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Northwest Grizzlies roar past Panthers, 31-0
Great Bend Panther Alex Schremmer.jpg
Great Bend Panther Alex Schremmer (2) runs and gets tackled by Wichita Northwest Grizzlie Todric McGee (11). - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

Great Bend's chance of upsetting No. 2 state-ranked Wichita Northwest vanished in two critical plays.

Wichita Northwest rolled to a 31-0 non-league football victory, thanks to a pair of game-changing goal-line takeaways by the Grizzly defense. The Panthers (2-1) head to Dodge City (3-0) after losing before a supportive Homecoming crowd.

A flawless 75-yard opening Panther drive reached first-and-goal at the Grizzly 5-yard line. But quarterback Dalton Miller missed a handoff with Gage Fritz and linebacker Jack Wiens recovered a fumble at the 7-yard line. 

"We executed the way we wanted coming out," said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. "We matched them blow-for-blow that first half offensively. But you've got to score. That's the best, well-rounded Northwest football team we've played."

Northwest answered with a 93-yard scoring drive. Grizzly quarterback Reagan Jones completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Camden Aldrich for a 7-0 lead. 

The Grizzlies rolled 73 yards for their second touchdown drive. Jones rambled 29 yards on a scramble. Julius Bolden scored on a 17-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.

Miller dashed 30 yards to the Grizzlies' 5-yard line on a perfectly executed quarterback draw. Grizzlies Malcomb Bell and Michael Anthony tackled Miller and Jared Givens recovered a fumble at the goal-line.

"Dalton tried to make something happen. I will take that 100 times. The helmet popped the football out," Beck said.

Northwest kicker Carson Arndt converted a 23-yard field after Givens' fumble recovery on a 74-yard drive for a 17-0 halftime lead. caught a 22-yard screen pass on third-and-21.

Beck's lessons from a loss will start with ball security due to five turnovers. The Grizzlies exploited the Panthers' defense for a three first downs on screens plays in long yardage situations. 

"We'll grow and learn from this," Beck said. "We'll come back hungry and get ready for Dodge City. We love kids who battle to the end and we fought all night. We gained a lot of respect from that Northwest football team."

Northwest's Jacob Coleman caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and Bolden added a 1-yard score in the second half.

Andover Central transfer Reagan Jones dashed for 148 yards and passed for 155 yards. The Grizzlies rushed for 323 yards. Panther safety Dalton Miller contributed 16 tackles. Bryce Brown intercepted a pass.

"Their quarterback is something special. His ability to run the football was an issue," Beck said.

The Panthers committed four turnovers and rushed for 143 yards and Miller completed 18 passes for 117 yards. Alex Schremer caught 10 passes for 67 yards. 

Beck credited Grizzly linebackers Darrius Cooper, a Kansas State/Kansas recruit, and Andover Central transfer Jack Wiens with superb play. Todric McGree and Wetu Kalomo intercepted passes and Jacob Younkman recovered a kickoff.

"Nos. 6 (Cooper) and 8 (Wiens) are two of the finest linebackers we've played," Beck said. "They were high-level linebackers."

Wichita NW 7 10 14 0 — 31

Great Bend 0 0 0 0 — 0

NW—Camden Aldrich 46 pass from Reagan Jones (Carson Arndt kick)—4:04

NW—Julius Bolden 17 run (Arndt kick)—11:10

NW—Arndt 23 FG—0:23

NW—Kaleb Coleman 18 pass from R. Jones (Arndt kick)—8:46

NW—Bolden 1 run (Arndt kick)—8:04

RUSHING—NW—53-323; R. Jones 17-148; Jamar Martin 10-50; Bolden 20-102; team 2-(-8); GB—27-143; Dalton Miller 9-86; Gage Fritz 18-57.

PASSING—NW—R. Jones 8-14-1, 155; GB—Miller 18-30-2, 117.

RECEIVING—NW—Aldrich 2-51; Bolden 2-51; Coleman 3-46;  Mason Ross 1-22; GB—Alex Schremmer 10-67; Peyton Duvall 6-43; Paco Hernandez 1-12; Bryce Brown 1-(-5).