Panthers take care of business
BY JIM MISUNAS
GARDEN CITY – The Great Bend Panthers steamrolled into playoff mode as quarterback Dalton Miller accounted for four touchdowns in a 27-7 Western Athletic Conference football victory Friday over Garden City.
Miller scored on 2, 4 and 49-yard runs. He completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alex Olivas.
Great Bend (4-4, 3-1 WAC) clinches a 5A home playoff game against Wichita Heights (3-5), which lost 42-40 in triple overtime to Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel Friday.
“We played a very good team game tonight,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “Our defense rallied back and shut down Garden City’s offense. Our defensive line played better. We ran the ball well enough to get the win.”
Garden City (2-6, 2-2 WAC) stunned the Panthers with an opening 12-play, 76-yard scoring drive – all on the ground. The Buffaloes’ offensive lane created space for backs Josh Janas and Erik Dominquez.
Beck said the Panthers adjusted their defensive game plan after the opening drive and limited the Buffaloes to 87 yards offense. Miller intercepted a pass and the Panthers recovered two fumbles.
“Our kids do a good job staying on an even keel,” Beck said. “Our kids have always battled back.”
Miller raced 49 yards for the Panthers’ first touchdown before the kickoff team delivered the game’s first signature play. The Panthers' Colin Hall recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to set up Miller’s 4-yard touchdown run for a 13-7 lead.
A stout defensive stand gave the Panthers a short field right before halftime. Olivas slipped out uncovered for a 29-yard touchdown reception for a 20-7 halftime lead. It as a perfect call off a scouting report.
"That was a play we knew could be open We'd seen Garden City play man-to-man when we went empty backfield," Beck said. "Alex Olivas has been a difference-maker on offense."
Offensive tackle Tate Murray created the Panthers’ final touchdown after recovering a fumble by Garden City’s Micah Perez after an interception at the Buffalo 2-yard line. Miller scored on a 2-yard touchdown for a 27-7 final.
Miller finished with 89 yards rushing and Gage Fritz added 56 yards rushing. Miller threw for 96 yards. Peyton Duvall had 39 yards in receiving and Alex Schremmer gained 26 yards receiving.
Great Bend 6 14 7 0 – 27
Garden City 7 0 0 0 – 7
GC—Josh Janas 2 run (Isaac Rivera kick)—4:50
GB—Dalton Miller 49 run (kick blocked)—0:32
GB—Miller 4 run (Angel Razo kick)—11:00
GB—Alex Olivas 29 pass from Miller (Razo kick)—0:52
GB—Miller 2 run (Razo kick)—2:25
RUSHING—GB—38-142; Miller 21-89; Gage Fritz 15-56; team 2-(-3); GC—41-131; Janas 26-90; Dominquez 11-47; Wiese 4-(-6).
PASSING—GB—Miller 8-14-1, 96; GC—Wiese 2-7-1, 22.
RECEIVING—GB—Peyton Duvall 2-39; Olivas 1-29; Alex Schremmer 4-26; Fritz 1-2; GC—Micah Perez 1-15; Aaron Guevara 1-7.
5A WEST BRACKET
Kapaun Mount Carmel (2-6) at Wichita Northwest (8-0)
Wichita Heights (3-5) at Great Bend (4-4)
Valley Center (2-6) at Wichita Carroll (6-2)
Andover (2-6) at Salina Central (5-3)
Maize South (8-0) vs. Salina South (2-6)
Hays High (3-5) at Goddard-Eisenhower (5-3)
Liberal (2-6) at Maize (7-1)
Newton (3-5) at Emporia (5-3)