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GBHS moves into first place in WAC race
incomplete pass
Inside receiver Connor Sell of Great Bend has a pass trickle off his fingertips while being defended by Dodges Matt Schneweis. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend High School hit Dodge City in the mouth relentlessly and never let up in a Western Athletic Conference showdown Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers put their stamp on a consummate team effort that featured smash-mouth football, a potent running game and a sturdy defense in picking apart the defending WAC champions in a 28-7 manhandling.
With the win, Great Bend, 2-2 overall, moves to sole possession of first place in the WAC standings at 2-0. Dodge City falls to 3-2, 1-1.
“It’s really hard to pick a place to start,” said Great Bend head coach Bo Black said, “because it was a great effort. We had a lot of kids that played and we ran a lot of formations and a lot of kids at different positions.
“We just played really, really well. It was obviously the best game we have played this season, and we kind of thought Dodge would come in a little overconfident and it felt that way. I don’t know … we dominated the game in all phases of it and it was just a great outing for us at the right time of the year.”
Joshua Lopez, a junior running back, had a breakthrough game, rushing for 154 yards in 25 carries and two touchdowns for the Panthers, who accumulated 297 of their 331 net yards on the ground.
“We wanted to run it from the start and all of our linemen did really, really good, making big enough holes for us to run through,” said Lopez, who had a 10-yard TD run with 9:08 left in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead at halftime.
“Our whole team did a really good job.”
GBHS senior running back Jeremy Sigler added 51 yards in four carries, including a 41-yard scamper at the 7:47 mark in the third quarter, increasing the lead to 14-0 and sticking the proverbial fork in the Red Demons.
“It goes back to running the football,” Black said. “If you can run the football, you can do a lot of things and we were pretty content on being pretty simple.
“We brought John Verbeck into the right tackle position and lined him up next to Tyler Uselton (right guard) and they just opened up some huge holes. That offensive line and those two fullbacks, Sigler and Matt Marshall, really opened up some good things for us.”
Verbeck (6-foot-3, 327 pounds) and Uselton (6-4, 327) unleashed a truckload of a wall for Great Bend’s backs to run behind.
Smash-mouth football?
“Yes, sir!,” said Verbeck, a polite phrase coined often by Black. “Our running backs were running behind us and it was a pretty good deal.
“We ran the ball a lot and it wasn’t just me and Uselton. It was the whole line … the whole team. By far, this has been our best game.”
Marshall, moved to fullback for the first time this week, caught an 11-yard scoring pass from quarterback Mitch Kottas late in the third quarter to hike the margin to 21-0. He also had an interception on defense.
“We were just faking a toss play to our running back and (the Demons) all bit up on the run and I just got behind them,” Marshall said of his reception coming out of the background.
“We’re in the driver’s seat now (in the WAC) and we’re going to keep rolling. Our coaches are going to push us.”
Dodge, the highest-scoring team in the WAC coming into the game, averaged only 1.8 yards per carry.
Several playmakers emerged for the Panthers on this night, including speedy sophomore Jonathan Allende giving them a changeup from the bullish likes of Lopez and Sigler. Allende finished with 11 carries for 47 yards, most of which came in the first half, where the Panthers used their ball-hogging tactics to grind out yards and eat up the clock.
On defense, Great Bend denied Dodge time and again. The Demons averaged only 1.8 yards per rushing play, and finished with just 41 rushing yards in 23 carries.
Justin Henry, a sophomore lineman, had a fumble recovery for GBHS, caused by junior lineman Gabe Joiner, and sophomore Greg Burly had an interception.
Sigler had 11 tackles, including seven solo stops, a pass deflection and two tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Hunter Harrison also had 11 stops, including three unassisted tackles, and a fumble recovery.
“We worked a lot through the week on watching film and knowing what we had to read,” Harrison said. “I just kind of watch my keys and make sure I go to the right spot.
“This is huge. This was a big win and gives us momentum going into our next game.”
On special teams, Mario Espino converted all four of his extra-point kicks for the Panthers and sophomore Nick Warren averaged 35.0 yards on five punts, including a coffin-corner punt that pinned the Demons inside the 3-yard line.
Great Bend entertains Liberal on Friday night at Memorial Stadium. It will be Homecoming.

At Great Bend
Memorial Stadium
Great Bend 28, Dodge City 7
Dodge City                0   0   0   7  —  7
Great Bend                0  7  14  7  — 28
First Quarter

No scoring
Second Quarter
Great Bend  — Lopez 10 yd run (Espino kick), 9:08
Third Quarter
Great Bend — Sigler 41 yd run Espino kick), 7:47
Great Bend — Matt Marshall 11 pass from Mitch Kottas (Espino kick),
Fourth Quarter
Great Bend — Lopez 11 yd run, Espino PAT
Dodge City — Jordan Doan 22 pass from Taylor Murphy (Burkhart kick)
                                DC         GB

First Downs              7            19
Total Net Yards      180         331
Rushes-yards        23-41     55-297
Passing                  139          34
Comp-Att-Int      14-24-2    3-12-0
Punts-Avg.           6-36.0    5-35.0
Fumbles-lost           2-2        2-1
Penalties-yds         8-55       3-20
Dodge City, Murphy 14-27, Parker Davis 7-15, Salem 1-1, Newton 1-minus-2; Great Bend, Lopez 25-154, Kottas 12-44, Jonathon Allende 11-47, Jeremy Sigler 4-51, Marshall 1-1.
PASSING — Dodge City, Murphy 13-21-1 124; Newton 1-3-1 15; Great Bend, Kottas 3-12-0 34.
RECEIVING — Dodge City, Hallman 5-49, Duckett 4-57, Davis 2-4, Blankman 2-7, Dolan 1-22; Great Bend, Mauricio Uribe 1-9, Marshall 1-11, Lopez 1-14.

Jeremy Sigler 11 tackles (7 solos, pass deflection, 2 TFL); Hunter Harrison 11 tackles (3 solos, 1 fumble recovery); Chad Touslee 8 tackles (7 solos, 1 QB sack); Chris Burley 7 tackles (6 solos, 1 TFL); Connor Sell 7 tackles (1 pass defection); Hogg 6 tackles (2 solos); Tyler Uselton 6 tackles (3 solos); Greg Burley 5 tackles (1 INT); Matt Marshall 4 tackle (1 INT); Justin Henry 1 fumble recovery.