February 25, 2024

Maize soars; Buffs fall in district opener


Audio Highlights: GCHS at Maize

Maize, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-The first chilly night of the football season came at arguably the worst time for the Buffaloes; no assist from mother nature. 

Despite out gaining Maize 468-376 and running 14 more offensive plays, the Eagles handed Brian Hill’s club their worst loss of the season: A 40-24 trouncing in their district eight opener. 

“I’m extremely disappointed,” Hill said. “It’s hard to describe exactly what happened here tonight.”

What happened: A title wave of Maize running back Chase White and wide receiver Kendall Stewart.

The combo racked up 328 combined all-purpose yards and three scores. 

The Eagles offensive explosion started on their second possession when junior quarterback Connor Lungwitz found Stewart type roping the back chalk of the end zone. Dusty Tempel blocked the extra point and it was 6-0 Maize at the seven-minute mark of the first.

Then following a 34-yard Mitchell Hernandez punt, Lungwitz hooked up with Kavan Jobe, who split the Buffs secondary for a 59-yard touchdown-giving Maize a 12-0 lead. The Eagles failed on the two-point conversion. 

It went from bad to worse for Garden City (4-3, 0-1) on the Eagles next offensive possession. An eight-play, 62-yard drive was stamped with third and 15 screen pass to White, who broke out of several tackles and danced 24-yards to the end zone. After Alan Sanchez booted through the extra point, Maize had a 19-0 lead with 11:26 to play in the half. 

After three straight three-and-outs, Garden City finally had a pulse. Staring at a third and 21 at their own 20, Greyson Tempel found a streaking Caleb Tramp, who broke out of an arm tackle and raced to the Maize 23-yard line. Three plays later, the Buffs were facing another third down from the 21, but Tempel’s pass to his brother Dusty Tempel was incomplete. Ismael Hernandez salvaged the drive with a 38-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 19-3 with 8:42 remaining in the quarter. 

But the excitement of finally getting on the scoreboard was short lived. On the ensuing kickoff, Stewart took a toss back from one of his up men and found a crease in the Garden City special teams and raced 80-yards to the end zone. Hill’s team was facing their largest deficit of the year-26-3 with eight minutes until half time. 

With their backs firmly against the wall, the Buffaloes answered the special teams gaff with an eight play, 77-yard drive that was capped with a Tempel to Tempel connection, this one a 34-yard catch and run that cut the Eagles lead to 26-10 heading into the locker room. 

Things looked pretty promising to start the second half after Tempel hit Tramp for 25-yard gain down to the Eagles 40. But the drive short-circuited at the 30 when Tempel’s third-down pass to Tramp fell incomplete. Hill deferred the long field goal and left his offense on the field. But his senior quarterback, who finished the night with only 22 yards on the ground, try to run for a first down but was stopped 11 yards short. 

Garden would have another scoring chance on their next possession; this time they finished it off when Tempel sprinted in from seven yards out. However, they couldn’t convert on the two-point conversion and the Maize lead was 26-16 with 4:30 to go in the third. 

The momentum seemed to be shifting until the next Eagle drive when Stewart took a screen pass 36 yards to pay dirt-extending the Maize lead to 33-16. 

But the finishing touches would come early in the fourth when Lungwitz bootlegged to the right, but stopped and fired to a wide open Colton Helm-who took it the distance for a touchdown. 

Koster closed out the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run late in the fourth. The two pointer finished off the scoring. 

With the win, Maize improved to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in district play. 

Final Game Stats: GCHS at Maize


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