May 28, 2024

Buffaloes Football Drops Playoff Matchup at Free State

Photo Credits; Adam Shrimplin, Shrimplin Photography

LAWRENCE, KS. – The season ended with a loud thud at Firebird Stadium for Garden City High School.

Two teams that came in off the exact same result; both losing 35-21, committing five turnovers in week eight. Free State came out hot, and left the Buffaloes in the dust.

The Garden City Buffaloes lost their first playoff matchup at the season in Lawrence, 42-21 against the Free State Firebirds on Friday Night. The Buffaloes close the 2023 season with a 5-4 record, Free State moves on to face 8-1 Manhattan in week ten.

Free State quarterback Wesley Edison came out on fire, leading the Firebirds to four straight scoring drives in the first half. Edison wound score the first touchdown in the game with a one-yard run, before finding senior wide receiver for a 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Senior running back Grant Lincoln recorded his first multi-touchdown performance of the season, scoring 57-yard and 15-yard touchdowns in the second quarter, putting FSHS up 28-0 at the half.

“You have to give Free State a lot of credit, they played a lot better than what we saw on film,” 14th year head coach Brian Hill said. “I don’t know if it was a whole ton of mistakes that we made, they’re just a really good football team.”

Garden City only got into Firebirds’ territory twice in the first half, coming up short on a failed field goal attempt and a turnover on downs. Once Free State jumped out to a 35-0 lead following Edison’s second touchdown run, it all felt like too little, too late for the Buffaloes.

Garden City did score three of the final four touchdowns in the game, with Mario Ruiz and Ethen Allen scoring their 11th and 12th all-purpose touchdowns this season. Brayden Sneath scored his third touchdown of the season in his playoff debut on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Ethan Gomez.

“It’s nice to see them continue to grow throughout the season,” Hill said. “They showed a lot of maturity, got more and more comfortable with our concepts throughout the season.”

Friday’s loss marked the end for 11 GCHS seniors, who all gave multiple years to the football program during their high school tenures.