Prior to last week’s game at Air Force Prep, Garden City Community College head coach Jeff Sims said he added the Prep game to the Busters’ schedule to try to reach an 8-3 overall record.
That record would be more appealing for bowl committees, he said.
But to attain that, the 17th-ranked Busters had to win all of their final three regular season games, and with a 29-20 win over the Huskies of Air Force Prep, the Busters (6-3) took the first step.
Next in the Busters’ crosshairs is the winless Iowa Central Tritons (0-9), whom the Busters take on at 11 a.m. Saturday in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The Tritons have not won a game since Oct. 10, 2015, a skid of 24 straight losses. Yet, Sims said the Busters have plenty of motivation to not take Iowa Central lightly.
“We focus on our continued improvement,” Sims said. “The goal of going to junior college is to get a scholarship, so we can always use that as motivation.”
Add in trying to get to a bowl game, giving players another chance for a solid performance on film and more practices for Sims to continue to coach his team, and the Busters have plenty on which to focus, Sims said.
But the Tritons are also an improved team from a year ago, Sims said.
“Last year, they didn’t win a game, and I don’t mean this as disrespectful, but they just weren’t talented enough to win,” Sims said. “This year, they’re talented enough. They’re just young … I don’t know if they will get a win this year, but if they put it all together, they can win a game. I just hope that doesn’t happen Saturday.”
The Tritons are averaging 14.1 points per game and are allowing 36.9 ppg, coming off a 62-14 blowout loss to No. 1 Iowa Western.
Their closest game this season came in the season opener, a 13-6 loss to DuPage, Ill. They also lost 28-20 to Dodge City a week later and 35-28 to Ellsworth in Week 3. But quarterback BJ Phillips was injured in that game, and he missed the next few weeks as the Tritons suffered blowout losses.
He returned for a 42-14 loss to Hutchinson, and then played the entire game against Fort Scott in a 26-17 loss. Then, he’s started each of the Tritons’ last two games, losses to Coffeyville and Iowa Western.
Phillips is completing 50 percent of his passes for 140.4 yards per game, throwing seven touchdowns and five picks.
But he’s also the Tritons’ leading rusher, picking up 394 yards and three scores on 107 carries.
But Sims said the Busters are focused on their progress, finding more “consistency.”
“The challenges this week is, it’s a 10-hour bus ride there, and they scheduled a game at 11 o’ clock in the morning,” Sims said. “That’s the earliest any of our players will play football this year, so I’m hopeful to get consistent play throughout the game.”
The Busters are averaging 30 points per game and allowing 25.