BY JIM MISUNAS
DODGE CITY – “How ‘bout them Panthers,” replied Great Bend football coach Erin Beck following a shocking 21-14 overtime victory over Dodge City.
The “Miracle at Dodge City’s Memorial Stadium,” brought back memories of the “Miracle on Morton Street,” three years ago.
The Panthers (3-2, 1-1 WAC) rallied from a 14-0 deficit with three touchdowns to stun the Red Demons in overtime. Just like the 13-10 victory over Andover High in 2019, the Panthers worked overtime for a historic victory.
Great Bend quarterback Cayden Scheuerman was flawless in the late going, directing two clutch fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Center Danny Nieto, guards Matthew Johnson and Aiden Davidson and tackles Mathew Moeder and Brantley Schaffer gave Scheurman time to operate.
“It was one of the greatest team efforts I’ve ever been a part of,” Beck said. “So many kids came up big when we needed them. You love to be a part of this and witness the joy in their eyes. They were resilient. We climbed out of a 14-point hole. Our defense bounced back and made adjustments.”
Tight end Colton Brack played the football game of his life with an 11-yard touchdown reception for a 14-14 tie when he beat Isaiah Taylor and Bryson Unzueta. He scored on a 12-yard scoring reception for the game-winning score. Brack had seven catches for 75 yards to take advantage of defensive attention paid to standout receiver Braylon Council.
Scheuerman completed 19 of 27 passes for 156 yards. Tailback Cody Miller gained 84 hard-fought yards.
“Cayden (Scheuerman) was unbelievable tonight,” Beck said. “Cayden drove balls into tight windows and made great throws. We stepped up and made plays. Colton Brack has developed into a receiving threat.”
Panther defensive back Cooper Liles preserved the victory on the final play when he forced Isaiah Taylor out of the endzone on Dodge City’s final passing attempt.
The Panthers had lost nine consecutive Western Athletic football games dating back to a victory over Garden City in 2019.
“It’s huge to get a WAC win,’ Beck said. “Their focus has been unbelievable. Our guys up front played well. We ran the ball pretty well. Cody got what yards he could."
Dodge City (3-2, 1-1 WAC) dominated time of possession (32 minutes) with a run-oriented offense that played keep away all night. The Red Demons rushed for 214 yards, to maintain possession. Dodge City’s Chance Kerr scored on two short runs. Tailback Daelyn Unzeuta rushed 22 times for 107 yards from shotgun formation.
“Dodge City is a tough football team,” Beck said. “It’s a daunting defensive task. Dodge City was making 3-4 yards every running play. For us to get a fourth-quarter defensive stop was huge.”
The Red Demons had their shot up 14-7, but receiver Vincent Ortiz was unable to corral a wide-open reception. The Panthers answered with a 54-yard scoring drive. The Panthers also stopped Dodge City at the Panther 34-yard line as regulation time expired.
“Our kids and coaches never panicked,” Beck said. “We had a good game plan and we’ve got coachable players. The way they responded to adversity says so much about them as players and people.”
Great Bend 0 0 0 14 7 – 21
Dodge City 0 7 7 0 0 – 14
DC—Chance Kerr 3 run (Adrian Hernandez kick), 1:28; DC—Kerr 4 run (Hernandez kick), 6:13; GB—Cody Miller 9 run (Alex Galindo kick),11:19; GB—Colton Brack 11 pass from Cayden Scheuerman (Galindo kick), 6:27; GB—Brack 12 pass from Scheuerman (Galindo kick)
RUSHING—GB—29-110; Miller 23-84; Scheuerman 7-26; DC—53-214; Daelyn Unzeuta 22-107; Kerr 16-69; Isaiah Taylor 7-31; Frio Vontress 3-10; Chris Gomez 1-5; Kaden Garvelena 2-2; Austin Schulte 1-(-1); team 1-(-9)
PASSING—GB—Scheuerman 19-27-0, 156; DC—Garvelena 4-12-0, 40; Schulte 0-2-0
RECEIVING—GB—Brack 7-75; Braylon Council 7-35; Ian Premer 1-24; Miller 2-12; Blaine Parsons 1-5; Maddox Spray 1-5; DC—Taylor 1-16; Juan Bermudez 1-13; Unzueta 1-9; Ortiz 1-0