June 16, 2024

Busters thumped at home

Game Highlights

Game Stats: GCCC vs. Iowa Western

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-For all the football historians, you’d have to rewind back to October 6, 2012 to find the last time the Busters were beaten as thoroughly and as soundly as they were Saturday afternoon. That day, Butler and running back Dreamius Smith (now at West Virginia) ran wild in an 84-13 Grizzlies’ victory. Unfortunately history has a strange way of repeating itself. 

Iowa Western quarterback Tay Bender tied a school-record with five touchdown passes, and the defense recorded seven sacks as second-ranked Iowa Western rolled through Garden City 45-3 at Buster Stadium. 

“It’s frustrating that coaches tell us one thing and we go on the field and do another,” safety Trevin Wiens said afterwards. “Coach said we’re not that far off, and I believe him because we made the mistakes.”

Those mistakes happened early and often. On the second play from scrimmage, Bender, a former Kansas-State signal caller, found a wide-open Taj Williams up the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. On the play, corner Lamonta Truitt was beaten soundly. 

“We were kind of down on ourselves after that play,” Wiens said. “But we picked up pretty fast; we knew it was only 7-0.”

That score would soon get out of control but not before Garden City (3-2, 2-1) squandered several early opportunities.

The first came on their second possession of the game when Matt Miller kept his offense on the field  facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 46. Danarious Graham, the Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Week, dropped back and fired a bullet over the middle that was knocked away and nearly intercepted by Charlie Rogers. Luckily for the Busters, the Reivers didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. 

Brady Bean IWCC 

On the Busters’ ensuing drive, they moved the ball to the Reivers 22. But the march stalled at the 14 after Matt McDonald was stuffed by Bryson McCabe for a five-yard loss. Garden City instead settled for a 36-yard, Ismael Hernandez field goal that made it 7-3 with 1:22 remaining in the first. That’s the closest Miller’s bunch would get all day. 

Iowa Western (6-0, 1-0) responded on the first play of their next series. On first down from his own 35, Bender went up top again to Williams, who scooted past three different Buster defenders, including Truitt, for his second 65-yard touchdown reception. 

“The biggest thing we said on defense was that we can’t give up the big play,” Miller explained. “Those two plays early took the breath out of our guys.”

If those two plays took the breath out, then the Reivers’ next possession pulled the plug on a defense that was already on life support. 

Starting from their own 36 early in the second quarter, Iowa Western marched 64 yards in five plays, sparked by Anthony Anderson’s 20-yard run that set the Reivers up at the Buster 35. Three plays later, Bender capped the drive with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Alex Reed on third-and-12, extending the lead to 21-3 with 11:47 left in the half. 

The wheels completely fell off when Garden City was pinned inside their own 15 after Dondre Cooksey’s kickoff return was shutdown at the 11-yard line. Three plays later, Graham’s third-down pass was intercepted by Marcus Montgomery. The Busters finished the afternoon just 3-of-16 on third down. 

Jade Cathey IWCC

The Reivers put the finishing touches on a dominant first half when Bender lobbed a pass into the end zone for tight end Andrew Davis. The Illinois commit got himself into perfect position and out leaped Truitt for a beautiful 14-yard touchdown grab making it 28-3. That scoring drive was setup after another fourth-down failure by Garden City. 

On the opening series of the second half, the Busters produced their most promising drive of the day. Graham hooked up with Undre Williams twice for 28 yards-moving Garden City down to the Reivers’ nine-yard line. That’s where everything unraveled. On first-and-goal, Graham stepped out-of-bounds and lost eight yards. On second down, Kevin Robbins found his way into the backfield and sacked the freshman quarterback at the 27. On third down, Darryl Terrell dropped what looked like a sure touchdown in the back of the end zone before a penalty derailed Miller’s fourth-down try. The end result: a Buster punt. 

“We have to take advantage of those opportunities,” Miller said. “We had our chances; I’ll say that.”

Bender finished off his near perfect afternoon in the opening minutes of the final frame when he found Reed on a crossing pattern for a 47-yard touchdown. Reed finished the day with a game-high seven receptions for 109 yards and two scores. 

Bender, whose collegiate career nearly ended before it ever started after suffering a serious concussion in high school, finally gave way to backup Zach Martin, who added a five-yard touchdown scamper later in the fourth. That came after Danny Hamilton drilled his 23rd career field goal: a 24-yarder from the right hash mark to make the final tally 45-3. 

The Reivers’ defense set the tone all afternoon, intercepting Graham three times. Their 18 picks leads the entire nation. 

Reserve back Alex Hillyer carried the ball five times for 29 yards, and Williams added six catches for 148 yards and two scores. 

For Garden City, Graham was 19-of-32 for 229 yards and three interceptions. Backup Tyler Lasalle finished 1-of-3, for nine yards; he also rushed for a team-high 29 yards on five carries. Williams carried the ball seven times for 20 yards and caught a team-high six passes for 67 yards.

Notes: Saturday was the first time since October 1, 2011 against Butler that the Busters were held without a touchdown (Lost 37-0)…Garden City has now lost 17 out of their last 18 games against top 20 opponents (Last victory came over No. 7 Copiah Lincoln in 2012 Mississippi Bowl)…The Buster offense was held under 300 yards for the first time this season and just the sixth time in their last 25 games…Graham completed a season-high 19 passes…Graham threw 30 or more passes for the third time this season; Busters are now 1-2 in those games with losses to Dodge City (35) and Iowa Western (32)…Garden City missed out on their first 4-1 start since 2007…The 98 penalty yards was the second highest this season (114 vs. Ellsworth highest)

Next up: Garden City at No. 5 Hutchinson-Saturday, October 11-6:30 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. kickoff on 98.1 FM; z98mobile.com and mobile app: KSKZ

Listen to the entire game in our archives section

Other Scores

Butler 41, Iowa Central 24

Fort Scott 49, Dodge City 38

No. 5 Hutchinson 42, No. 17 Coffeyville 35