GARDEN CITY, KS. – Buffs Talk returned on Monday night, from a new location with returning faces.
The Garden City Coaches Show featured 14th-year football head coach Brian Hill, along with senior captains Emilio Zundt and Ethen Allen from football, as the Buffaloes are now just a few days from kicking off their 2023 season.
The show kicked off talking with seventh-year volleyball head coach Trista Bailey, after the Buffs got their season started on the road in Newton this weekend.
Garden City Volleyball is coming off a strong 23-15 season in 2022. With eight returning starters from the season prior, Bailey feels the Buffaloes will maintain their high goals from last year.
“With any team that’s successful, there’s someone that holds kids accountable,” Bailey said. “That’s a difference-maker in terms of the success they want to have, but also, they need a push in the right direction.”
Bailey mentioned the team is more mature this season, not as bothered by mistakes that they made to start last season.
Buffaloes volleyball holds their first home matches at The Garden on Thursday, hosting the Great Bend Panthers and Liberal Redskins in a tri on Thursday, starting at 4:00 P.M. Bailey is looking forward to the early-season test for her players.
“I would say WAC is the highlight of season every year,” Bailey said. “We have such a rich tradition in the WAC, and it’s important to us. We want to peak at the right time.”
One day after, GCHS Football will open their 2023 season up. The Buffaloes open the season with a non-conference road matchup Friday night at 7:00 P.M., as they travel to face the Wichita Heights Falcons (4-5 in 2022).
The Buffaloes started last season with a 36-26 win over Heights, despite a near-two hour weather delay at halftime. Early forecast predicts a clear Friday night in Wichita for game one, but head coach Brian Hill feels that the team is ready to fight off adversity, especially after their trip to Jamboree on Friday.
“For the third year in a row, we had to face adversity because the air condition didn’t work on the bus,” Hill said. “It was close to 100 degrees, and I told them all after the scrimmage, I didn’t hear a single complaint. It really showed me that they were ready.”
Hill will be coaching against former GCHS assistant Dominick Dingle, whom he also coached as a player during his time at Garden City Community College. He described last year’s game as “a little weird” until the game started. He expects week one to be a true test for the Buffaloes.
“This is the third year in the flexbone offense, I think our execution has become better,” Hill said. “I think our kids have a much better understanding of the offense.”
Hill also named his captains last week, including breakout cornerback from last season, Ethen Allen. Allen will also feature on the offense, but he stood out defensively last season with six solo tackles in the win.
Allen still recalled the highlight of last year’s game with great detail.
“The first game, going against John Randle. He’s an all-purpose back, 40-plus offers, four-star,” Allen said. “Whenever I tackled him, it made me feel better, because I said, ‘dang, I can really compete against [NCAA divison one talent].”
The senior also mentioned that he will be taking visits to Kansas University and Kansas State University in 2023.
Meanwhile, wide receiver and cornerback Emilio Zundt has been developing a strong connection with new quarterback, Ethan Gomez. Zundt caught one touchdown last season in Garden City’s homecoming victory over Ulysses HS, and the senior feels he can provide more in his final football season.
“My connection with Ethan, he gets me the ball when he sees me,” Zundt said. “He’s a really good leader.”
The two have both stepped up into leadership positions for this Buffaloes team, after spending plenty of time learning their seniors under them. Zundt feels the connection he made with upperclassmen in the past has prepared him for this season.
“I learned [leadership] from past Buffaloes,” Zundt said. “The past seniors taught us a lot, how to work hard, lift in the weight room, be strong, and lead by example.”
Kickoff for Friday night’s opener is set for 7:00 P.M. from Wichita-Heights Stadium. Coverage on KWKR 99.9 F.M. beings at 6:30 with the American Implement Pregame Show.