By BRETT MARSHALL
LIBERAL — No matter what happens the rest of the season, it will be difficult for Garden City football fans to forget the homecoming massacre here on Friday night at Redskin Field.
And it will be even more difficult to stomach for the Liberal team.
That's when Greyson Tempel and a swarming Buffs' defense demolished Liberal for the sixth straight year, this time a stunning 61-20 thrashing.
For the record, Tempel rushed for 291 yards on 23 carries, scored five touchdowns on the ground, passed for another four scores as he and the Buffs rolled to their second straight Western Athletic Conference win.
Now 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the WAC, the Buffs have wiped out Hays, 35-0 in just one half a week earlier, and now the Redskins, who had rallied seven days before to beat Dodge City, 40-27.
There would be no comebacks for the Redskins on this night.
Playing without star wide receiver Trenton Hammond, who was suspended for an apparent violation of school policy, the Indians were more than a dollar short and a day late.
With a stiff northwesterly wind blowing at the game's outset, the Buffs deferred and got the wind at their back and they made it pay off in big dividends.
"We knew the wind would be a factor and it played a big role in our play selection, what we could do defensively against them," said a happy Buffs' coach Brian Hill. "We were able to kick the ball into the end zone, make them play an 80-yard field and that's tough going into a wind. Then, they punted short and it made the field a lot shorter for us."
That strategy showed early as the Buffs forced the Redskins into a pair of 3-and-outs at the start of the game and Garden converted them into quick scores.
The first was a 17-yard pass from Greyson Tempel to his twin, Dusty, at the 9:48 mark. Five minutes later it was a 51-yard strike to Caleb Tramp. That made it 14-0 Buffs.
Liberal did manage one score, a 16-yard burst up the middle by Rex Heronemus, and Britton Abbott's 2-point run, sliced the lead to 14-8 with 1:56 left in the first period.
But with the Buffs clicking on all cylinders, it didn't take them long to up the lead to 21-8 when Greyson Tempel hooked up with Tramp again, this one from 38 yards out with 59 seconds to go in the first.
Even going into the wind in the second, the Buffs seemed to have every answer for the Redskins. It was 27-8 early in the second when Greyson scooted 25 yards.
Blake Stout then hauled in a 20-yard pass from Abbott and it was 27-14 with 8:28 to go before intermission. That's when the Buffs turned up the offense another notch.
Greyson provided the outburst, scoring on runs of 49 and 14 yards, the last one just 1:15 away from the break, and it was 41-14 when the teams headed to the locker rooms.
"We had all the right plays for them," said defensive lineman Quinton Mead. "We knew what he (Abbott) was going to do and we just made sure to contain him and not let him get out to the corners."
It seemed to work as the Buffs' defense limited the 6-5, 220-pounder to 83 yards rushing and 175 yards passing after he had been averaging 121 and 365 in the Redskins' first four games.
"We know what he likes to do and our defense did a great job in not letting him do those things," Hill said. "Our line, both offense and defense, has dominated the last six quarters and that's the biggest difference for us."
Any Liberal rally hopes faded early in the third quarter as the Buffs extended the rout with two more scores — a 17-yard pass from Greyson to Tramp and a 17-yard run by Greyson — to make it 55-14 after three.
Capping off the scoring in the fourth, Greyson rocked the Redskins with an 86-yard highlight film scamper.
"The line just did a great job of blocking for me all night," Greyson said. "Our wide receivers do a terrific job with their blocking and they go after and make great catches. The defense was really outstanding today and we seem to have Liberal's number. Ever since middle school, we've always beaten them."
Tramp finished with four receptions for 111 yards while the Buffs' offense rolled up 556 yards (415 on the ground).
Abbott had only thrown one interception before Friday night, but was picked off twice and finished 15 of 38 for 175 yards.
Garden's defense finished the night with two interceptions, one fumble recovery and a blocked punt on special teams. All in all, a thoroughly dominating performance.
The Buffs jump out of the WAC for a non-league home game on Friday against Wichita East at 7 p.m. at Buffalo Stadium. It will be homecoming and Hill doesn't want theirs to be like Hays and Liberal.
"We like to play the spoiler for other people's homecomings, but we want to protect ours so everybody can enjoy the night," Hill said.
If the Buffs keep playing the way they did Friday night, that is likely to happen.
"We're playing with a chip on our shoulder and I want the kids to ease off for the weekend and come back with that chip again on Monday," Hill said. "I'm really proud of the way they've played the last two weeks."
Garden City 21 20 14 6 -- 61
Liberal 8 6 0 6 -- 20
GC--Dustin Tempel 17 pass from Greyson Tempel (I. Hernandez kick), 7-0, 9:48.
GC--Caleb Tramp 51 pass from G. Tempel (Hernandez kick), 14-0, 4:48.
LIB--Rex Heronemus 16 run (Britton Abbott run), 14-8, 1:56.
GC--Tramp 38 pass from G. Tempel (Hernandez kick), 21-8, :59.
GC--G. Tempel 25 run (kick failed), 27-8, 10:17.
LIB--Blake Stout 20 pass from Abbott (pass failed), 27-14, 8:28
GC--G. Tempel 49 run (Jared Koster run), 35-14, 8:05.
GC--G. Tempel 14 run (run failed), 41-14, 1:15.
GC--Tramp 17 pass from G. Tempel (run failed, bad snap), 47-14, 8:19.
GC--G. Tempel 17 run (Trenton Chiddix run), 55-14, 5:12.
GC--G. Tempel 86 run (pass failed), 61-14, 11:45.
LIB--Abbott 1 run (pass failed), 61-20, 4:51.
Team Statistics Game Stats GC LIB
1st Downs 25 16 Rushes-yards 54-415 36-163
Passing yards 141 209
Passes 7-13-0 16-39-2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-40 2-20
Punts-avg. 2-37.5 5-21.4
RUSHING: Garden City--G. Tempel 23-291, Koster 16-53, Woydziak 1-4, Howard 3-28, Landgraf 1-6, Chiddix 7-12, Parr 3-21.
Liberal--Abbott 20-83, Heronemus 16-80.
PASSING: Garden City--G. Tempel 7-13-0--141.
Liberal--Abbott 15-38-2--175, Larkin 1-1-0--34.
RECEIVING: Garden City--D. Tempel 2-31, Tramp 4-111, Richman 1-(-1).
Liberal--Wiltshire 2-42, Larkin 2-17, Stout 2-43, Heronemus 2-25, Fraire 1-8, Pando 6-68.