Audio Highlights: GCCC vs. DCCC
Dodge City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Despite being eliminated from playoff contention last week, Matt Miller continues to contend that his team is the best in the Jayhawk Conference. Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, his players backed up their coaches strong words.
Tyreek Hill ran for 203 yards and the Buster defense forced five Dodge City turnovers on their way to a resounding 41-22 win over the 11th-ranked Conquistadors.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” an exuberant Miller said following the game. “This was a complete-team effort and we got it done.”
Rankings and records aside, it didn’t take long to see who was the better team on this night, and it all started with the defense.
On the game’s opening possession, freshman quarterback Deondre Ford forced a pass over the middle that D’Vonta Derricott intercepted and returned inside the Dodge City five. On the very next play, Jake Curran called his own number and powered into the end zone to give Garden City a 7-0 lead.
“Our defense was special again,” Miller said. “I think I could just bring up a tape recorder every week because that’s how consistent they’ve been all season long.”
It would take just a minute for the Busters to have the ball right back. On third and 14 from his own 26, Ford was intercepted by Sam Green at the Garden City 43. Seven plays later it was Curran crossing the goal line again. Tyler Peterson’s extra made it 14-0 with 7:26 to play in the first quarter.
The score would stay that way until early in the second when Dodge City answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that saw Tyreis Thomas rush it six times for 48 yards including a two-yard scamper into the end zone to cut the Garden City lead in half at 14-7.
A possible momentum shift? Not even close.
On the Busters next possession, Hill made sure of it. On the first play, Curran under threw the Oklahoma-State commit, who adjusted and made a leaping grab over Tyrone Wright near midfield. Hill finished off the drive on the ensuing play when he took a Curran hand off 52-yards to the house making it 21-7 Garden City.
“That’s why he’s (Hill) the gem of Oklahoma State’s recruiting class,” Miller said.
The speedster’s night was far from finished. His next chance out, Hill was on the receiving end of a perfect Curran pass that the sophomore coasted under, made the catch and outraced Wright to the end zone to give the Busters a 21-point lead.
The Conquistadors made things a little interesting before the half when Ford hooked up with Devonta Robinson for a one-yard score-capping off an eight-play, 65-yard drive. Manny Castillo added the extra point to pull Dodge City to within 28-14 at the half.
It seemed like the Conqs would pull even closer at the beginning of the third quarter, but a 13-play drive stalled with back-to-back penalties and two incomplete passes, and Dodge City turned the ball over on downs at the Garden City 24-yard line.
Dodge would have another chance to pull closer when Darvell Harris returned a Peterson punt to the Busters 30. But two plays later, Derricott punched the ball free from Thomas and stampeded 80 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown. A bad snap on the extra point left the score at 34-14 Garden City with 2:25 left in the third.
The defense putting Dodge City on life support; Hill would pull the plug on the next possession.
Facing a first and ten from their own 15 early in the fourth, Hill took an option pitch from Curran, juked out two different defenders at the line of scrimmage, and burst up the left sideline for an 85-yard touchdown.
Hill accounted for 326 all-purpose yards.
The Conquistadors added a late score after Farres James fumbled, giving Dodge City the ball back at the Buster 16-yard line. Four plays later, it was Keymonne Gabriel running it in from five yards out. The two-point conversion made it 41-22 with under five minutes to play.
Final Game Stats: GCCC vs. DCCC
Notes: Busters defensive end Dondre Elvoid was kicked out of the game for a personal foul late in the fourth quarter. His status for the season finale at Coffeyville remains in question…Hill’s 200-yard performance was the first of his career and his second 100-yard plus rushing game in his two seasons.