BY JIM MISUNAS
GODDARD — Goddard Eisenhower football coach Darrin Fisher gave Great Bend a sign of respect, playing his starters to the finish in Friday's 33-2 victory. The Tigers fired off passes on their final two offensive snaps.
The Panthers' defense held strong, holding the Tigers to 50 yards after halftime. The Tigers converted a 12-yard drive after a Noah Stevens fumble recovery. Cody Hawks scored on a 42-yard fumble return after halftime.
The Panthers' defense earned two points when Jonathan Randall and Dee'Onn Jones pressured Tiger quarterback Tyner Horn into a safety for intentional grounding from the endzone.
"Defensively, we played really well. We gave it everything they had," said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. "We shut down their outside zone game. Joseph Moeder and Paco Hernandez fought off block-after-block. Jade Poe has made great strides in the defensive line. Dee'Onn Jones did an outstanding job up front. Huge hats off to our secondary. Our defense shut down their receiver (Cade) Friend by mixing coverages. Madison Regehr, Skyler McMullen and Noah Jerke carried the load with Braylon Council out."
The Tigers' aggressive play crossed the line with two roughing the passer flags, a roughing the punter penalty, a 15-yard facemask and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike flag that was negated by an offsetting penalty. The riskiest play occurred when Tiger linebacker Cody Hawks slammed Cody Miller to the ground.
"Their defense is pretty good. They play angry," Beck said. "Their stand-up ends got into our short passing game."
The Panthers kept battling, even after an apparent bad spot cost them a first down to start the second half. Panther Anthony Paez departed for a play with an injury, but returned to epitomize the Panthers' fight.
"Our kids have that tough, never-quit attitude," Beck said. "We responded emotionally and physically. We'll keep working and focus on getting better."
Cody Miller rushed for 45 yards and quarterback Cayden Scheuerman passed for 67 yards. Creative big pass plays to Brad Beck and Stefan Spray just missed connections.
Great Bend (0-7, 0-3 WAC) will ride a 15-game losing streak headed to a home game against Garden City (4-3, 2-1). The No. 15 seeded Panthers are projected to play Wamego (6-1) in the 4A playoffs.
Great Bend's defense played solidly with five defensive stops in a 20-0 halftime deficit against Goddard Eisenhower.
The Panthers' Dee'Onn Jones recovered a fumble and the Panthers stopped the Tigers three times on downs. They forced a 37-yard field goal by Bradyn Ritchie. Panther linebacker Mathew Moeder enjoyed a big defensive first half.
The Tigers' Hawks scored on 2- and 4-yard touchdown runs. The Tigers raced 70 yards on 10 plays on their opening drive. They covered 49 yards on the final drive of the half after a safety for a 20-0 lead. Carson Cassell converted a 20-yard reception and Owen Rush grabbed a 13-yard pass.
Great Bend 0 0 2 0 — 2
Eisenhower 7 13 13 0 — 33
GE—Cody Hawks 2 run (Bradyn Ritchie kick)—7:57; GE—Ritchie 37 FG—9:49; GE—Safety (GB intentional grounding)—3:25; GE—Hawks 4 run (Ethan Ellingson run)—0:40; GE—Carson Cassell 8 pass from Tyner Horn (kick fails)—5:34; GB—Safety (intentional grounding); GE—Hawks 42 fumble return (Ritchie kick)—0:42
RUSHING—GB—29-37; Cody Miller 14-45, Gavin Haberman 5-11; Cayden Scheuerman 10-(-19), GE—38-130; Max Brown 20-101, Horn 6-18, Hawks 2-6, Lucas Dickman 10-5.
PASSING—GB—Scheuerman 14-25-0, 67; GE—Horn 8-20-0, 78.
RECEIVING—GB—Braylon Council 3-17, Brad Beck 1-14, Miller 4-14, Maddox Spray 5-14, Stefan Spray 1-8, GE—Cassell 2-28, Cade Friend 2-23, Owen Rush 2-23, Dickman 2-4..