By NICK MCQUEEN
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — Coming off last week's loss to Great Bend at home, the Garden City High School football team got to play just two quarters Friday night against Hays High at Lewis Field Stadium.
Turns out, it was the best two quarters the Buffaloes have played all season in what culminated in a weather-shortened 35-0 shellacking of the previously unbeaten Indians.
The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes by lightning and after nearly 50 minutes of lightning delay to start the second half, the coaches agreed to call it a game, not wanting to risk injury for either team on a soaked turf after a long layoff.
Garden City (2-2 overall, 1-1 Western Athletic Conference) was firing on all cylinders, though, playing with the chip on their shoulder Buffs coach Brian Hill challenged them to.
"That's the best two quarters we've played all season long," said Hill. "It finally came together for us. The kids responded to the loss last week, and they knew WAC play was that way.
"We had to be ready to play against a good Hays team."
And ready the Buffaloes were.
Garden City gave up one first down to the Indians (3-1, 1-1) on the game's opening drive, but then forced senior tailback Preston Weigel to fumble at his own 47-yard line. Four plays later, the Buffs had a 7-0 lead, and it came on a fourth-down fake from the same 47 after Garden City didn't move the ball a single yard.
But on fourth-and-10, Greyson Tempel found Caleb Tramp, who was heavily covered for a 47-yard score.
That was the first of three straight turnovers by Hays High on which the Buffs were able to capitalize.
Two of those were charged to Hays High's dynamic junior quarterback Alex Delton, a highly-touted NCAA recruit for 2015 by rivals.com. Delton had a fumble and an interception, and Garden City turned them both into points.
"He's a great player and he's a threat," Hill said of Delton. "The one thing we can do most teams couldn't was give our defense a good look because of our kid.
"(Tempel) was (Delton) all week long," Hill added. "We worked on the angles and things of his speed. They were tremendous."
The Hays High running game was averaging 277 yards per game, but Delton was caught in the backfield nine times through two quarters and passed for just 62, with an interception.
"They're a good football team," Indian fifth-year head coach Ryan Cornelsen said of Garden City. "Reality is, they got things clicking early and, to me, looked like they wanted to win more than we did.
"Anytime someone plays harder than you, they're going to beat you."
After Delton's fumble — the second HHS turnover — Jared Koster dove in from 4 yards out to make it 14-0. After the Delton pick, Greyson Tempel had a 25-yard run to make it 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Garden City, with a distinct size advantage, easily controlled the line both ways.
"That doesn't always work that way," Hill said. "Quickness sometimes outplays the size advantage. We just tried to put our kids in positions to make plays."
Garden City forced a 3-and-out to start the second quarter, then Dustin Tempel got in on the big-play action. He returned the ensuing punt 66 yards to the house and a 28-0 Garden City lead.
Then, Greyson Tempel tacked on what turned out to be the game's final score from 67 yards around the left end down the Garden City sideline.
"We didn't play anything like who I thought we would be (last week)," Hill said. "We wanted to play with a chip on our shoulder. I called on the seniors. It was on them.
"The leadership needed to come from within."
In just two quarters, Greyson Tempel finished with 108 rushing yards and a score, and threw for 90 yards and a score. Hays High held Delton to minus-18 rushing yards and Weigel to 39. Although it was just two quarters, it was the first time a Hays High team coached by Cornelsen was scoreless since his first season in 2009 when the Indians lost 56-0 to perennial power Hutchinson.
Garden City travels to Liberal for WAC action next Friday, while Hays High travels to Wichita South.
Garden City 35, Hays High 0
Garden City 21 14 x x--35
Hays High 0 0 x x--0
(game called at half due to weather)
Garden City (2-2, 1-1) 21 14 x x — 35
Hays High (3-1, 1-1) 0 0 x x — 0
GC — Tramp 47 pass from Tempel (Hernandez kick).
GC — Koster 4 run (Hernandez kick).
GC — G. Tempel 25 run (Hernandez kick).
GC — D. Tempel 66 punt return (Hernandez kick).
GC — G. Tempel 67 run (Hernandez kick).
First downs 7 7
Rushes-yards 20-160 19-27
Passing 4-6-0 7-13-1
Passing yards 90 62
Penalties-yards 2-10 0-0
Punts-avg. 1-29 4-41
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
GC — Koster 12-41, G. Tempel 7-108, Landgraf 1-11.
HHS — Delton 11-(-18), Weigel 7-39, Whittington 1-6.
GC — G. Tempel, 4-6-0, 90 yards.
HHS — Delton, 7-13-1, 62 yards.
GC — Tramp 1-47, D. Tempel 1-20, Landgraf 1-3, Hernandez 1-20.
HHS — Klaus 1-7, Kreutzer 2-17, Whittington 1-13, Riedel 1-9, Clark 2-16.