Great Bend High School’s vastly improving and quick-hitting passing game took a big hit last Friday night during Class 5A District 6 action at Salina Central.
During the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ 42-20 loss to Central, they lost two integral parts of their passing game on the same play during the fourth quarter.
Inside receiver Logan Buehler and deep threat Alex Reed of Great Bend suffered leg injuries — Buehler tore ligaments in an ankle while Reed suffered a partial medial collateral ligament tear in a knee.
When Great Bend takes on Salina South tonight at 7 at Memorial Stadium, neither player will be in uniform as the Panthers are in quest of a state playoff berth.
“They’re both out,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said. “Possibly both will be back, if we make the playoffs.”
It’s tough for the two seniors, both two-way starters, and tough for the Panthers. After all, Reed and his big-play capability produced the sixth-best receiving yardage total in the Western Athletic Conference with 421 in 20 catches. He had four touchdowns.
Mauricio Uribe is expected to play in Reed’s wideout position on offense
“We have a lot of confidence in Mauricio Uribe, who’s going to go in and play for Reed,” Black said. “He does a really good job and brings a different element, not the straight speed (like Reed), but definitely brings his own brand to the game, a lot like Jace (Bowman), I think, in a lot of ways.
“Sam Hafner will also come in there as a senior. He’s played quite a bit there all year and also played some last year.”
Hafner and Uribe, according to Black, will also play the cornerbacks positions vacated by the injured Reed and Buehler.
“We’re also looking at Chris Burley, a JV kid, who will go in there and play a little bit (in the defensive secondary).”
Bowman, who ranks seventh in the conference with 399 receiving yards, has the fourth-leading receptions total in the WAC with 32. He has scored a trio of TDs.
“Mauricio has been working hard all year and he’s a good receiver,” Bowman said. “He’ll come in and do a good job. We need to start running the ball successfully. I think that will be a key factor in our success, if our offensive line plays well.
“I try to run clean routes and if the offensive line is giving (quarterback) Greg (Hildebrand) time to throw. Greg does a really good job and puts the ball where he needs to a lot of the time.”
The engineer behind the controls of Great Bend’s quick-hitting offense has been Hildebrand, who has developed an intuitive nature between him and his receivers.
“We work on it so much in practice that it becomes second nature to where they’re going to be at and they know where the ball is at,” Hildebrand said. “Our guys are going to step up and I have full faith in them.”