BY JIM MISUNAS
Coffeyville-Field Kindley High School knew all about Great Bend skill players Jacob Murray, Cal Marshall and Bryce Lytle.
Wide receiver Brayden Smith delivered the back-breaking plays with three touchdown receptions in Great Bend's dominating 57-13 opening victory over Coffeyville Friday at Memorial Stadium. It was Erin Beck's first victory as head coach.
"I liked the way Brayden Smith caught the ball and his yards after the catch showed his true toughness, and how far he's come in a year," said Great Bend coach Erin Beck.
The 6-foot-5 Smith caught second-half touchdown passes of 20, 28 and 34 yards from quarterback Jacob Murray, who rushed for 119 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Smith had six catches for 104 yards
"I'm really grateful. It's an amazing feeling, the best feeling in the world," Smith said. "My new position gives me an opportunity to get open downfield. It's a great way to start my senior season with all my buddies."
The Panthers rolled up 471 yards with 229 yards rushing and 242 yards passing, Murray led the Panthers to eight consecutive scoring drives for a 57-7 lead. He ignited a 30-7 halftime lead with three rushing touchdowns.
Murray accounted for six touchdowns after a 31-touchdown season in 2015. The Panthers' offensive front of tackles Aaron Clark and Noah Presson, guards Trevor Fehr and Payton Doll and center Kaden Schroeder controlled the line of scrimmage.
Murray dashed 10 yards to cap a 37-yard scoring drive. His 28-yard dash ended a 43-yard scoring drive for a 13-0 lead. After the Golden Tornado scored, Murray dashed 16 yards for a 20-7 edge on a 69-yard drive.
"We fooled the defense with some misdirection," Beck said. "That opened some huge holes for Jacob Murray."
The defense yielded an 80-yard scoring drive capped by Kameran Wilson's 6-yard reception behind backup quarterback Hunter Mason.
Great Bend linebackers Payton Mauler and Blake Penka delivered the initial message to Coffeyville quarterback CJ Kelley on the first drive.
Teammates Jensen Randall and Brock Blessing finished the job, sidelining Kelley on the Golden Tornado's second drive.
"We wanted to set a tone early that's we'd play physical," Mauler said. "We wanted to fire out and have fun. We kept running to the football. That's a good starting point for our defense."
Panthers Koby Schroeder and Mauler recovered fumbles that set up scoring drives and Braulio Vargas returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown.
"I'm really excited that the team came out ready to play," Beck said. "It was good to see them hit somebody under the lights in live action. Our defense never quits. They played their tails off and we showed effort."
The Panthers return home Sept. 9 against High, a 32-21 winner over Scott City.
PANTHERS 57, TORNADO 13
Coffeyville 0 7 0 6 -- 13
Great Bend 13 17 27 0 -- 57
GB-Jacob Murray 10 run (kick failed), 9:07
GB-Murray 28 run (Carlos Franco kick), 6:44
C-Kamaren Wilson 6 pass from Hunter Mason, (Parker Banzet kick), 11:56
GB-Murray 16 run (Franco kick), 10:25
GB-Cal Marshall 2 run (Franco kick), 1:01
GB-Franco 25 FG, 0:00
GB-Brayden Smith 34 pass from Murray (Franco kick), 11:00
GB-Braulio Vargas 35 fumble return (Franco kick), 10:36
GB-Smith 20 pass from Murray (Franco kick), 9:20
GB-Smith 28 pass from Murray (kick failed), 3:38
C-Victor Herring 3 run (no extra point), 0:00
RUSHING-C-33-148; Herring 18-57; Jaylen Logan 1-24; C.J. Kelley 2-(-11), Hunter Mason 7-13; Jacob Jackson 5-65; GB-39-229; Murray 9-119; Marshall 13-56; Paxton Redetzke 10-39; Cory Brack 7-15.
PASSING-C-Mason 11-16-0, 131; GB-Murray 15-20-0, 209; Brack 3-4-0, 33.
RECEIVING-C-Wilson 4-59; Tajahn Thomas 2-31; Jackson 1-13; Logan 3-7; Herring 1-20; GB-B. Smith 6-104; Bryce Lytle 7-72; Marshall 1-25; Logan Perry 2-25; Brack 1-12; Grant Keller 1-4.