By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

Somehow, some way, the Garden City High School football team will have to dig deep into its soul on Friday to come away with a big Class 6A District 8 victory over traditional powerhouse Hutchinson's Salthawks.

The 7 p.m. kickoff at Buffalo Stadium will see the Buffs try to rebound from a disappointing 40-24 loss at Maize a week ago in their district opener, while the Salthawks, who have battled a myriad of injuries this year, were a little healthier when they put a 35-0 whitewash job on Dodge City.

Still, both GCHS coach Brian Hill and veteran Hutch coach Randy Dreiling, expect a hard-fought contest. That was something that didn't materialize in 2012 when the teams met for the first time since 2007 as the Salthawks steamrolled the Buffs, 56-14.

"I think last year was an anomaly of what I thought the game would be," said Hutch's Dreiling. "We got a pick-6 (interception return) and a kickoff return and it snowballed. I don't think you can count on that every year."

Hill is hoping that will ring true with his team this time around.

"We've dug ourselves a hole in two different ways," Hill said of the losses to Maize and earlier to Great Bend. "The Maize game was about our offense not doing the right things early and leaving us with 3-and-outs, and then having a short field to defend. The Great Bend loss was about not making tackles and missing plays. It was the same result, just a different way there."

But Hill believes the Buffs will be ready to take on one of the elite programs in Kansas.

"It's district play, and every team in our district is good," Hill said. "You need to be healthy and play well to win a game in our district. It is a big task, but I think we're ready to go in and take care of what we can."

In the 2012 game, the Buffs had an early, and brief, lead over the Salthawks by scoring first. But by halftime it had gotten out of hand, with Hutch up 35-7.

And despite holding the Salthawks to 271 rushing yards, Hutch had its most effective passing game of the season, completing 6-of-7 for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns, along with getting a 90-yard kickoff return for a TD.

"You can't load everybody up at the line and just try to stop the run," Hill said of the Hutch offense. "You've got to pay attention to the pass, too. You can't just let them throw it over your head for long pass plays or all you'll be doing is having your kickoff return team on the field. And that's not the kind of game we want to play."

While Hill is in the latter stages of his fourth year, and trying to build his own tradition with the Buffs' program, Dreiling has established a powerhouse in his 17 years that has rarely been achieved in Kansas football coaching circles.

His teams have won seven state championships since 2004, including six in a row between Class 6A and 5A (2004 to 2009) and twice more they have been runners-up, including a year ago when they fell 19-14 to Shawnee Mission West in the 6A championship game.

The injury bug, which hit Garden City hard prior to the start of the season, also has slowed down the Salthawks during the season, sidelining as many as seven or eight starters for all or parts of the schedule. But Dreiling got junior quarterback Turner Wintz back in the lineup after missing three quarters of a 48-10 blowout loss to Salina South, and a 36-0 bashing by No. 1-ranked Derby. Dreiling's fullback, Jacob Hardenburger also came back after missing those two losses. The Salthawk defense, normally one of the strengths, also was without two of its linebackers they return for Friday's game after sitting out the last three weeks.

"Getting Turner and Jacob back makes the offense tick and everything just feels better when they're on the field," Dreiling said. "When we're without them, things just haven't gone as well as you'd like."

It's easy to see why when looking at the season stats. In five games, Hardenburger has rushed for 783 yards, scored nine touchdowns and averaged 7.1 yards per carry and 156.6 yards per game. Wintz is close behind with 742 yards, scoring 11 TDs and averaging 7.0 yards per attempt, good for 123.7 yards per contest.

The run-dominated Hutch offense has had little need for passing, averaging just 49.4 yards through the air. Their ground game carves out 336.9 yards a game.

Dreiling said he sees similarities in Garden City from a year ago, but also said he expected a much different battle this time around.

"Their quarterback (Greyson Tempel) again is the one who makes a lot of plays," Dreiling said. "He can hurt you with his arm at times and with his feet. Even though they didn't win the game (Maize), I thought at the end Maize had a hard time containing him. We've got to minimize that."

Of Garden's defense, Dreiling said the Buffs would pose several challenges.

"They're very similar, they've got five guys back and they don't change much from what has been successful for them," Dreiling said. "They've got some quality wins and I look for a battle. It's our first trip out west since 2006 (a 41-7 Hutch win), so you've just got to stay focused."

The game is big no matter how one looks at it, but for the Buffs to have a chance to reach the playoffs, they will need to win against Hutch. If both Maize and Hutch win on Friday, then the two teams advancing to the playoffs will have been decided and the Hatchet Game on Nov. 1 will be played solely for pride.

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Know the Foe

What: Hutchinson High at Garden City High

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Buffalo Stadium

Last Meeting: 2012, Hutchinson 56-14 at Gowans Stadium.

Last Game in Garden City: 2006, Hutchinson 41-7.

Series Record: Hutchinson leads 18-14.

Garden City

Mascot: Buffaloes (Brown & White)

Class: Kansas 6A, District 8 (Maize, Hutchinson, Dodge City)

League: Western Athletic Conference

Head Coach: Brian Hill (4th year, 21-15, .583)

Projected Starting Lineup

Offense

WR--Dusty Tempel, 5-10, 170, Sr.; Mitchell Hernandez, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Caleb Tramp, 6-5, 205, Jr.

T--Alex Frey, 6-4, 290, So.; Austin Nichols, 6-0, 215, Sr.

G--Montana Fuller, 6-3, 250, Sr.; Cesar Felix, 5-8, 240, Sr.

C--Humberto Perez, 6-0, 230, Jr.

QB--Greyson Tempel, 5-11, 175, Sr.

TB--Jared Koster, 5-11, 155, So.

FB--Clay Woydziak, 5-10, 175, Sr.

PK--Ismael Hernandez, 5-7, 140, Sr.

Defense

T--James Nguyen, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Quinton Mead, 5-11, 220, Sr.

E--Cody Worden, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Andrew Brom, 5-8, 170, Sr.

LB--Trenton Chiddix, 5-8, 170, Jr.; Kelton Uthe, 5-10, 215, Sr.; Nalen Rincones, 5-10, 180, So.

CB--Alex Espinosa, 6-0, 160, Jr.; Dusty Tempel, 5-10, 170, Sr.

S--Emilio Parr, 6-2, 175, Sr.; Dozie Ekweariri, 5-9, 140, Sr.

P--Mitchell Hernandez, 5-8, 160, Sr.

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2013 Schedule/Results

(4-3, 0-1 Dist.)

Sept. 6--at Bixby, Okla., L 32-27

Sept. 13--WOODWARD, OKLA., W 35-34

Sept. 20--GREAT BEND*, L 28-25

Sept. 27--at Hays*, W 35-0 (game called at halftime, lightning)

Oct. 4--at Liberal*, W 61-20

Oct. 11-- WICHITA EAST, W 35-7

Oct. 18--at Maize#, L 40-24

Oct. 25--HUTCHINSON#

Nov. 1--DODGE CITY*#

*--Indicates WAC game; #-Indicates Class 6A-8 district game.

Hutchinson

Mascot: Salthawks (Blue & Gold)

Class: Kansas 6A, District 8 (Garden City, Maize, Dodge City)

League: Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Div. I

Head Coach: Randy Dreiling (17th year, 159-37-0, .811)

Projected Starting Lineup

Offense

WR--Kendric Hudson, 5-11, 171, Sr.

T--Michael Ruebke, 5-9, 227, Sr.; Nathan Fairbanks, 6-3, 274, Sr.

G--Jonathan Jensen, 6-0, 281, Jr.; Ryan Calvillo, 6-3, 299, Sr.

C--Cole Cruz, 6-0, 287, Sr.

TE--Kassidy Lemons, 6-0, 185, Sr.

QB--Turner Wintz, 5-10, 170, Jr.

HB--Josh Patterson, 5-10, 143, Jr.; Austin Garcia, 5-9, 152, Sr.

FB--Jacob Hardenburger, 5-8, 164, Jr.

PK--Kassidy Lemons, 6-0, 185, Sr.

Defense

E--Nathan Hale, 6-1, 235, Jr.; Francisco Escamilla, 5-9, 222, Jr.

T--Heath Davidson, 6-0, 260, Jr.

NG--Dalton Luce, 5-9, 224, Sr.

LB--Colby Turner, 5-11, 200, Jr.; Ryan Stoecklein, 6-0, 192, Jr.; Colin O'Neal, 5-10, 168, Sr.

CB--Luther Tolbert, 5-10, 168, Jr.; Emilio Tafolla, 5-7, 150, Sr.

S--Levi Jackson, 5-9, 155, Jr.; Conor Craig, 5-9, 150, Fr.

P--Devon Patterson, 5-8, 146, Jr.

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2013 Schedule/Results

HUTCHINSON (4-3, 1-0 Dist.)

Sept. 6--SALINA CENTRAL, W 42-31

Sept. 13--at Haysville Campus, W 48-0

Sept. 20--at Rockhurst HS (Kansas City, Mo.), L 41-7

Sept. 27--NEWTON, W 56-32

Oct. 4--at Salina South, L 48-10

Oct. 11--at Derby, L 36-0

Oct. 18--DODGE CITY, W 35-0

Oct. 25--at Garden City

Nov. 1--MAIZE

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Series History

(Hutchinson leads 18-14-0)

Biggest margin of victory: Hutchinson 43 (56-13, 2007); Garden City 54 (54-0, 1989).

Smallest margin of victory:

1915--Hutchinson, 41-0

1952--Hutchinson, 31-20

1953--Garden City, 7-6

1954--Garden City, 19-6

1981--Garden City, 19-9 (1st District game)

1982--Garden City, 26-21

1983--Hutchinson, 34-6

1984--Hutchinson, 8-0

1985--Hutchinson, 43-12

1986--Hutchinson, 36-14

1987--Hutchinson, 26-14

1988--Hutchinson, 28-7

1989--Garden City, 54-0

1990--Garden City, 43-0

1992--Garden City, 41-7

1993--Garden City, 51-7

1994--Garden City, 42-7

1995--Garden City, 40-0

1996--Garden City, 33-22

1997--Garden City, 42-14

1998--Garden City, 49-12

1999--Garden City, 28-7

2000--Hutchinson, 20-14

2001--Hutchinson, 35-8

2002--Hutchinson, 21-19

2003--Hutchinson, 34-10

2004--Hutchinson, 49-23

2005--Hutchinson, 42-13

2005--Hutchinson, 32-15 (State semifinals)

2006--Hutchinson, 41-7

2007--Hutchinson, 56-13

2012--Hutchinson, 56-14