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Kottas, Lopez are keys in Great Bends ever-growing running game
spt hg lopez
Great Bend running back Josh Lopez has four straight 100-yard rushing performances for the Panthers, who need to beat host Salina South tonight to advance to the Class 5A state playoffs out of District 6.

In his one season as Great Bend High School’s quarterback, senior Mitch Kottas has been the engineer behind the controls of the Panthers’ productive running game.
 “Our quarterback is playing his best football as of late here,” GBHS head coach Bo Black said of Kottas. “We’re just at the point of the season where our strength is running the football. We’re not giving any secrets out. We want to run the football and we want to be successful running right at you.
“If, and when, you’re able to do that, then your keeping the opposing offense off the field, you’re opening up some play-action and you’re having people crowding the box, which allows for other things to be open.”
Ah yes, the play-action pass, which is quickly becoming a staple in Black’s playbook. Kottas has parlayed some big pass plays into a Western Athletic Conference-leading 11 touchdown passes. He has completed 72 of 132 aerials on the season for 54.5 percent accuracy.
“He’s throwing the ball well extremely well,” Black said of Kottas, who has made a smooth transition from his junior varsity days of yesteryear.
The Panthers have accumulated over 1,031 rushing yards in their last four games.
Black and his coaching staff implemented what he describes as “Bone,” where a fullback is positioned near the line of scrimmage.
 “We’ve always done the split-backs there out of gun in the past,” Black said. “Jonny Allende brings some speed on the perimeter for us, and Jeremy Sigler has been a steady guy back there now for three years. (Josh) Lopez has been doing a good job for us.
“We’re trying to get a little speed and power going for us at the same time. Without Jace Bowman (a senior wide receiver lost for the season with a knee injury in the second game), we had to make some adjustments with our offense.”
Lopez has recorded four straight 100-yard rushing games.