It’s a new week.
For the Great Bend High School football team, it’s time to put last Friday behind them and start pushing forward.
The Panthers fell 47-13 to Dodge City. It was the biggest point difference of a Great Bend game this season.
Great Bend will look to get things back on track against another Western Athletic Conference opponent — Liberal — tonight at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7.
“We’re not just coming off our worst defensive performance this season, but in years,” GBHS head coach Bo Black said. “It wasn’t just the defense. We were putting the defense in bad positions with four turnovers in the game (against Dodge City).
“I honestly don’t know how the kids will react. We had a good week of practice. I’d like to think we’ll bounce back from that one.”
Great Bend was the final WAC team to lose a conference game. It sits at 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference action.
The Panthers are one of three WAC teams that are 1-1, joining Dodge City and Hays.
Garden City sits at the top of the standings at 2-1 after defeating Liberal last Friday 61-20. Great Bend was the team that gave the Buffaloes their one WAC loss, a 28-25 outcome.
Liberal is 3-2, 1-2.
Great Bend is going to have to get things back on track without tailback Johnny Allende.
Allende, who has rushed for 629 yards and nine touchdowns this season, tore up Dodge City for 194 yards and two scores before exiting early with a contusion.
“It’s just a contusion,” Black said, “but there’s a stiffness, and it affected his kidneys a little bit. I’m assuming he’ll be back next week, but we won’t have him (tonight).”
With Allende gone, others will be looked upon to step up.
Quarterback Bryce Beck has completed 25 of 55 passes for 307 yards and three scores. He has also rushed for 258 yards and three TDs.
Greg Burley has 208 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and Trent Uselton has 11 yards and one score.
“We’re going to have to do some things that we weren’t expecting to do at the beginning of the week,” Black said. “Trent Uselton, Greg Burley, as well as our JV guys, Braden Meitner and Thomas Bobbitt, will have to step up.
“We obviously wish we had Johnny, but this just means the next man’s playing. It’s on them to step up and take advantage of being in the spotlight.”
Great Bend will also look to get its defense back on track after giving up 47 point against the Demons.
The Panthers are led by Justin Henry, who has 37 tackles this season.
Branden Paden has 36 tackles and Wyatt Bryant has 34, including two sacks.
Liberal has more passing yards than any other WAC team with 1,784, and more points scored at 210.
Redskins quarterback Britton Abbott has completed 109 of 202 passes for 1,636 yards and 13 TDs.
Abbott’s leading receiver is Trenton Hammond, who has a WAC-leading 736 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
Liberal’s leading rusher is Abbott, who has 581 yards and 11 scores.
“The key is for us to shut the run down and get some pressure on the quarterback,” Black said. “They have a balanced offense. They can take advantage of whatever the defense gives them.
“Their quarterback, Britton Abbott, is a good thrower with a great release. He has weapons at receiver, and he has the ability to run, too. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
It’s a new week.