Audio Highlights: GCHS vs. DCHS
Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-In week eight, Brian Hill got his signature win. In the regular-season finale, he got something more highly coveted: A playoff berth.
Greyson Tempel ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns-surpassing the 2,000-yard, career-rushing mark as Garden City retained the hatchet and punched their postseason ticket with a resounding 41-20 win over Dodge City in the 115th meeting between the two schools at Buffalo Stadium on Friday night.
“It was deja vu all over again after Greyson fumbled on the opening drive,” Hill said. “We struggled early but our defense came up big.”
The funny thing is, the Buffaloes needed every one of the 21 points that decided the final margin.
With Hutch knocking off Maize by only two points, the Buffs, Eagles and Salthawks all finished with identical 2-1 district records. The tiebreaker: Point differential, a system that could make even the world’s most renown mathematician look foolish.
All you need to know is this: The Buffaloes decisive victory was enough to overtake Hutch for the final playoff spot out of District 8.
“We were about as confused as anyone else,” Hill said. “I’m not good at math. Adding, subtracting; the numbers we were supposed to have-I couldn’t figure it out. But at the end of the day we’re in.”
But things weren’t always rosy on this night.
On the second play from scrimmage, (Greyson) Tempel fumbled the ball and Josh Harsberger recovered for Dodge City at the Buffaloes 32-yard line.
But the Garden City defense never blinked, stuffing the Demons on three straight plays. On fourth down from the 33, senior Dillon Burkhard drilled his second 50-yard field goal of the season and Dodge city had a 3-0 lead just 90 seconds into the game.
From there it was all Buffaloes.
Garden City would score on four of their next five possessions, and by the time Demons Coach Dave Foster looked at up at the half-time scoreboard, the game was out of reach.
Tempel’s eight-yard rushing touchdown on the Buffaloes third drive gave Garden City (6-3, 2-1) a 7-3 lead with 6:05 to play in the first.
It wouldn’t take long for Garden to reach the end zone again following a Dodge City three-and-out. The Buffs covered 80 yards in just four plays and 1:34-capping off the drive with Jared Koster’s one-yard plunge. Ismael Hernandez added the extra point and Garden City led 14-3 at the 11:46 mark of the second quarter.
Koster’s second rushing touchdown came just minutes later. On the Buffaloes next possession, the sophomore, who eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career, took a Tempel hand off, bounced it to the outside, and raced 55 yards to the end zone-extending the advantage to 21-3.
Tempel’s second rushing touchdown of the half, which capped off a four-play, 39-yard drive, gave Garden City an insurmountable 28-3 lead with six minutes to play in the second.
Even a Burkhard field goal before the half, couldn’t sway the momentum of this 76th hatchet match-up.
On Dodge City’s (3-6, 1-2) opening drive of the third, senior quarterback Kelan Newton finally came to life-or so it appeared. The Demons single-season record holder for passing yards and touchdowns in a season, engineered a 10-play, 65 yard drive, which he capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jace Larson in the back of the end zone. Burkhard booted through the extra point and Dodge was within 15.
But Garden City would put the game out of reach with two Tempel td passes-one to Mitchell Hernandez that covered 21 yards. The other: A 32-yard strike to Dusty Tempel.
The Demons added a late score when Blaik Middelton sprinted in from five yards out. But the score was a mere formality.
Final Stats: GCHS vs. DCHS
Next up: 6A playoffs-Garden City at Wichita Northwest (4-4); 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 8 on KWKR 99.9 FM