June 23, 2024

Delton too much for Buffs; Hays delivers knockout blow

Final Highlights

Game Stats: GCHS vs. Hays

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Oh what a difference a year makes. In 2013, Alex Delton stumbled mightily in a 35-0 loss to Garden City. Fast forward 12 months, and the Kansas State commit was nearly impeccable. 

Delton racked up 315 yards on the ground and another 144 through the air-outgaining the Buffaloes by himself (459-399) in a 42-28 win Friday night at Buffalo Stadium. 

“We knew what we had to do to stop him and we didn’t do it,” Garden City Head Coach Brian Hill said. “We have guys that didn’t make tackles very well.”

In his team’s defense, it’s hard to tackle a blur, which is what Delton looked like on the second play from scrimmage. On second-and-20 from his own 26, the senior ran the zone option to perfection-finding a gaping hole off right end and sprinting 74 yards to the Buffalo end zone. It was the second straight week Garden City allowed a 70-yard touchdown run on their opponents’ first series of the game.

“We had a guy that fast last year, so we know what it looks like,” Hill said. “No excuses.”

After a Buffalo three-and-out, Delton struck again. This time, he found running room up the left sideline and just blew by the second and third levels for his second touchdown in three minutes. Hays had a 14-0 lead before most had made it to their seats. 

“We weren’t in the right gaps; we weren’t where we were supposed to be,” Hill said. “We have a group right now that thinks if they just do their job, somebody else will make the tackle.”

After falling behind 14-0, the defense finally started to figure things out-forcing a Hayden Kreutzer fumble and a three-and-out. The Buffaloes took advantage of the latter-marching 50 yards in seven plays early in the second quarter. Jared Koster punctuated the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to cut the Indians lead in half 14-7. 

Despite some early adversity, Garden City (1-3, 1-1) had a chance to tie the game late in the first half. They got the ball back when Hays’ Coach Bo Black decided to go for it at the Buffalo 45. Delton hit Connor Rule on a screen pass, but the junior was stopped a yard short of the first down. The Buffs responded by moving the ball to the Indians’ 23. On third-and-6, Jesse Nunez hit Caleb Tramp for a nine-yard gain to the 14. Then on first down, Nunez called his own number. As he sprinted towards the end zone, Kreutzer punched the ball free and Hays recovered at the 7-yard line. 

“We  have to take care of the ball, period!” Hill said. “We had a chance to tie the game, and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.”

And boy did Delton make them pay. On second-and-1 from his own 16, he sprinted off right tackle, bounced to the sideline and outraced Akil Love for an 84-yard touchdown-putting Hays in front 21-7. Just like that, an inexplicable turnover made it a 14-point swing. 

Giveaways cost the Buffs all night, and on their opening possession of the third quarter, the problem reared its’ ugly head again. After moving the ball to the Hays’ 43 following Nunez’s 15-yard run on third-and-6, the sophomore, who played the majority of the game because of an injury to starter Derek Hill, hit Alex Espinosa on a bubble screen in the right flat. But as he made his move up field, the senior was stripped of the football and Kreutzer pounced on top of it for Hays. 

It only took the Indians four plays to covnert the turnover into points when Isaiah Blackmon scooted across the goal line from a yard out increasing the lead to 28-7. Hays scored 28 points off Garden City miscues. 

Seven more of those came off the Buffs’ next possession when Nunez was picked off by Maddux Winter. Two plays later, Delton was back in the end zone, this time on the heels of a 76-yard rushing touchdown. Later in the quarter-Delton added his first passing touchdown of the season: a 14-yard strike to Kreutzer that made it 42-7. 

Garden City made things interesting in the fourth-scoring 21 unanswered points: Nunez hit Caleb Tramp for a 47-yard touchdown and both Koster and Nunez found their way into the end zone. But two unsuccessful onside kicks ended the threat-both were fielded by Jordan Betts. 

Nunez finished the night 5-of-12, for 94 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also added 50 yards rushing and a score. Koster hit the century mark on the ground for a third straight week-gaining 199 yards on 33 carries and punching it in twice. Tramp caught five balls for 108 yards and a touchdown. 

For Hays, Kreutzer notched four carries for 90 yards and caught five balls for another 90 and a touchdown. 

Notes: The Buffaloes have allowed 500 yards or more of total offense twice in their last three games…Garden City has turned it over 15 times in their first four contests…Hays has won the last five games played in Garden City…The Buffaloes have yielded six 70-yard touchdown plays this season (three of those by Hays)…Garden City’s offense failed to throw for 100 yards for the first time since losing to Derby in last year’s 6A state semifinals

Next up: Garden City vs. Liberal-Friday, October 3-6:30 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. kickoff on 99.9 FM; kwkrmobile.com and the mobile app: KWKR

Listen to the complete game in our archives section