Eagles survive Panthers’ rally
BY JIM MISUNAS
MAIZE – Great Bend’s final desperation drive would fuel a Hollywood script – celebration for the winner and heartbreak for the runner-up.
The do-or-die ending determined whether the Panthers would advance to the 5A state semifinals or finish their season on a sour note in frigid 20-degree weather.
Maize safety Adrian Triana stopped a desperation scramble at the 4-yard line by Great Bend quarterback Koy Brack as time expired. The Eagles escaped with a 28-21 quarterfinal 5A playoff victory.
“It’s always tough to end your season like that. It was right there,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “It’s been a fun ride. You never want to see it end. It’s unfortunate to end up on the wrong end.”
Brack engineered a flawless drive that earned a first down at the Maize 7-yard line with 16 seconds left.
Receiver Dalton Miller somehow avoided several Eagle tacklers and ran out-of-bounds for a 28-yard gain to Maize’s 24-yard line to save valuable seconds. Brack followed with a 17-yard scramble to the 7-yard line before his final run for an epic finish.
“Our kids played their hearts out,” Beck said. “We played to the very last whistle.”
The Panthers' defense turned back Maize back Kaden Cox on fourth-and-one with a minute left at the 25-yard line.
“I hurt for those kids in the locker room,” Beck said. “We’re very proud of this group. They never panic.”
After trailing 21-13, Maize quarterback Caleb Grill completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Hampton and added a 1-yard scoring run for a 28-21 lead.
“We played exceptional defense except for a couple of plays,” Beck said. “They’ve done things the right way.”
The Panthers opened the second half with Gage Fritz’s 5-yard touchdown after Zach Seymour recovered a fumble for a 21-13 lead.
Great Bend receiver Alex Schremmer scored on two touchdown receptions for a 14-13 halftime lead.
Brack completed 23- and 27-yard scoring passes to Schremmer. He broke school records for most touchdowns (15); most receiving yards (1,149) and the single-game receiving (205) record.
Maize kicker Hunter Clark converted a pair of field goals and K.J. Hampton caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Grill for a 14-13 halftime score.
Great Bend 7 7 7 0 – 21
Maize 7 6 14 0 – 28
M--K.J. Hampton 80 pass from Caleb Gill (Hunter Clark kick)—8:43
GB--Alex Schremmer 27 pass from Koy Brack (Dani Franco kick)—3:30
M--Clark 24 FG.
GB--Schremmer 23 pass from Brack (Franco kick)—5:58
M—Clark 32 FG—2:08
GB—Gage Fritz 5 run (Franco kick)—11:01
M—Hampton 3 pass from Grill (Camden Jurgensen run)—8:52
M—Grill 1 run (Clark kick)—4:47
RUSHING—GB—30-118l Fritz 19-85; Dalton Miller 2-6; Brack 9-27. M—34-166; Caden Cox 26-130; Grill 8-36
PASSING—GB—Brack 22-40-1, 316; M—Grill 12-23-0, 272
RECEIVING—GB—Schremmer 10-147; Miller 5-63; Peyton Duvall 4-68; Calan Haberman 3-38; M—Hampton 3-82; Camden Jurgensen 2-69; ; Deriq Doty 1-35; Preven Christon 1-30; Jordon Helm 2-25