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Panthers claim shootout against conference opponent Liberal, 43-36
spt deh gbhs-liberal uselton run
Great Bends Trent Uselton lowers his shoulder against the Liberal defense. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

With Great Bend High School’s main point producer sidelined by an injury, the football team needed someone to step up.
The Panthers got exactly what they needed.
Greg Burley handled the points, scoring four touchdowns in a 43-36 Western Athletic Conference win over Liberal on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
“Greg Burley scored four touchdowns,” GBHS head coach Bo Black said. “We’ve asked him to be a running back, a wide receiver, a defensive back and an outside linebacker. He’s just a Burley, and Burleys are great competitors. He fits that mold, obviously.”
On top of Burley’s performance, tailback Trent Uselton rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries, chewing up clock and keeping the volatile Redskins offense off the field in tailback Johnny Allende’s absence.
“We weren’t doing anything fancy,” Black said. “He came in and did an awesome job holding on to the football and finding some creases. I thought our offensive line took it upon themselves to really push up front and open up some big holes for our running backs.”
Great Bend improves to 4-2 overall, and 2-1 in the WAC. Liberal drops to 3-3, 1-3.
“Liberal was everything that they were cracked up to be,” Black said. “They were a three-ring circus. We did a good job recovering onside kicks. We made stops defensively when we need to, and more than anything, I think our kids came out and played extremely hard and fought. It was a great bounce back from last week and it puts us where we needed to be heading into the last three games.”
With Hays beating Dodge City 35-28 on Friday night, Garden City, Hays and Great Bend are all 2-1 in conference play.
A magnificent 41-yard return on the opening kickoff from Ty Yager gave the Panthers’ offense great field position on the Redskins’ 34-yard line.
Great Bend took that spark and turned it into a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Bryce Beck for a 7-0 advantage.
Field position again smiled upon the Panthers after Liberal turned the ball over on downs at the Great Bend 45.
The ensuing 55-yard drive ended as Burley rounded the right corner of the defense for a 29-yard sprint into the end zone.
Liberal responded by pushing the ball to the Panthers 8-yard line, highlighted by a 47-yard pass from Redskins quarterback Britton Abbott to Trenton Hammond.
While Great Bend’s defense bent, it did not break.
On first-and-goal, Colton Lagerman and Branden Paden sacked Abbott for a 6-yard loss. Justin Henry recorded a sack on the next play, a 4-yard loss.
Abbott had two incompletions to turn the ball over on downs.
“Their offense scores a lot of points on everybody they play,” Black said. “We contained them. A lot of times we made some big plays and stopped them when we needed to. They’re a tough team to defend, especially when you’re going to double-team (Trenton Hammond) all night. We were just really proud with how our kids played.”
Abbott found the end zone on the next drive, a 2-yard run that closed the gap to 14-8 after the Redskins converted for two points.
The Panthers answered on their next drive, capped by a soaring 42-yard pass from Beck to Burley to put Great Bend ahead 21-8 at halftime.
“Bryce played a really good game,” Black said. “He really made some plays when we needed them.”
Hammond, the WAC’s leading receiver, made his presence known with a 20-yard TD pass from Abbott to open the third quarter.
Uselton answered with a 15-yard scoring jaunt on the following drive.
Justin McGinness intercepted an Abbott pass at the Great Bend 15-yard line, but a Beck pass ricocheted off his receiver’s hands and into Hammond’s for an interception. Hammond returned the interception to the Panthers 5.
Rex Heronemous scored on the following play, a 5-yard run to close the gap to 29-24.
Burley, who had 12 carries for a team-leading 126 yards, busted out for his second rushing touchdown of the night, a 32-yard scamper.
Liberal responded with a 7-yard connection from Abbott to Heronemous, putting the Redskins behind 35-30 with 3:58 remaining.
Burley gave Great Bend a double-digit lead with 1:24 remaining on a 38-yard score.
Abbott scored on a 1-yard run with four seconds remaining, Beck snagged the onside kick for Great Bend and took a knee to run out the clock.

Western Athletic Conference


At Great Bend
Memorial Stadium

Great Bend 43, Liberal 36
Liberal            0     8    8    20  —  36
Great Bend    14    7    8    14  —  43

First Quarter
Great Bend — Bryce Beck 1 run (Gustavo Apodaco kick), 8:20
Great Bend — Greg Burley 29 run (Apodaco kick), 5:10
Second Quarter
Liberal — Britton Abbott 2 run (Cristian Erives pass from Abbott), 9:17
Great Bend — Burley 42 pass from Beck (Apodaco kick), 3:47
Third Quarter
Liberal — Trenton Hammond 20 pass from Abbott (Hammond pass from Abbott), 10:42
Great Bend — Trent Uselton 15 run (Uselton run), 4:49
Fourth Quarter
Liberal — Rex Heronemous 5 run (Hammond pass from Lorenzo Pando), 11:02
Great Bend — Burley 32 run (pass failed), 5:43
Liberal — Heronemous 7 pass from Abbott (pass failed), 3:58
Great Bend — Burley 38 run (Burley run), 1:24
Liberal — Abbott 1 run (pass failed), 4.0

                              Lib    GB
First Downs               20    17
Total Net Yards        410    380     
Rushes-yards     33-152    52-315
Passing                  258    65
Comp-Att-Int    22-39-2    4-11-2
Punts-Avg            0-0-0    1-45.0
Fumbles-Lost           0-0    0-0
Penalties-Yards      3-35    6-55

RUSHING — Liberal, Abbott 23-87, Heronemous 8-48, Pando 1-6, Hammond 1-14; Great Bend, Burley 12-126, Uselton 20-117,Beck 13-63, Justin McGinnes 5-14, Keaton Elliott, 2-(minus 5)
PASSING — Liberal, Abbott 22-39-258; Great Bend, Beck 4-11-65
RECEIVING — Liberal, Hammond 8-143, Heronemous 5-47, Cristian Erives 5-50, Pando 4-18; Great Bend, McGinnes 1-4, Burley 2-50, Jack Westhoff 1-11