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Panthers' defense sparks win over Buffaloes
Great Bend plays Salina Central in 5A playoffs
Great Bends QB Daxton Minton 3.jpg
Great Bend's QB Daxton Minton breaks Garden City's Carson Kraus tackle attempt during their match-up game at the Great Bend High School's Memorial Stadium. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

Panthers’ defense sparks WAC victory


Great Bend’s Ian Premer ignited three consecutive takeaways with a game-changing interception that sparked the Panthers past Garden City 35-21 in Friday’s Western Athletic Conference football showdown.

Great Bend (5-3, 2-2 WAC) is locked into the No. 9 West seed and will play at the No. 8 seed Oct. 27 in the 5A football playoffs. Garden City (5-3, 2-2 WAC) was prevented from a share of the league title.

Down 7-0, Premer swung the momentum with a 44-yard return after intercepting an Ethan Gomez pass. The Panthers rolled 44 yards in seven plays. Daxton Minton scored on a 2-yard after converting a fourth down play first down to the Buffalo 4-yard line.

Premer alertly converted a botched pitchout by Gomez into a 34-yard touchdown for a 14-7 lead. Panther Jacob Hall delivered Garden City’s third consecutive turnover with a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff.  Maddox Spray caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daxton Minton for a 21-7 halftime lead.

“That was the wildest 3 minutes of football I’ve seen. Anytime, we needed a big play, that’s what happened,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “What a game for these seniors for their last game here in front of their parents and this crowd. I’m very proud.”

Freshman sensation Cooper Ohnmacht provided extra insurance with a 94-yard kickoff return to start the second half for a 28-7 lead. Conner Holladay’s block sprung Ohnmacht.

“Conner Holladay made a huge block right at the 50 to spring that thing into the end zone,” Beck said. “Cooper is fast. That’s a game-changer on kickoff return.”

The Panthers earned five takeaways when Owen Kaiser and Matthew Johnson, created by Kale Kern’s tackle, recovered Garden City’s second-half fumbles.

Cody Miller converted the Panthers’ final touchdown on a 17-yard run for a 35-14 lead. Miller rushed for 129 yards. Coach Beck credits his offensive line.

“It’s one of the greatest improvements I’ve seen from our offensive line,” Beck said.

Garden City scored a pair of second-half touchdowns on Ruiz 1-yard run and an Ethen Allen 9-yard touchdown run.

Garden City 7 0 7 0 7 – 21

Great Bend 0 21 7 7 – 35

GC—Ethen Allen 30 pass from Ethan Gomez (Jesus Rodriguez kick); GB—Daxton Minton 2 run (Diego Soto kick); GB—Ian Premer 33 fumble return (Soto kick); GB—Maddox Spray 13 pass from Minton (Soto kick); GB—Cooper Ohmacht 94 kickoff return (Soto kick); GC—Mario Ruiz 1 run (Rodriguez kick); GB—Miller 17 run (Soto kick); GC—Allen 9 run (Rodriguez kick)

RUSHING—GC—47-180; Ruiz 24-79; Gomez 6-15; Allen 12-78; Emilio Zundt 2-8; Michael Villalobos 3-0; GB—30-175; Miller 22-129; Minton 6-49; team 1-(-5); Trenton Kern 1-0.

PASSING—GC—Gomez 6-12-1, 155; GB—Minton 7-12-0, 54.

RECEIVING—GC—Allen 3-104; Villalobos 3-55; GB—Spray 4-31; Premer 1-6; Miller 2-17.


Salina South 0-8 at Wichita Kapaun-Mt,. Carmel 7-1; Great Bend 5-3 at Salina Central 6-2

Wichita Carroll 3-5 at Maize South 6-2; Wichita West 3-5 at Hutchinson High 6-2

Andover High 0-8 at Goddard Eisenhower 7-1; Valley Center 5-3 at Hays High 6-2

Newton 3-5 at Liberal 7-1; Maize High 3-5 at Goddard 6-2


Liberal 3-1 7-1

Hays High 3-1 6-2

Great Bend 2-2 5-3

Garden City 2-2 5-3

Dodge City 0-4 3-5

10-27—Great Bend at Salina Central; Garden City; Dodge City at Lawrence; Newton at Liberal; Valley Center at Hays High

*10-20—*Great Bend 35, Garden City 21; Dodge City 41, Wichita Southeast 12; Hays High 62, Topeka High 33; Liberal 57, Ulysses 37

10-13—Great Bend 56, Ulysses 16; *Garden City 30, Dodge City 13; *Hays High 48, Garden City 41 (OT)

10-6—*Liberal 21, Great Bend 14; Garden City 42, Ulysses 11; *Hays High 40, Dodge City 20

9-29—*Great Bend 28, Dodge City 0; *Liberal 28, Garden City 21; Hays 48, Ulysses 7

9-22—Great Bend 55, Wichita Southeast 0; *Garden City 24, Hays High 21 (OT); *Liberal 21, Dodge City 7

9-15—Buhler 20, Great Bend 14; Garden City 35, Wichita West 6; Dodge City 27, Wichita South 20; Manhattan 49, Hays High 7; Liberal 51, Topeka High 13

9-8—*Hays High 28, Great Bend 27; Liberal 47, Emporia 14; Junction City 52, Dodge City 35; Garden City 70, Wichita North 15

9-1—Great Bend 29, McPherson 16; Liberal 23, Holcomb 17; Hays High 21, Junction City 15; Wichita Heights 20, Garden City 19; Dodge City 13, Wichita West 8