End of the road: Busters blown out in season finale; coach fired

Game Highlights

Game Stats

Coffeyville, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Former Coach Bill Parcells used to say: “You are what you’re record is.” In a sense that may be true, but sometimes those numbers don’t tell the real story; for better or worse. 

Arguably coaching for his job, Garden City head-man Matt Miller watched in disbelief as No. 12 Coffeyville scored 39 third-quarter points on their way to an 84-21 victory at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium Saturday night. 

“Obviously the turnovers for touchdowns are going to kill you,” Miller said afterwards. “We made way too many mistakes.”

Nine turnovers, compounded with the fact that the Busters had become gold-card members of the walking-wounded club. Entering their week 11 showdown, Garden City was missing seven key players, and that’s not including suspensions or guys that were dismissed from the team.

After playing with the heavily-favored Red Ravens (9-2, 6-1) for a half, Garden City looked like a shell of their former selves in the final 30 minutes.

Trailing 31-21 on their opening possession of the third quarter, the Busters began to spiral out of control. That’s when running back Matt McDonald fumbled the ball on third-and-1 from his own 48. Mikal Cromartie scooped up the bouncing ball  and raced 30 yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point and the Red Ravens led 37-21. What ensued after that, was a nightmarish 15 minute period that would have made the 1987 Redskins, who scored 35 second-quarter points in Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos, jealous. 

Jalen Rountree’s interception on Garden City’s next drive setup Alan Barnwell’s 39-yard run to pay dirt. On Garden City’s next series, Devonta’ Foster picked off a wobbly Denarious Graham pass. 10 plays later, Prentice Byrd plunged into the end zone from a yard out-giving the Red Ravens a 50-21 lead three minutes into the third quarter. 

That advantage swelled to 57-21 just moments later when Darnell Walker intercepted backup quarterback Tyler Lasalle’s pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. That was followed up by Walker’s 30-yard fumble recovery; Garrett Gates 86-yard catch-and-run score and Barnwell’s 13-yard rushing touchdown. 

When Miller finally looked up with under three minutes to play, the reality had set in: his team had been outscored 53-0 in the second half. 

“I think the kids played hard,” Miller said. “I appreciate the effort that they gave.”

It’s hard to imagine things getting that out of hand; especially after how inspired Garden City (4-6, 2-5) played in the first half. 

After Brock Gilmore hooked up with J.J. Normore for a 10-yard score, the Busters quickly tied it-driving 46 yards in three plays-capped off with Graham’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Snell. 

Coffeyville bounced right back when Gilmore hit Dominique Reed on a perfect fade pattern in the corner of the end zone. 

Not deterred, the Busters knotted the score three minutes later with Graham’s one-yard quarterback sneak. He added a 14-yard touchdown pass to Monterio Burchfield later in the quarter. But his first mistake came early in the second, when he was intercepted by Foster, who returned it 30 yards for a score. 

The Red Ravens extended their lead to 10 late in the second quarter when Gilmore connected with Cedrick Wilson for a 14-yard touchdown making it 31-21. 

Graham finished the night 9-of-26, for 197 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Dondre Cooksey carried the ball 13 times for 32 yards, while Brandon Snell hauled in five passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. He was also credited with a muffed punt late in the second quarter. 

On the other sideline, Gilmore completed 23-of-37 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Both Alan Barnwell and Prentice Byrd eclipsed 100 yards rushing: Barnwell 21 carries for 180 yards and two scores; Byrd 18 for 113 and a touchdown. Wilson caught a game-high six passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. 

Notes: Following Saturday night’s trouncing, Miller was fired as Head Coach-leaving Garden City with a 6-14 overall record…The 84-21 defeat was was the second worst in program history (Lost 84-13 to Butler in 2012)…The 84 points allowed ties a school record…The nine turnovers set a school record…The Busters allowed five more sacks bringing their season total to 48…Garden City was outscored in their six losses 302-93…Garden City finishes with a losing record for the second straight season…Graham’s streak of 82 straight passes without an interception ended with 9:41 left in the second quarter…Coffeyville has now beaten Garden City six straight times…With the win, the Red Ravens locked up second place in the Jayhawk Conference-their best finish since 2006…It’s also their first 9-win season since 2005