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Great Bend Panthers make 5A playoffs
salina central fball game 8
Great Bend High School Panther quarterback Jacob Murray is forced out of bounds by a Salina Central defender Friday night at GBHSs Memorial Stadium. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune






Great Bend’s football team is playoff-bound for the first time since 2010, thanks to a opportunistic defense.

Thomas Bobbitt and Dominique Rideaux scored defensive touchdowns and the Panthers broke a Salina jinx by crushing Salina Central 57-38 Friday to qualify for the Class 5A playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Panthers travel to Salina South (5-3, 2-0) for the Class 5A, District 6 title next week.

“We’re really pumped up because it was a team effort,” said Great Bend coach Tony Crough. “The kids played great football and believed we could win. When you score two defensive touchdowns, you’re going to win.

“When you beat Salina Central, it’s a great win,” Crough said. “Our motto this year was ‘Beat Salina.’

The Mustangs, keyed by a lucky first-down spot, were poised to make it a 35-31 game at the Panther 26-yard line. Rideaux sacked Mustang quarterback Jake Bellerive and the football bounced loose at the Panther 35-yard line. The speedy Bobbitt raced for a 65-yard touchdown and a 42-24 lead.

“That was a huge play, a game-changing play right there,” Bobbitt said. “Dominque made a great play. We pulled away after that play. All I had to do was pick it up and run.

Rideaux said, “I hit the quarterback and the football bounced back about 15 yards.”

Rideaux sealed the Mustangs’ fate on an 74-yard interception return for a stunning 57-31 lead.He also scored against Hays High this year.

 “I was watching the quarterback and hew threw it right to me,” Rideaux said. “I almost fell down one time, but I leaned on a teammate and regained my footing.”

Rideaux had 12 tackles and four stops for losses. Jared Maneth had 13 tackles, two for losses. Payton Mauler and Sam Witte each had two stops for losses.

The Panthers gained 253 yards passing and 165 yards rushing.

The Panthers scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Murray to Bryce Lytle off punt formation and they turned a onside kickoff recovery into a touchdown. Lytle had 10 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was awesome to play our best game all year,” Murray said. “Defense played great and our offense connected. We kept them off guards. I don’t think they expected that.”

Crough said coaches upstairs and on the field noticed Lytle was uncovered as a “gunner,” on the punt team.

“We saw it was open. It was a pretty lucky play, but a great throw and catch and run by Bryce,” Crough said.

Central tailback Dalton Peters rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The Mustangs gained 379 yards rushing and 106 yards passing, but three turnovers and a safety were too much to overcome.

By halftime, the Panthers had rolled up 304 yards offense and four touchdowns for a 28-24 lead. The Panthers mixed 163 yards rushing with 141 yards passing.

Murray was flawless with 13 of 19 completions, hitting his favorite target Lytle time-after–time – nine catches for 132 yards by halftime. The Mustangs let Lytle roam into the secondary uncovered on several occasions.

The Mustangs’ Dalton Peters was dominating as advertised with 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Peters scored on runs of 1, 40 and 74 yards behind dominating blocking at times. The Mustangs rushed for 252 yards on 25 attempts.

The Panthers raced to a 14-0 lead. After Lytle beat Central’s Seth Leuthiphonoh and Sumjah Kounnavong for a 32-yard touchdown, Quinton Elliott recovered an onside kickoff. Cal Marshall capped the quick 43-yard drive on a 17-yard touchdown.

The Mustangs responded. Dalton Peters scored on a 60-yard run after Adrian Castelli dashed 25 yards.

Lytle converted three consecutive first downs on third-down throws before the Panthers stopped at the Mustang 26-yard line. Dalton Peters rumbled 74 yards for a 14-14 tie.

Marshall dashed 12 yards for a touchdown one play after Murray and Lytle hooked up for a 31-yard completion for a 21-14 lead.

The Mustangs reached the 1-yard line on 25-yard completion to Harrison Jett. Dalton Peters scored from a 1-yard line for a 21-21 tie.

Marshall dashed 62 yards untouched on perfect blocking with 2:44 left in the half for a 28-24 halftime lead.


Salina Central 7 17 7 7 – 38

Great Bend 14 14 14 15 – 57

GB—Bryce Lytle 32 pass from Jacob Murray (Carlos Franco kick), 1:26

GB—Cal Marshall 17 run (Franco kick), 0:58

SC—Dalton Peters 40 run (Taylon Peters kick) 0:34

SC—D. Peters 74 run (T. Peters kick), 7:51

GB—Marshall 12 run (Franco kick), 4:44

SC—D. Peters 1 run (T. Peters kick), 3:16

GB—Marshall 62 run (Franco kick), 2:31

GB—Lytle 59 pass from Murray (Franco kick), 8:31

GB—Thomas Bobbitt 65 fumble return (Franco kick) 2:42

SC—D. Peters 50 run (T. Peters kick), 0:44

GB—Murray 8 run (kick failed), 5:19

GB—Dominique Rideaux 74 interception return (Franco kick), 3:48

SC—Travis Bigler 23 pass from Jake Bellerive (T. Peters kick), 1:40

RUSHING—SC 47-379, D. Peters 28-312; Adrian Castelli 6-45; Michael McMullen 7-37; Jake Bellerive 5-(-5); GB 35-165, Marshall 13-109; Murray 20-50, Thomas Bobbitt 1-6.

PASSING—SC, Bellerive 8-12-1, 117; GB, Murray 16-24-0, 253.

RECEIVING—SC,  Harrison Jett 1-25; Travis Bigler 5-80; McMullen 1-12; D. Peters 1-0; GB, Lytle 10-191; Andrew Morss 1-11, Brayden Smith 2-26; Mason YellowWolf 1-7; Marshall 2-19.