In the driver’s seat.
Masters of their own fate.
However you want to put it, Great Bend High School’s football team has a chance to lock down a spot in the postseason with a win tonight on the road against Salina Central.
“It’s very important,” GBHS head coach Tony Crough said. “You want to have an opportunity to be in control. You want to control your own fate. You don’t want to have to rely on what someone else can do.
“Hopefully, we can get another win and get into the postseason, but you got to realize that we have two Salina teams ahead of us that are going to be real tough.”
Great Bend is 3-4 on the season, but 1-0 in Class 5A’s District 6.
The Panthers defeated Newton 28-0 last week to get off to a great start in district play.
Salina Central is coming off a 14-7 loss against Salina South.
Central is 4-3 overall this season.
“They’re extremely physical,” Crough said. “They’re a very tough, hard-nosed team. They control the ball well. They run the ball very well. They have a strong running game.
“They have a lot of 10- to 12-play drives. It’s very hard to beat a team that controls the ball that well. It isn’t likely to be a high-scoring game.”
The Mustangs’ offense isn’t the only thing to worry about.
“Their defense is really good,” Crough said. “They have a really good 4-4 base defense. They’re solid. They have good fundamentals.
“They might be the best defense we’ve faced this season, definitely one of the best since we played Hays.”
The Panthers have gotten back a number of players who have been injured or sitting out.
“We have Brady Michel back,” Crough said. “We have Adrian Falk back. We have Ramses Lopez back from what they’ve been dealing with. We have a lot of depth.”
Great Bend will be without Jared Maneth.
“He won’t be back,” Crough said. “He tore up his shoulder pretty good. He was a big part of our line who played both sides of the ball. We have three people working to fill in the roles that he played on Friday nights.”
Offensively, Great Bend is going to rely on what they’ve been working to perfect all season.
That means a lot of running backs Thomas Bobbitt and Trent Uselton.
Bobbitt has the most carries and most rushing yards for Great Bend with 108 and 642, respectively. He has four rushing touchdowns.
Uselton also has four rushing TDs, along with 395 yards on 74 carries.
Quarterback Shade Wondra has the most rushing touchdowns with six, though a lot are 1-yard, goal-line plunges.
Wondra has completed 41 of 92 passes this season for 488 yards and four TDs. He has thrown seven interceptions.
Bryce Lytle is Great Bend’s leading receiver, the only receiver over 100 yards. He has 320 yards on 18 receptions and three touchdowns.
Christian Rivas leads the defense with 51 total tackles.