BY JIM MISUNAS
Playoff positioning time continues Friday for Great Bend’s football team against Liberal (4-2) at Memorial Stadium.
A victory guarantees Great Bend (4-2, 2-1 WAC) a showdown for the Western Athletic Conference. A win would likely secure a home playoff game in week nine. The No. 7 seeded Panthers could move up to fourth seed after Friday.
“This is a big game to be alive for the WAC title. We control our own destiny in the 5A bracket,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “We need to keep riding this winning streak going and finish our homestand.”
The Panthers are yielding 23 ppg and 334 yards per game. S Dalton Miller (14 tackles per game) has three interceptions.
Liberal scored 42 second-half points in a 42-20 victory over Wichita Southeast. QB Syris Dunlap rushed for 236 yards and scored three TDs. Jesse Alvarado intercepted two passes.
Dunlap (738 yards, 14 TDs) scored two touchdowns in a 28-27 loss to Garden City. Cesar Burciaga scored on a fumble return and the Redskins had four takeaways. The Redskins average 260 yards rushing and 61 yards passing per game.
“Syris Dunlap can run it as well as anyone we’ve seen,” Beck said. “We’ve got to stop No. 9. They rely heavily on their offensive line. It’s going to be a battle.”
Beck said Liberal’s favorite trend is overpowering the defense with a run-heavy formation. The Redskins also run from several other formations.
“They run a heavy set with double tight ends and run lead plays and quarterback ‘follow plays,’ ” Beck said. “Dunlap is very fast. They believe their offense will march down and score. Our defense is playing well. We expect a good football game.”
QB Koy Brack has rushed for 618 yards and 13 TDs and passed for 776 yards and five scores. The Panthers average 223 yards rushing and 129 yards passing per game. TB Gage Fritz (585 yards, 4 TDs) and WR Dalton Bieker (518 yards, 4 TDs) lead the offense.
The Panthers scrapped their game plan last week in a six-hour marathon that was delayed nearly four hours by severe weather. Wichita East disrupted the Panthers’ offense with blitzing linebackers.
“Their linebackers were fast, read and reacted to the football,” Beck said. “It’s hard to simulate that in practice. We’ve got to do a better job executing and finding those guys.”
• PANTHER OFFENSE—QB Koy Brack; TB Gage Fritz; WR—Dalton Bieker, Bryce Brown, Ty Esfeld, Dalton Miller; LG Trevor Fehr; LT Aaron Clark; C Kaden Schroeder; RG Payton Doll; RT Andrew Wettengel; TE Grant Keller
• PANTHER DEFENSE—DL Pablo Martinez, Eric Vazquez; NG Alan Miramontes; LB Brock Blessing, Blake Penka, Zach Seymour, Kody Stapelton; DB Max Jerke, Joey Soupiset; CB Townshend Kurth, Bryce Brown; S Dalton Miller
• SPECIAL TRIBUTE— The Great Bend Panthers will wear Down Syndrome stickers on their helmets Friday provided by the Northwest Kansas Down Syndrome Society to help bring awareness to the condition. Students serving as honorary Great Bend captains are Logan Gregg, Kadin White, Brady Burnham and Brooke Suppes.
Friday’s scheduled piblic address announcement:
“Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. People with Down syndrome have an extra copy, or partial extra copy, of chromosome 21. Most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives, but some are at a greater risk for other med-ical conditions. Down syndrome usually presents with cognitive and developmental delays at varying degrees.
However, every person with Down syndrome is unique and possesses many gifts. More adults with Down syndrome are leading full and meaningful lives, working, attending school, or getting married. We celebrate people with Down syndrome tonight and every day. The stickers were provided by the Northwest Kansas Down Syndrome Society.”
Guymon, Okla. 48-3
Hays High 0-20
Wichita North 40-6
Garden City 27-28
Wichita SE 42-20
GREAT BEND (4-2)
Hays High 20-21, OT
Wichita NW 27-63
Dodge City 38-13
Wichita West 42-18
Wichita East 7-6
5A WEST SEEDS (week 6)
1—Goddard 6-0 69
2—Bishop Carroll 5-1 48
3—Maize High 5-1 29
4—Valley Center 5-1 25
5—Liberal 4-2 34
6—Wichita Kapaun 4-2 30
7—Great Bend 4-2 26
8—Wichita Heights 4-2 23
9—Andover 3-3 17
10—Emporia 3-3 (-2)
11—Newton 2-4 (-20)
12—Eisenhower 1-5 (-31)
13—Salina South 1-5 (-44)
14—Topeka West 1-5 (-52)
15—Arkansas City 1-5 (-59)
16—Salina Central 0-6 (-67)