July 16, 2024

Signature win; Buffs knock off Salthawks


Audio Highlights: GCHS vs. Hutch

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-October 29, 1999-that was the last time a Garden City team got the better of Randy Dreiling. It had been more than 5,000 days, but as any Buffs fan will tell you, it was well worth the wait. 

Senior Greyson Tempel scored five touchdowns, three on the ground and two through the air as Garden City overcame a 10-point deficit to knockoff seven-time state champion Hutch 35-24 Friday Night at Buffalo Stadium. 

“We did what we had to do,” Head Coach Brian Hill said afterwards. “I couldn’t be more proud of these kids.”

Trailing 17-7 after Jacob Hardenburger’s eight-yard rushing touchdown early in the third quarter, Hill’s team needed an answer. And they got it; big time. 

Tempel engineered a 14-play, 71-yard drive that consumed nearly five minutes of the clock. He capped it off when he hit Zach Landgraff on a jump pass in the end zone. Ismael Hernandez’s extra point pulled the Buffs within three at 17-14 with 3:54 to play in the third. 

“The credit goes to these kids,” Hill said. “This game was defined by their character.”

That character shined brightly on their next defensive sequence. On fourth-and one from his own 39, Dreiling rolled the diced and went for it, but junior quarterback Turner Wintz fumbled the ball and James Nguyen recovered for Garden City. 

The Buffs would take advantage of the short field, when Tempel hit Mitchell Hernandez on a post route for a touchdown-giving Garden a 21-17lead late in the third quarter. 

But the lead wouldn’t stick. Wintz, who only completed four passes on this night, hooked up with Josh Patterson for a 28-yard score, finishing off a five-play, 68-yard drive to give the Salthawks a 24-21 advantage five seconds into the final frame. 

Garden City had no plans of going out quietly. 

On their next offensive possession, Hill went deep into his playbook; maybe the last two pages of it and pulled out all the stops. On first-and-10 at their own 35, Tempel pitched a lateral to wide receiver Mitchell Hernandez. After the linebackers stepped up thinking the senior would take off, he stopped and wobbled a pass up the sideline to Dusty Tempel. Tempel had to come back to make the catch, twisted around, and raced to the Salthawk 27. 

After an intentional grounding backed the Buffs up 1o yards, Tempel delivered the biggest pass of the game; a dart off his back foot to his brother, who hauled in the tight spiral on the sideline to give Garden City a first down at the Hutch 16. Four plays later, Tempel put a stamp on the drive with a seven-yard touchdown, delivering an emphatic stiff arm at the five yard line. Hernandez’s extra point gave Garden a 28-24 lead with 9:48 to play. 

“You want to talk about playing a game tonight,” Hill said afterwards. “Just his (Greyson’s) headiness all night. He told me after he Maize game that was embarrassed with how he played. He knew he had to use all of his guys and it helped him tonight.”

Garden City (5-3, 1-1) would get the ball back just minutes later after Hardenburger couldn’t corral an option pitch from Wintz. (Dusty) Tempel dove on it and the Buffs were in business at their own 36. 

Two personal foul penalties, including one on Coach Dreiling, moved the ball all the way to the Salthawk 26. Then on second-and-nine at the Hutch 25, Tempel once again found Dusty up the sideline, this time, the senior shook off a would-be tackler on his way to the end zone. The Buffs now had an 11-point lead with just under six minutes to play. 

The defense slammed the door on any thoughts of a Hutch comeback when Dozie Ekweairiri intercepted Wintz at the 30-yard line. 

“We’re back in control of our own destiny for the most part,” Hill said. “We need to learn to handle success again.”

Kassidey Lemons putch Hut on the board early with a 32-yard field goal. The Buffs responded with an 11-play, 78-yard drive that Tempel capped off with a four-yard rushing touchdown. 

Hardenburger’s 12-yard scamper to pay dirt gave Hutch (4-4, 1-1) a 10-7 lead at the half. 

Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m. on KWKR 99.9 and westernkansasnews.com 

Final Stats: GCHS vs. Hutch


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