander.

“We were right in this thing,” Beck said. “I’m proud of our kids. They kept getting up and battling. We’re showing we’re getting better every week.”

Aiden Hoover’s fumble recovery delivered a 14-7 McPherson halftime lead. Aaron Powell scored on a dazzling 27-yard run with 1:49 left until halftime. Great Bend outgained McPherson 153-78 with 10 first-half first downs.

McPherson’s speedy Trey Buckbee converted a 40-yard pass from Dylan Rinker for a 21-7 lead.

The Panthers fooled the Bullpup secondary when southpaw Hernandez completed a perfect 52-yard pass to Moeder, who was uncovered downfield. Joseph Moeder scored on 1-yard touchdown dive for a 21-13 score.

Backup tailback Sky Schriner gave the Bullpups a spark with six runs for 64 yards to set up Jayten Dukes’ 24-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the third period for a 24-13 1ead. McPherson’s Brycen Labertew sealed the deal by blocking Hernandez’s punt. Labertew scored on a 1-yard touchdown for a 31-13 lead.

Moeder completed 16 passes for 120 yards and rushed for 43 yards. Hernandez caught 11 passes for 68 yards and completed a 52-yard pass. Gumm gained 131 yards and Schriner added 81 yards as McPherson gained 245 rushing yards.


Great Bend  7 0 6 0—13

McPherson 7 7 10 7 – 31

M—Jaytin Gumm 64 run (Jayten Dukes kick)—11:41

GB—Gavin Haberman 9 run (Angel Razo kick)—5:35

M—Aaron Powell 27 run (Dukes kick)—1:49

M—Trey Buckbee 40 pass from Dylan Rinker (Dukes kick)—6:13

GB—Joseph Moeder 1 run (kick failed)—3:55

M—Dukes 24 FG—0:16

M—Brycen Labertew 1 run (Dukes kick)—11:19


RUSHING—GB—29-93; Moeder 10-43, Poe 14-32, Montoya 3-9, Haberman 2-9; Mc—35-245; Gumm 16-131, Sky Schriner 11-81, Powell 1-27, Rinker 2-12, Labertew 2-4, Dukes 1-0, team 2-(10)

PASSING—GB—Moeder 16-27-0, 120; Hernandez 1-1-0, 52; Mc—Rinker 4-12-1, 49

RECEIVING—GB—Paco Hernandez 11-68, Joseph Moeder 1-52, Laken Webb 4-43, Beck 1-9; Mc—Buckbee 1-40, Powell 1-4, Becker 1-4, Hill 1-1


Hays High 2-0 3-0

Garden City 1-0 1-2

Dodge City 1-1 1-2

Great Bend 0-1 0-3

Liberal 0-2 0-3

9-4—Hays 20, Goddard Eisenhower 10; Maize South 56, Great Bend 0; Manhattan 20, Garden City 7; Kapaiun-Mt. Carmel 34, Dodge City 0; Goodland 43, Liberal 32

9-11—*Hays High 43, Great Bend 14; *Dodge City 35, Liberal 0; Hutchinson 21, Garden City 20

9-18—*Hays High 27, Liberal 13; McPherson 31, Great Bend 13; *Garden City 14, Dodge City 8

9-25—Kapaun-Mt. Carmel at Great Bend; *Hays High at Garden City; Dodge City at Wichita Carroll; Liberal at Ulysses

4A WEST—McPherson 3-0 (39); Andover Central 2-0 (20); Wamego 2-1 (20);  El Dorado 2-1 (15); Buhler 1-1 (-1);  Independence 1-1 (-8); Augusta 1-2 (-12); Arkansas City 1-2 (-13);  Winfield 1-2 (-23); Circle 0-3 (-23); Rose Hill 0-3 (-27); Wellington 0-3 (-33); Great Bend 0-3 (-39); Mulvane 0-3 (-39); Ulysses 0-3 (-31); Abilene 0-3 (-39)