GARDEN CITY, KS. – Football can be a cruel game at times, and Friday night’s Homecoming matchup for Garden City left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Quarterback Ethan Gomez scrambled for the end zone on a fourth down, and was marked out just shy at the one yard line. The Buffaloes never saw the ball again.
The Garden City Buffaloes suffered their first WAC conference loss of the season on Friday against the Liberal Redskins, falling 28-21 at Buffalo Stadium. Liberal continues their best start since the turn of the millennia with a second-half comeback.
It was a game Garden City led three separate times in. The Buffaloes scored on each of their opening three possessions, with junior running backs Mario Ruiz scoring three different touchdowns inside the five to put the Buffs up, 21-7.
Ruiz is now up to seven rushing touchdowns (eight all-purpose) on the season, leading the WAC.
The quarterback leading the WAC is Liberal’s (5-0, 2-0 WAC) Brooks Kappelmann. The senior ignited the Redskins’ comeback in the second quarter, converting on a fourth and 27 to find James Fieser in the end zone to cut the lead to 21-14 at the half.
“The whole game changed from that play,” GCHS coach Brian Hill said.
It wasn’t the only fourth-down touchdown they would get. Liberal won the toss and deferred to the second half, opening the half with a lengthy drive down the field, with Kappelmann finding Fieser from seven yards out to tie the ball game in the third.
The Buffaloes’ (3-2, 1-1 WAC) offense has struggled in third quarters this season, and wound up going three-and-out. A short punt set Liberal up at the Garden City 36 yard line, where they would drive seven plays to set up Ivan Moreno’s go-ahead touchdown run from a yard out.
Garden City would only see the ball one more time. The Buffaloes marched down the field, chewing almost six minutes off the clock. Eventually, Gomez’ QB scramble was stopped just short, and the Redskins never gave the ball back.
The Buffaloes will finish up non-conference play next Friday, as they travel to Ulysses to take on the 0-5 Tigers. Coverage begins at 6:30 with the American Implement Pregame Show, kickoff between the Buffaloes and Tigers is set for 7:00 on KWKR 99.9 ‘The Rock’.