Audio Highlights: GCHS at Bixby
Bixby, OK (westernkansasnews.com)-Chalk this up to memory: The better team doesn’t always come out on top.
Seven dropped passes and four turnovers spoiled a dazzling performance by Garden City High School quarterback Greyson Tempel as the Buffaloes fell to Bixby 32-27 at Spartans Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s not on one guy,” Garden City Head Coach Brian Hill said afterwards. “I told the kids that this was definitely a winnable football game, and we have to own it.”
Hill watched his senior quarterback destroy the Spartan defense-accounting for 405 of the 448 total yards. But in the end it wasn’t enough.
After falling behind early following Marshall Ray’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rhine and a two-point conversion, it was Tempel pulling the Buffs within one with a 19-yard scramble to pay dirt.
But after being pinned at their own one-yard line late in the first quarter, Jared Koster coughed up the football-allowing Spartans defensive lineman Matthew Dreyer to fall on it.
On the very next play, Nic Roller stream rolled into the end zone from a yard out to give the Spartans a 15-7 advantage.
“If we don’t fumble the football there, I think we win the ballgame,” Hill said.
Garden City had a chance to pull closer early in the second, but Koster was stuffed for a one-yard loss on fourth and one at the Bixby 20-yard line.
After the Buffalo defense stonewalled the Spartans attack on three straight plays, Garden City would get the ball back and march down to the Bixby 5-yard line. Tempel’s five-yard rushing touchdown capped off a five-play, 74-yard drive, and pulled Garden City to within one with nine minutes until halftime.
But Bixby would have the last laugh in the first half; a 10-play, 79-yard drive that resulted in a Ray, seven-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Harbin that gave the Spartans a 22-14 lead at intermission.
In the second half-it was all Tempel.
The senior’s 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, which cut the Spartan lead to a single point, almost didn’t happen. On first and 10 at their own 30, Tempel took a low, shotgun snap from Humberto Perez. As he darted to his right, he lost the football. But a fortunate bounce right back in Tempel’s lap allowed him to outrace J.J. Cantrell to the end zone.
Now while Tempel was doing his part, the defense struggled to stop Roller and the Spartan running game in the second half. The sophomore galloped to a 119-yard night on 27 carries including a two-yard rushing touchdown with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter, putting his signature all over a ten-play, 63-yard drive that gave the Spartans a 29-21 lead.
The Buffaloes response: Tempel’s fourth rushing touchdown of the night-a 52-yard dance to the end zone that cut the deficit to six. But Hill’s gamble to go for the two-point conversion failed when Tempel’s pass intended to Caleb Tramp was knocked away in the end zone.
A 31-yard field goal by Taylor Ruth stretched the Bixby lead to 32-27 lead with 4:30 to play.
Garden City would have at least one last chance to win the game. But back-to-back drops forced the Buffaloes to punt with 3:33 remaining. The Spartans would run out the clock from there.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Hill said. “I attribute the drops and turnovers to fatigue and lack of concentration. We have to fix it.”
Final Game Stats: GCHS at Bixby final stats
Notes-The Buffaloes allowed just two 100-yard rushers all of last season. They allowed two vs. Bixby in the same game (Roller-119, Zach Reynolds-151); Tramp handled the punting duties after Mitchel Hernandez was hurt late in the second quarter.
Next up: Garden City vs. Woodward at Buffalo Stadium Friday, September 13-6:30 pm pregame on KWKR 99.9 and westernkansasnews.com