May 21, 2024

Buffaloes Football Looks to Rebuild Confidence in Ulysses

Garden City High School's football team played on the road vs Wichita Heights High School on Friday, September 1, 2023 in Wichita, Kan. The Buffaloes lost to the Falcons 20-19. Photo Credits; Adam Shrimplin, Shrimplin Photography

GARDEN CITY, KS. – Not many players have shown as much fire as Emilio Zundt.

His vocal leadership has stood out, as one of the senior captains on this team. It’s his drive – his composure to push through adversity – that’s turned him into one of the key playmakers in Garden City’s offense.

Zundt and the Buffaloes look to bounce back after a narrow week five loss on the road this weekend, as the Buffaloes travel to face the Ulysses Tigers at Tiger Stadium. It’s only the second trip to Ulysses since 2009, after the two restarted consistent play last season.

The Buffaloes (3-2, 1-1 WAC) are currently seeded as a nine in the 6A Playoffs with three weeks to go, and would have to travel to Wichita West if the season ended today. Garden City has been in this situation before; the Buffaloes were 3-3 at this point in 1999, but proceeded to win six in a row to win their first state championship. 

Garden City took a heart-wrenching loss last Friday, falling by one score against the unbeaten Liberal Redskins, which put LHS in prime position to win this year’s WAC. 14th-year head coach Brian Hill knows this season is far from over.

“We’re not going to avoid it, we’re not going to assume everyone’s on the same page,” Hill said. “It takes a little bit of healing. Talking to one another, talking about what our goals and aspirations still are.”

Garden City’s mindset this season was straightforward; win the WAC. The Buffaloes barely missed out after going 6-2 last season, but now know they have a tough challenge to try and win out for seeding purposes.

Hill knows that despite the Buffs not controlling their own destiny, it can’t let it affect the way they take their play on the field.

“We have to play with confidence, and that starts [with Ulysses],” Hill said. “We need to get back into the things that we were doing. It all comes in our attitude and our effort.”

Someone who brings a strong attitude and effort is Zundt, who hauled in Garden City’s longest play of the game last week, a 37-yard connection with quarterback Ethan Gomez to set up GCHS’ third touchdown.

His confidence on the field is an inspiration to his teammates on the sideline, something Hill knows this team needs.

“He’s one of the biggest competitors we have on this team,” Hill said. “I know that he’s going to be out there and does everything he can every week.”

Zundt’s been known to have a few big plays this season, with multiple fourth quarter runs over 20 yards in road games at Wichita Heights and Hays this season. 

Going to Ulysses (0-5, 0-3 GWAC) – a team that Zundt scored against last season – will be another great opportunity for the senior to impress. Second-year assistant coach, C.J. Covington, a former Buffaloes wide receiver, knows exactly how Zundt’s been able to take the step up.

“He just wants it. It’s his senior year, it’s different this year,” Covington said. “He’s taken the leadership role, he’s focused in practice, he helps out a lot.”

When asked about the 37-yard reception, Covington just laughed. The two both knew who the ball was going to when the play was called; Zundt flashed a smile to Covington on the sideline.

When Zundt brought it in, Covington was the first one sprinting down the sideline to celebrate with him. The two can only hope for more big plays this week to establish the confidence Coach Hill wants for the rest of the season.

Coverage begins at 6:00 P.M. on KWKR 99.9 ‘The Rock’ with the KPreps Pregame Show. The American Implement pregame show goes live from Ulysses at 6:30, with kickoff between the Buffaloes and Tigers set for 7:00.