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Mustangs pose obstacle for Panthers
spt deh WR Bryce Lytle2
Great Bends Bryce Lytle carries the ball against Newton last Friday night in Newton. Great Bend won 53-21 and looks to continue their success in district play against Salina Central tonight. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Panthers passed their first Class 5A District 6 football test with flying colors, a 53-21 victory over Newton. The Salina Central Mustangs failed miserably, losing a 21-point lead in a 42-35 loss to rival Salina South. Great Bend beat Salina Central 27-13 in 2011.
Quarterback Jacob Murray scored three rushing touchdowns and completed two touchdown passes. Thomas Bobbitt and Jared Maneth scored defensive touchdowns. Murray accounted for 251 yards with 176 yards passing and 75 yards rushing. Bryce Lytle caught eight passes for 148 yards and one score.
Cal Marshall rushed for 75 yards. The Panthers finished with 161 yards rushing behind the offensive power of center Alex Deist, guards Devon Boone and Kade Southard and tackles Aaron Clark and Jake Dearman.
Great Bend last qualified for the Class 5A state playoffs in 2010. Newton (1-6, 0-1) plays Salina South (4-3, 1-0) Friday.
“This is where we hoped to be. We got off to a great start in District play,” said Great Bend coach Tony Crough. “We’re flying high right now.”
Friday’s District 6 football game promises to be an offensive shootout. The Mustangs prefer to move by ground. The Panthers mix the ground and air attacks. Murray has thrown for 1,097 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lytle has 728 receiving yards. Murray has rushed for 588 yards and Marshall 438 yards.
Payton Mauler leads with 68 tackles and Sam Witte has 64 tackles. Dominique Rideaux has 11 stops for loss.
The Mustangs are no doubt still stinging over a 28-point fourth-quarter burst by Salina South. The Mustangs committed four turnovers in the final 10 minutes to lose a 35-14 lead.
Crough said Great Bend’s challenge is slowing down the Mustangs’ running game that averages 353 yards per game. Tailback Dalton Peters has rushed for 1,495 yards and 17 touchdowns. Michael McMullen has gained 499 yards and quarterback Jake Bellerive has passed for 352 yards.
Great Bend will feature as many as eight players near the line of scrimmage to disrupt the Mustangs’ offense. The Mustangs rushed for more than 350 yards against Salina South. Peters gained 173 yards, Adrian Castelli 92 yards and versatile McMullen had 89 yards rushing and 74 yards receiving.