This is more like it.
The passion Great Bend High School head football coach Bo Black and his coaching staff have sought from their Panthers all season finally surfaced Friday night before a sizeable Homecoming crowd at Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers opened the game by making a jarring hit on the opening kickoff to recover a Wichita North fumble and then scored on the opening play from scrimmage, parlaying those big plays into many more in mauling the Redskins 41-0.
“It snowballed pretty quick on them,” Black said. “More than anything, I was just really pleased with the way our kids came out and played with passion for the first time this year and played with great effort.
“The enthusiasm was abundant. That really has nothing to do with the score. Our kids played hard and our kids played well for four quarters. It’s just a big step forward for our football program.”
Sparked by Patrick McCluskey’s fumble recovery on the opening kickoff and a 24-yard touchdown run on a reverse by quarterback-turned-wide receiver Bryce Beck on the first play from scrimmage, Great Bend built a 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter and led 34-0 by halftime against the winless Redskins (0-4), who were shut out for the third straight game.
Beck had the best of both worlds. After taking the handoff on the reverse from running back Jonathan Allende for the opening touchdown, he later scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown from his quarterback position and led the Panthers on several quick scoring drives.
Great Bend finished with 307 yards in total offense, including 290 on the ground, as Beck, in 11 carries, matched teammate Josh Lopez with 97 rushing yards. Lopez totaled 12 carries.
“He had a really good game,” Black said of Beck. “I think he grew up as a football player tonight, and all of our kids did.
“Even sitting at 3-1 now, we haven’t been real happy with the way that we’ve played and the thumbs been down on them pretty hard, so to have the type of the performance and to win like we did, it’s a team that’s improving and wants to get better.”
Lopez and Chris Burley also added 2- and 6-yard scoring runs in the opening period, helping the Panthers build their lead to 21-0 at the 5:42 mark.
After Beck scored his second touchdown on a 4-yard keeper to make it 28-0 at the 8:36 mark in the second quarter, Allende got into the act by adding a 31-yard touchdown run with 3:40 left in the second quarter, giving the Panthers their commanding 34-0 halftime lead.
Allende later scored the only touchdown of the second half on a 13-yard bolt at the 9:32 mark in the third quarter. He finished with 10 carries for 71 yards.
Besides Allende and Beck each scoring a pair of touchdowns, McCluskey also had a second fumble recovery in the second half when the game was already out of reach.
North squandered its only scoring opportunity at the Panthers 19-yard line, with Great Bend’s Justin Henry recovering at the 2:56 mark in the fourth quarter.
Although Shade Wondra started at quarterback, Beck took the snaps behind center for the first three periods until Wondra came on again for the fourth quarter. Matt Marshall, a senior linebacker and quarterback, who had shared the duties with Beck the previous three games, sat out the game with a bruised knee. Offensive tackle Wyatt Bayless missed the game with a cracked rib.
Lopez, who had been slowed with a sprained knee, came through with his best offensive game of the season. Lopez also blocked a ’Skins punt on special teams, a huge boost for a team that played with more passion than their previous games.
Great Bend improves to 3-1 overall, taking an 0-1 mark in the Western Athletic Conference into a conference clash at Dodge City on Friday night.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
At Great Bend
Great Bend 41, Wichita North 0
1 2 3 4 F
Wichita North 0 0 0 0 — 0
Great Bend 21 13 7 0 — 41
Great Bend — Bryce Beck 25 run (Mario Espino kick), 11:46
Great Bend — Josh Lopez 2 run (Espino kick), 8:12
Great Bend — Chris Burley 6 run (Espino kick), 5:42
Great Bend — Beck 4 run (Espino kick), 8:36
Great Bend — Jonathan Allende 31 run (kick failed), 3:40
Great Bend — Allende 13 run (Espino kick), 9:32
First downs 11 15
Total net yards 181 307
Rushes-yards 36-101 44-290
Passing 80 17
Comp0Att-Int 5-13-0 2-2-0
Punts-Avg 5-18.8 1-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 6-2 3-1
Penalties-Yards 6-51 3-35
RUSHING — Wichita North, Leon Williams 14-15, Calbe Franklin 10-48, Zach Beard 6-34, Darius McBride 2-7, Joshua Bryan 2-1, Torian Gonzalez 1-(minus-4), Tray Beard 1-0; Great Bend, Lopez 12-93, Beck 11-93, Allende 10-71, Brock Ibarra 1-21, Trent Uselton 3-6, Shade Wondra 2-2, Chris Burley 1-6, Hunter Harrison 1-5, Darion Yager 1-3, Chase Pumford 1-2.
PASSING — Wichita North, Beard 5-7-0 80, Bryan 0-6-0 0; Great Bend, Beck 2-2-0 17.
RECEIVING — Wichita North, Gonzalez 5-80; Great Bend, Lopez 1-12, Allende 1-5.
GBHS DEFENSIVE CHART
Harrison, 17 tackles, 3 tackles for loss; Greg Burley, 9 tackles; Bryce Hofmeister, 9 tackles; Chad Touslee 8 tackles, 1 sack; Ethan Henderson 8 tackles, 1 sack; Emerson Campbell, 7 tackles; Patrick McCluskey 2 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries; Cody Helsel 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss; Justin Henry, fumble recovery.