Garden City, Kan (WesternKansasNews.Com) – In the final game of the regular season the Garden City Buffaloes (6-2) struggled to stop the Great Bend Panthers (6-2) offense as they fell 28-35. The 35 points were the most allowed in a game for the Buffalo’s defense all season.
The trouble started on Great Bend’s first drive after the Panthers engineered a drive over the course of 3 minutes and 18 seconds that was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Cody Miller. Garden City would calm the storm and respond with a score of their own after Jerry Arteaga used his legs to run 25 yards into the endzone. After the first, it was 7-6 Garden City with both teams still feeling the other out.
Into the second quarter, it was pretty similar, Garden City failed to put any points up after struggling to convert on 3rd down. Great Bend would take a 13-7 lead into the 2nd half after Cayden Scheuerman hooked up with receiver Maddox Spray for an 8-yard touchdown catch. The Buffaloes would take a knee and go to the half trailing for the first time since playing Hays on September 23rd almost a month to the date.
At the halftime break, we heard Coach Hill on the sideline talk about the lack of effort from his team. “We were outplayed in that half, they were getting every extra inch and yard they wanted.” He said before heading into the locker room with his team.
After a rather balanced first half, the 3rd quarter was nothing to compare. 28 points combined by both teams were scored in the 3rd period. After starting with the ball in half the Buffaloes needed just 1:38 to reach the endzone, it was the legs of Jerry Arteaga again as he went 68 yards this time for the score. The Panthers would answer with the legs of their senior QB as Scheuerman scrambled 26 yards for a score after another blocked PAT the Panthers were leading 19-14 with 4:57 left in the quarter. The Buffaloes would lean on Arteaga once again feeding him the ball as he went 53 yards this time into the endzone. Arteaga’s final line from the night was 9 carries 157 yards and 3 touchdowns. After the response, the Buffaloes led 21-19. Great Bend would have the last laugh in the quarter as Braylon Council took the 19-yard pass from Scheurman for a touchdown. The two would then connect on the 2-point conversion attempt to make it 27-21 Panthers as the game entered the final quarter.
With Garden City getting the ball to start the 4th quarter. The Buffaloes would engineer a trademarked 16-play, 63-yard drive that took over 10 minutes and was capped by a 6-yard run from Zack Keosengphet his 14th of the season. With just 2:09 left on the clock, the Buffaloes leading 28-27 were looking for just one stop. Unfortunately, stops had been hard to come by as Great Bend was only forced to punt twice on the night. Over the course of the next two minutes, Great Bend would use the legs of Cayden Scheuerman again to get them close to scoring. Then with just 39 seconds left the senior QB would dash 4 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
After another successful 2-point conversion the Panthers would lead 35-28. That score would stand as Garden City would have their chances but after a holding penalty on their final drive of the game, they stalled and were held off.
The Buffaloes dropped to (6-2) on the season and were given the 3rd seed in the 6A west bracket. They entered the night with the 2nd seed and the potential to rise to the 1st with a Manhattan loss. Both things didn’t happen and now Garden City will play host to Haysville Campus (1-7) on Friday at Garden City High School. This will be a play-in game as defined by the KSHAA postseason ruling precedent set in 2019. If the Buffs were to win they would enter the official playoffs looking to win a regional game for the first time since 2017.
Friday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools and the game will be broadcasted on 99.9 The Rock with pregame coverage starting from Buffalo Stadium at 6:30 pm and kickoff at 7 pm.