The Garden City Community College football team can only control one thing: winning Saturday’s 1 p.m. regular-season finale at Fort Scott.
Everything else the Busters want to accomplish is in the hands of someone else.
With a win over the Greyhounds (4-5, 2-4), the 16th-ranked Busters (7-3, 4-2) could be in line for a share of a KJCCC title — but only if Independence (7-2, 5-1) loses to Coffeyville (4-6, 3-3) Saturday. If that happens, Garden City, Butler and Independence would all tie at 5-2 in the Jayhawk and share a conference title.
And postseason considerations are a concern, as well, with head coach Jeff Sims publicly advocating for a bowl bid to one of the nine NJCAA bowls this season. But all of that is out of the Busters’ control.
“Out focus points are to win a game, want to finish the season with eight wins — the second best season (at GCCC) in 15 years, have a four-game winning streak and hopefully be attractive to any bowl that wants us,” Sims said, “because we’ll go play anybody anywhere.”
An eighth win would indeed be the most for the program — outside the 2016 national championship — since 2001, when the Busters went 9-2. And the Busters have been playing their best ball of the season, winning 41-14 against Dodge City and 37-0 at Iowa Central, sandwiching a 29-20 win at Air Force Prep in between the last three weeks.
But the Greyhounds have been playing better, too, after an 0-3 start for first-year head coach Kale Pick, former Dodge City High School and Kansas University quarterback, who also spent the 2015 season as a quarterback assistant to Brian Hill and the Garden City High School Buffaloes.
They’ve gone 4-3 since, with wins over Coffeyville, Iowa Central, Ellsworth and Hutchinson, 29-24, last week.
“They’re playing harder,” Sims, who coached the Greyhounds to a 2009 national championship game appearance, said of the progress he’s seen from Fort Scott. “You can see each week they are playing harder, and each week they’re gaining for confidence.
“You can tell they had a young coaching staff, but the players are buying in and playing with more effort.”
Like many young teams, the Greyhounds are also better at home — going 3-1 — than they are on the road, where they’ve suffered a 1-4 record.
“They throw the ball the most (of other Buster opponents),” Sims said of the specific challenges Fort Scott present. “They love to throw it around and have fun, and they really get after it on offense.”
The Greyhounds, led by Dalton Sneed at quarterback, are averaging a conference-best 202.9 yards per game through the air, while Sneed is completing 63.8 percent of his passes. He’s thrown just seven touchdowns to 11 interceptions, however.
Busters’ offensive line vs. Fort Scott’s defensive line
The Greyhounds are third in the Jayhawk in sacks, racking up 33, led by Jeffrey Keene and Daeqwan Bailey, each of whom have 7.5 sacks. Bailey is a three-star lineman, according to 247sports.com.
The Busters’ offensive line has struggled, at times, in protecting quarterback Terry Wilson, and if Fort Scott could get pressure on him, the game could swing.