By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Panthers galvanized by rugged early-season slate
Placeholder Image

Great Bend High School football  (1-1, 1-0 )
Sept. 3 — St. Thomas Aquinas 52,
Great Bend 28
Sept. 17 — Great Bend 21, Garden City 13
Friday — WICHITA HEIGHTS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 — At Dodge City, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 — At Liberal, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 — HAYS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 — At Salina Central (Salina, KS)
Oct. 29 — SALINA SOUTH, 7 p.m.

Wichita Heights football (3-0, 3-0)
Sept. 3 — Wichita Heights 21, Bishop Carroll 0
Sept. 10 — Heights 35, Wichita North 0
Sept. 17 — Heights 69, Wichita West 0
Friday — At Great Bend, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — At Wichita Northwest, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 — WICHITA SOUTH, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — Wichita East (At South), 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — WICHITA SE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 — DERBY, 7 p.m.


Some Great Bend High School football fans are probably wondering why the Panthers scheduled Class 5A powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas and 6A brute Wichita Heights so early in the season on an already loaded schedule.
Suffice to say, it’s about the big picture, a steady build, culminated by the final three district games — at home with defending Western Athletic Conference champion Hays, at Salina Central and at home against Salina South — to determine if you make it to the state playoffs.
And, suffice to say, there’s no better teams to build for the latter portion of the season than Aquinas and Wichita Heights. On Friday night at 7, Heights (3-0), the consensus No. 1-ranked team in 6A, comes calling to Memorial Stadium for Homecoming.
“We’ve got a huge challenge,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said of the Falcons, who have soared to lopsided victories during their unbeaten start, their latest conquest, a 69-0 drubbing of Wichita West last Friday night. “We knew that. We schedule games like St. Thomas Aquinas and Wichita Heights because they’re going to be coached very well and they’re going to be great football.
“It gives our kids and coaches a great challenge to overcome the talent level of teams like this. The big thing that it allows us to do is play great competition, in order for us to get better.”
The Panthers (1-1) pulled out a 21-13 road victory over Garden City last Friday to move into a first-place tie in the WAC standings with Hays at 1-0. Great Bend is undoubtedly a better team than it was after Week 1, a 52-28 loss to the aforementioned explosive Aquinas.
In essence, no matter the outcome Friday night, the Panthers figure to get better, just because of the caliber of competition they’re playing. Great Bend got better playing Aquinas, and figures to do the same against the Falcons.
“It’s a great stepping-stone as to where your team is at,” Black said. “It’s just a huge challenge for all of us. The goals for our football team this year were not to come out and win a district championship or make the playoffs in Week 3.
“It’s playing the best that we can as a buildup to get ready for a conference run and hopefully, for a playoff run. When you pick teams up that are good football teams, it allows us that opportunity to get better from playing great talent.”