June 12, 2024

Buffaloes Football Opens Conference Play in Hays

GARDEN CITY, KS. – Garden City’s quick starts in the first three weeks have been encouraging, but still leaves more to be desired for head coach Brian Hill.

Hill’s message to his team ahead of conference play is simple. It’s a lot a big meal; you could eat a little bit and be fine, or you could be full. Hill wants his team to finish all the food on their plates.

They’ve gotten through appetizers this season, but now the main course begins. The Garden City Buffaloes open up WAC Play this Friday, as they visit the Hays Indians. 

The Buffaloes have started all three games this season strong, scoring on all three of their opening drives. One flaw has been the way they’ve started second halves, with the Buffaloes surrendering a 13-point lead in week on at Wichita Heights, and being blanked last week against Wichita West.

“We need to learn to be full, to have that killer instinct, to finish all the food on our plate,” Hill said. “I want players that have that killer instinct. We try and teach it, but it has to come from within each kid.”

Throughout the Buffaloes’ (2-1, 0-0 WAC) start to the season, one thing that’s stood out has been their explosiveness. Garden City has returned kickoffs over 85 yards in each of the last two weeks, including Ethen Allen’s 87-yard return on the opening kickoff last Friday. 

While coach Hill said that he always wants explosiveness out of the group of players he has, he said he’s never been more confident in a special teams unit than this year’s Buffaloes.

“That’s more yardage and success than we’ve had in some time,” Hill said. “It’s been a weapon for us, and we’ve scored in all three phases of the game, which is the sign of a pretty good football team.”

Another sign of a great football team comes from above the shoulders.

Garden City’s mentality has grown throughout the season, ever since their opening week loss to Wichita Heights. The team handled success last week against the Pioneers, but now faces their biggest mental test of the season, so far.

“With this team, I haven’t seen us turn that corner yet,” Hill said. “The mentality wasn’t the finishing mentality that we needed. What I’m looking for is can we be mature enough to handle a WAC opponent, on the road, against a really good football team, and play a good four quarters to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The series between Garden City and Hays (2-1, 1-0 WAC) has been dominated by the road team. Last season, Hays jumped out to a shocking 21-0 lead in the first half in Garden City, holding on for a narrow 30-26 win. 

Running back Malik Bah ran all over the Buffs, recording over 200 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing). Bah currently leads the WAC with 451 rushing yards this season, including two 200-yard performances.

Coverage on KWKR 99.9 ‘The Rock’ begins at 5:30 P.M. with Buffs Game Day with Aaron Elam. The American Implement Pregame Show begins at 6:30, and kickoff between the Buffaloes and Indians is scheduled for 7:00.