WICHITA — The talented No.
2 state-ranked Wichita Northwest Grizzlies (2-0) will provide Great Bend’s football team (2-0) with a lot of answers Friday night.
Northwest’s speed and size overwhelmed the Panthers 63-27 last year in Great Bend. The Panthers surprised an equally talented Grizzly team 58-47 two years ago in Wichita keyed by a 375-yard, seven-touchdown performance by QB Jacob Murray.
Both shootouts featured more than 1,050 yards total offense the past two years. Great Bend QB Koy Brack threw for 260 yards and three scores last year and the Panthers’ defense earned four takeaways last year.
“We want to have some fun and show what kind of football team we are. To be mentioned with the big boys, you can’t back down,” said Great Bend football coach Erin Beck. “This is the test we need. Northwest has been one of the most talented teams in the west the past few years.”
The Grizzlies’ talent starts with 6-foot-5 Oklahoma commit Marcus Hicks, one of the state’s highest recruited players. Hicks recorded 191/2 tackles for losses last year.
Grizzly RB Breece Hall (6-2, 210) is committed to Iowa State after rushing for 2,082 yards and 32 touchdowns last year. Hall and 5-5 RB Roy Johnson made the Panthers pay for missed tackles with 339 rushing yards last year.
“There is no simulating the type of backs that Northwest has,” said Beck. “Our defense has a challenge Friday night. They run the inside zone better than any team I’ve seen. They have the ability to move the line of scrimmage.
“We can’t overpursue or they’ll break a play. We have to tackle as a unit. We have to play hard, get multiple guys to the football and gang tackle. But I’m excited to see how our defense fares.”
The Panthers have executed two solid defensive games against Andover and Hays High.
“We did a better job at defending the run
last week,” Beck said.
“Our guys up front Alan Miramontes, Eric Vazquez. Matt Zorn and linebackers Pablo Martinez, Blake Penka and Brock Blessing did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage.”
The Grizzly defense plays a basic scheme, and features a physical and big defensive front.
The Panthers rushed for 200 and 291 yards the past two years.
“Hicks is hard to block because of his length and we have to know where he’s lined up,” Beck said. “Their defensive line is big.
They line up and believe they’re better than you. It’ll be a fun test for the Great Bend Panthers. We controlled the line of scrimmage running the football the second half against Hays.”
BY THE NUMBERS
RUSHING—GB—Koy Brack 116; Dalton Miller 113; Gage Fritz 117; NW—Breece Hall 187; Reagan Jones 89
PASSING—GB—Brack, 343-2 TDs; NW— Reagan Jones, 350-6 TDs
RECEIVING—GB—Alex Schremmer, 243-2 TDs; Payton Duvall, 81; NW—Kale Patterson, 110-3 TDs; Zion Jones, 100-1 TD
TACKLES—GB—Blake Penka 21 tackles; Dalton Miller, 15 tackles; Brock Blessing 14 tackles; NW—Marcus Hicks, 17 tackles, 101/2 loss; Josh Carter 12 tackles
PANTHER STARTERS— QB—Koy Brack; TB—Gage Fritz; WR—Peyton Duvall; WR— Calan Haberman; WR—Dalton Miller; WR— Alex Schremmer; RT—Andrew Wettengel; RG—Payton Doll; C—Kade Schroeder; LG— Marcus Schmeidler; LT—Tate Murray
PANTHER DEFENSE— DE—Alan Miramontes; NG—Eric Vazquez; DE—Matt Zorn; LB—Brock Blessing; LB—Pablo Martinez; LB—Blake Penka; OLB—Alex Olivas; OLB—Joey Soupiset; CB—Townshend Kurth; CB—Bryce Brown; SS—Dalton Miller