Friday night is Homecoming for the Great Bend Panthers. The opponent is the Dodge City Red Demons. Could it be any better?
The resurgent Panthers are 3-1 and coming off of a storm-delayed 23-12 victory over Wichita North in Wichita. The Red Demons are 2-2 after a 69-0 shellacking of the Liberal Redskins last Friday. Dodge City head coach Dave Foster says, “We feel like we are a 4-0 team. In all reality it has a lot to do with just two snaps.”
In addition to the 69-0 thumping of Liberal, Dodge City has a 53-12 win over Wichita Southeast. The Red Demons have two close losses, 53-48 to Wichita Heights and 48-41 to Wichita West.
Senior quarterback Caden Walters heads a prolific Dodge City offense that averages almost 53 points a game. Walters had four rushing and four passing touchdowns in the blowout of Liberal. The Great Bend defense will have their hands full in trying to make this a low-scoring game. Can the Panther offense outscore Dodge City? Comparing scores doesn’t tell much but the Great Bend offense in their four games has averaged just over 27 points a game while the defense has surrendered an average of 25. That is somewhat skewed by undefeated Garden City’s 42 points.
So we have a classic case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Offense vs. defense for these two long-time rivals. Rivals in the Western Athletic Conference for a long time and before that long-time opponents in the West Central Kansas League that also featured Hays, Garden City, Russell, Pratt and Larned.
Coach Tony Crough’s crew probably won’t be favored in this one. Not many expected such a quick rebound for this Black Panther program but after three straight road games, here they are at 3-1. It didn’t happen with smoke and mirrors. I like Great Bend in an upset. Big crowd in the stadium. Homecoming. Long-time rival. Could it be any better? Black Panthers 27, Red Demons 24.
The college football season gets serious this weekend. Big 12 action is in full swing. The Kansas Jayhawks have another of those “maybe winnable” games this week as they travel to Ames to take on Iowa State. Last week Rutgers supplied much the same kind of game and the Jayhawks, though playing well enough, still fell to the Big 10- team 27-14. Kansas slapped Iowa State around last year but that was in Lawrence. This is a road game and road games and Jayhawk victories aren’t used in the same sentence. Lou Holtz once said, “On this team, we are all united in a common goal: to keep my job.” That could be the mantra of the Iowa State team for their coach, Paul Rhoads! Iowa State 35, Kansas 21.
Did Bill Snyder weave his usual magic and improve his Wildcats by leaps and bounds during a bye week? Cat fans should hope so as Kansas State has been less than impressive in a 3-0 start. Saturday they travel to Stillwater to take on the Big 12’s luckiest team, Oklahoma State. The Cowboys won a game they should have lost at Texas last Saturday. Questionable officiating and a mishandled snap by the Longhorns’ punter with only seconds left in the game handed a victory to T. Boone Pickens’ boys.
Oklahoma State’s young team continues to mature and it is a home game. Okie State 27, Kansas State 17. Remember though, Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David!