June 13, 2024

In the End Murray, Great Bend Too Much For Demons

Great Bend, KS (westernkansasnews.com) In a game where both teams possessed a double digit lead, Great Bend senior quarterback Jacob Murray showcased the skill that has led his team to a 4-0 start under their first year head coach Erin Beck. 

Using his running ability and connecting on a couple of big pass played including an 82 yarder to Brayden Smith in the first quarter the Panthers atoned for their 51-7 loss in last year’s homecoming game to Dodge City (2-2) beating the Demons this year 34-27.  For Great Bend it was their first win over Dodge since 2012.

Game Highlights

The game started off slowly with two offenses that are more than capable of putting up big points.  At the end of the first quarter, Jacob Murray capped off an eight play, 63 yard drive with a 41 yard touchdown run.  It was one of three rushing touchdowns on the night for Murray and it gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

Dodge City would convert a 26 yard field goal from Carlos Fernandez early in the second quarter to bring the Red Demons within 7-3.  That is when the fireworks began.

Great Bend scored quickly two minutes into the second quarter on a one play drive when Murray hit Brayden Smith with a 82 yard strike down the right sideline to make it 14-3.  Kenedy Escobedo tried to catch up with Smith in coverage, but it was too late.

Dodge City had a one play drive of their own in answering back when junior Quarterback Dawson Williams faked to his tailback Tylor Garcia and while the defense hit Garcia, Williams was off to the races rushing for 75 yards and a score in cutting the Panthers lead down to 14-10.

The Red Demons had to feel pretty good about the way the half ended when Williams led his guys on a 14 play, 74 yard drive capped off with his six yard touchdown run giving him ten for the season and with 1:26 left to go in the first half Dodge City lead 17-14.

The Demons took the second half kickoff and scored on a six play drive that went 80 yards as Williams rushed around the left edge and made it into the endzone diving inside the left pylon for a score to give Dodge City their biggest lead at 24-14.  The Red Demons would not score again until 2:45 remaining in the game on the second 26 yard field goal for Carlos Fernandez on the night.

Great Bend just like they did the previous week when scoring on their six possessions of the first half in a 58-47 win over Northwest would go on a roll.  This time the Panthers rattled off a smaller spurt, but it put them back in the lead for good scoring on their next three possessions to take a 34-24 lead. 

Murray again was the catalyst connecting with Bryce Lytle on a 12 yard strike with 7:00 minutes remaining in the third which ended a nine play, 78 yard drive.  Murray put the Panthers ahead to stay on a three yard rushing touchdown with 1:26 left in the third and added an insurance score on a 34 yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Dodge City’s defense held their own in the first half limiting Great Bend to one third down conversion, but with linebacker Zach Rodriguez knocked out for the year in last week’s game following an ACL tear and with d-end Ansony Quezada battling an ankle injury the Red Demons had trouble with both offensive tackles for the Panthers that weighed between 280-285 pounds.

With the win Great Bend won four straight to begin the year and three of their first four at home before playing their next three on the road.  Dodge thanks to a missed extra point held the Panthers to their lowest point total of the season at 34, but lost their second straight game after jumping out to an 2-0 start.

The game shaped up to be a battle of the quarterbacks and both did well.  Murray of Great Bend rushed 25 times for 221 yards and three scores, but he also did well in targeting Bryce Lytle who ended the night coming down with eight receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown.

Dodge City’s Dawson Williams finished up with 30 rushes for 230 yards and three scores along with 3-7 through the air for 40 yards.  Tylor Garcia helped in the rushing attack carrying the ball 24 times for 89 yards, but was not able to get involved in the passing game like he did the previous two weeks when Garcia had touchdown receptions of 40 and 47 yards.

The Red Demons return home for their final non-conference game of the regular season against Wichita South.  It will be homecoming night at Memorial Stadium.  Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 with the kickoff at 7 next Friday night on Z98 and westernkansasnews.com..