BY JIM MISUNAS
MAIZE – Like everything else, Great Bend's plan to score a touchdown against Maize South misfired. Panther back Gavin Haberman lost a fumble after being tackled at the Maize South 1-yard line.
Haberman alertly slipped a tackle by Braden Niemann, but Jaydon Oekert's helmet dislodged the football. Jack Letkowski recovered with Maize South ahead 49-0.
"We had a chance to create some excitement with a touchdown," said Great Bend football coach Erin Beck.
Talented Maize South gained 611 yards in Friday's 56-0 football victory over the Panthers. Maize South quarterback Colin Shields completed four touchdown passes and threw for 260 yards. Halfback Hunter Niemann scored on 11- and 24-yard run and gained 119 yards. Halfback Evan Cantu scored on 14- and 75-yard dashes and gained 127 yards. The Mavericks scored on six consecutive drives in the first half.
"They were better tackling, running and blocking – every facet of the game," Beck said. "We knew that was a good Maize South football team. Our guys weren't ready for that. Hopefully, we can learn from that. We'll coach them up."
Beck was disappointed that coaching points in practice did not carry over to Friday. The Panthers rarely anticipated plays that would develop, but constantly reacted too late after the Mavericks created a play.
"We lacked execution. We did not translate what we showed in practice to the game," Beck said. "That's on us as coaches and players. We need to do whatever we can to work hard and get better. At halftime, we talked about getting better in the second half."
The 56-point setback tied for the most lopsided Great Bend loss since 1989 (62-6 to Salina Central). It marked Great Bend's most worst loss in 50 years (62-0 to Dodge City). The Mavericks powered for 351 rushing yards and threw for 262 yards.
The Panthers' defense missed a few opportunities to stop the Mavericks. Shields easily scrambled on third down for a first down on an opening 80-yard drive. Panther linebacker Brad Beck delivered a perfect defensive read, barely missing an interception that had potential for a big play.
Panther quarterback Joseph Moeder threw for 28 yards and gained 24 yards rushing. He converted two scrambles for first downs on a 46-yard drive after earlier turning down a wide open perimeter for an incomplete pass. The Panthers converted on fourth down twice to reach the Mavericks'4-yard line on their best drive.
Haberman led a 94-yard ground game with 44 yards. Jade Poe gained 26 yards and Joseph Moeder added 24 yards rushing.
The Mavericks raced for 394 yards on their first 34 plays. Cantu scored on a 14-yard run. Hunter Niemann followed with touchdown runs of 11 and 24 yards for a 21-0 lead.
Shields rolled to four consecutive touchdown strikes. Byron Fitchpatrick caught a 44-yard pass. Hayden Rohs grabbed a 34-yard touchdown reception. Jake Johnson doubled up on the fun with consecutive 5- and 41-yard touchdown receptions for a 49-0 lead. Cantu capped the Mavericks' celebration with a dazzling 75-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers (0-1) play rival Hays High (1-0) at home next week.
MAIZE SOUTH 56, GREAT BEND 0
Great Bend 0 0 0 0 – 0
Maize South 21 21 7 7 – 56
MS–Evan Cantu 14 run (Sam Parks kick)–10:01
MS–Hunter Niemann 11 run (Parks kick)–3:48
MS–Niemann 24 run (Parks kick)–0:27
MS–Byron Fitchpatrick 44 pass from Colin Shields (Parks kick)–10:17
MS–Hayden Rohs 34 pass from Shields (Parks kick)–8:15
MS–Jake Johnson 5 pass from Shields (kick)–5:22
MS–Jake Johnson 41 pass from Shields (kick)–8:57
MS–Cantu 75 run (kick)–9:30
RUSHING–GB–29-94; Gavin Haberman 14-44; Jade Poe 10-26; Joseph Moeder 5-24; MS–37-351; Niemann 14-119; Cantu 10-127; Shields 6-72; Fitchpatrick 2-17;Blake Mertes 4-16; Owen Barley 1-0.
PASSING–GB–Moeder 6-13-0, 27; MS–Shields 13-14-0, 260
RECEIVING–GB–Paco Hernandez 1-8; Caden Bieker 1-7; Laken Webb 2-4; Haberman 1-4; Chayse Gruber 1-4; MS–Johnson 7-123; Fitchpatrick 1-44; Caleb Crumm 2-37; Rohs 1-34; Cantu 1-13; Niemann 1-9