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Panthers big plays overwhelm Newton
Bobbitt, Maneth score touchdowns
QB Jacob Murray3
Great Bend quarterback Jacob Murray - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune


NEWTON — Great Bend’s football team completed a emphatic 52-21 victory over Newton Friday when the players thanked the crowd that supported the Panthers.
Quarterback Jacob Murray scored three rushing touchdowns and completed two touchdown passes. Thomas Bobbitt and Jared Maneth scored defensive touchdowns to spark the Panthers past Newton 52-21 in Class 5A District 6 Friday.
Great Bend (5-2, 1-0) plays Salina Central (3-4, 0-1) Oct. 23 after the Mustangs lost 42-35 to Salina South. Great Bend last qualified for the Class 5A state playoffs in 2010. Newton (1-6, 0-1) plays Salina South (4-3, 1-0) Oct. 23.
“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. We appreciate the support we’ve received. When the defense scores two touchdowns, you feel good about things.”
Murray accounted for 251 yards. Bryce Lytle caught eight passes for 148 yards and one score.
“Jacob puts the ball on the spot every time. That was a lot of fun out there tonight,” Lytle said. “I kept losing the defender. They kept biting on play fakes.”
The 5-9, 145-pound Lytle consistently beat the defense downfield.
“Bryce gets open all the time. He’s a phenomenal receiver and it shows Friday night,” Crough said. “Jacob played with more poise tonight and made good decisions.”
Cal Marshall and Murray each rushed for 75 yards. The Panthers finished with 161 yards rushing and 176 yards passing behind the offensive power of center Alex Deist, guards Devon Boone and Kade Southard and tackles Aaron Clark and Jake Dearman.
Great Bend roared ahead 31-7 at halftime behind a dominating performance. The Panthers mixed 110 yards rushing with 91 yards rushing. The Panthers converted two takeaways into touchdowns.
The Panthers roared ahead 7-0 on 9-yard fumble return by Thomas Bobbitt. Bobbitt alertly scooped up a lateral left on the ground by Newton’s Cade Remsberg with 8:01 left in the first quarter.
“We ran that play all the time back in WKFL. Coach (Crough) always tells me if they drop the football, I need to get on it,” Bobbitt said. “That was a huge play to start the game like that.”
The Railroaders moved offside to hand the Panthers two critical first downs on short-yardage situations. The Panthers gained 39 yards on the ground and Murray scored on a 1-yard dive.
On one dazzling play, Newton’s Kaden Remsberg flashed the speed of the fastest runner in Class 5A. He sprinted 60 yards for Newton’s touchdown to slice the lead to 14-7.
Remsberg captured the 100- and 200-meter Class 5A dashes last spring. Remsberg scored three TDs and rushed for 129 yards. Newton rushed for 220 yards. Defensive tackle Aidan Mills delivered Newton’s other highlight with a blocked punt and a fumble recovery.
The Panthers finished the half with 17 points for a 31-7 lead. Murray completed a crucial fourth-down-and-12 conversion to Lytle, who was surprisingly uncovered at the 8-yard line. Brayden Smith caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to finish the drive for a 21-7 lead.
Great Bend’s onside kickoff was alertly recovered by Sam Witte at the Newton 49-yard line. Lytle again came to the rescue with a 19-yard reception on fourth-and-7. Murray scored on a 1-yard dive for a 28-7 lead. Franco kicked a 23-yard field goal for a  31-7 lead.
Big plays keyed Great Bend’s second half. Lytle caught a 52-yard TD pass from Murray. Payton Mauler’s tackle created a fumble and Maneth rumbled 72 yards on a fumble return, showing shifty moves his teammates had never seen.
“That’s my first touchdown since sixth grade,” Maneth said. “It was amazing. I had a bunch of guys blocking for me. I couldn’t have done that without them playing plays.”
Murray scored on a 33-yard run for the final touchdown sandwiched around a pair of Remsberg’s touchdowns.
“Great Bend is a fine football team. We continued to fight,” said Newton coach Nate Wollenberg. “Our seniors want to finish their season strong. But it’s not going to get any easier.”
Great Bend 14 17 14 7 — 52
Newton 7 0 0 14 – 21
GB—Thomas Bobbitt 9 fumble return (Carlos Franco kick), 8:01
GB—Jacob Murray 1 run (Franco kick), 3:24
N—Kade Remsberg 60 run (Alejandro Garcia kick) 1:43
GB—Brayden Smith 15 pass from Murray (Franco kick), 11:21
GB—Murray 1 run (Franco kick), 9:05
GB—Franco 23 FG, 0:09
GB—Lytle 52 pass from Murray (Franco kick), 8:17
GB—Jared Maneth 72 fumble return (Franco kick), 3:04
N—Remsberg 6 run (Garcia kick), 10:55
GB—Murray 33 run (Franco kick), 6:20
N—Remsberg 35 run (Garcia kick), 2:40
RUSHING—GB, 39-161; Murray 18-75; Marshall 14-75; Lopez 4-10; Vargas 3-1; Newton, 44-220; Remsberg 22-129; Luke Porter 6-76; Drew Goerzen 5-(-1); Austin Murphy 8-26; Warren Dietz 1-0; Landon Moore 2-(-10).
PASSING—GB, Murray 10-21-0, 176; Newton, Dietz 1-3-0, 26; Moore 0-4-0.
RECEIVING—GB, Bryce Lytle 8-148; Smith 2-28; Newton, Luke Porter 1-26.