Usually when a football team scores 49 points, you don’t compliment the other team’s defense.
But in the case of Friday night’s 49-6 Great Bend High School loss against their Western Athletic Conference rival Hays, it wasn’t really the defense’s fault.
“I thought it was a pretty pitiful performance,” GBHS head coach Tony Crough said. “We didn’t execute. We just didn’t do anything right. Defensively, we were hanging in there, early.
“We didn’t execute. We didn’t handle our emotions well. A lot of the things we talked about doing all week, we just didn’t do.”
Supporting his take on things is a disastrous first quarter.
After a three-and-out for the Panthers’ offense, a punt ricocheted off the linemen and Hays’ offense got to start their first drive 17 yards from the end zone.
Hays’ standout quarterback Alex Delton took a keeper 13 yards for a touchdown less than three minutes into the game.
After another three-and-out, Hays got to start its next drive from Great Bend’s 35-yard line.
The drive ended in a 2-yard touchdown run from Dalton Stout.
Then came the turnovers.
Great Bend managed four takeaways, all fumble recoveries.
Hays recorded four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Hays’ Shane Berens returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0 in the first quarter.
Great Bend’s defense clamped down after that, and both teams remained scoreless into halftime.
That changed on the next play from scrimmage.
Delton found a hole and cruised to an 80-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
A Panthers turnover gave the Indians solid field position again, and their drive finished in a 3-yard touchdown run by Stout.
Hays’ next drive ended oddly.
Delton connected with Keith Dryden for a 45-yard completion just one yard from the end zone.
Delton completed 9 of 14 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 199 yards.
“He’s a special talent,” Crough said of Delton. “There were times where I thought we had him bottled up on the backfield and just ran away.
“He’s faster than anyone we got. He’s a better athlete than anyone we go. He’s just a heck of a player.”
Dryden fumbled the ball right into the hands of Berens, who crossed the goal line to make it 42-0.
In the final play of the third quarter, Great Bend’s defense took a hit when defensive lineman Jayce Brack came out of the game, apparently re-injuring he shoulder.
He returned to the sideline but without his pads.
“I still got to get a report from the trainer,” Crough said of Brack. “He looked like he was grabbing his shoulder again. I’m assuming he hurt his shoulder again, but we don’t know how bad it is yet.”
Hays got one more touchdown, a 4-yard scoring run from Adam Klaus in the fourth quarter.
Great Bend got its one touchdown under unusual circumstances.
The Panthers were second-and-goal from the 14-yard line when Hays’ Hunter Brown intercepted a pass from Great Bend quarterback Shade Wondra.
On the return, Brown fumbled the ball, and Great Bend’s Quinton Elliott scooped it up and returned it to the 4-yard line.
Great Bend running back Trent Uselton found the end zone three plays late from three yards out.
“We were obviously glad to get on the scoreboard,” Crough said, “but mercy touchdowns aren’t really what you’re looking for. However, a touchdown is a touchdown, so we’ll take whichever way we can get them right now.”
Wondra completed 4 of 10 passes for 10 yards.
Uselton rushed for a team-leading 34 yards. Wondra added 23 rushing yards.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Great Bend
Hays 49, Great Bend 6
Hays 21 0 21 7 — 49
Great Bend 0 0 0 6 — 6
Hays — Alex Delton 13 run (Kyler Leiker kick good), 10:21.
Hays — Dalton Stout 2 run (Leiker kick good), 5:40.
Hays — Shane Berens 26 interception return (Leiker kick good), :52.
Hays — Delton 80 run (Leiker kick good), 11:41.
Hays — Stout 3 run (Leiker kick good), 7:47.
Hays — Berens 1 fumble recovery (Leiker kick good), 4:06.
Hays — Adam Klaus 4 run (Leiker kick good), 7:14.
Great Bend — Trent Uselton 3 run (kick failed), 5:10.