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Great Bend can clinch WAC crown in Class 5A District 7 opener tonight
spt deh liberal football
Great Bend senior defensive end Stu Hogg (56) rushes Liberal quarterback Caleb Wehling (12) during last Fridays 37-14 Great Bend victory. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Until the previous two seasons, Great Bend High School had a stranglehold on the Western Athletic Conference football race.
“We’ve won seven of the last 10,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said of the Panthers’ enormous conference success.
 Two years ago, Hays won the WAC title. Last year, Dodge City went undefeated in securing the conference crown.
This season, Great Bend (3-2 overall) finds itself undefeated in three conference games. Tonight, the Panthers travel to arch-rival Hays in quest of running the table and bringing the WAC championship back to Great Bend. Kickoff is set for 7 at Lewis Field Stadium on the Fort Hays State University campus.
But it’s much more than a conference showdown. It’s the Class 5A district opener, and it’s all about a three-game season.
“We do feel good about the strides we have made,” Black said. “We’ve been getting better each week, but whether we’re 3-2 or 6-0 or 0-6 at this point, it comes down to three games and we play three really quality football programs (in district foes Hays, Salina Central and Salina South).
 “You kind of have to focus on winning two out of three, which has to be the overall objective and goal, and we have to get right into this one (against Hays).”
The Indians (5-1 overall) are currently 2-1 in the WAC, having lost to Garden City 24-21 earlier in the season. They are coming off a 56-14 conquest of Dodge City last Friday.
“It’s a huge rivalry to start with,” Black said, “and when you add a conference championship on the line and also add the opening district play, it really is a big game.
“It’s seems that way every year. It’s a huge game for both us. The conference championship is always a nice deal, but that’s not really what’s at the forefront of this game. It’s the start of district play and being in a position to move on to a bigger goal even than winning a conference championship and that’s making the state playoffs.”