Playing for pride: Busters to end season at Coffeyville
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The game doesn't matter much in the standings. The winner won't make the playoffs and the loser will just have one higher number in the wrong column.
But to the Garden City Community College football team, and their counterparts for Saturday's road game at Coffeyville, a win would mean everything.
"This is the most important game of the year for us," said Broncbuster head coach Matt Miller. "It will show a lot of things. It will show the fight we have in our program."
The Busters have had a rough week. They were able to get back on track with a blowout win over Dodge City on Saturday but it was a little too late, having been eliminated from playoff contention the week before in a loss to Highland. Then this week, the team was hit with harder news, as a ruling came down from the NJCAA that found the GCCC program was in violation of NJCAA by-laws involving a transfer student and paperwork. That violation resulted in the Busters having to forfeit three wins early in the season (Independence, Cisco, Texas, Air Force Prep), dropping their previous record from 3-3 in the conference and 5-3 overall to 2-4 and 2-6.
But to Miller, the news should not be much of a distraction for his team.
"To tell you the truth, that's the one good thing about my team," he said about their ability to focus. "I knew what type of players, what type of people we have in our program, and I know No. 1, how much they love football; No. 2, how much they love this town; and No. 3, how much we want to finish this season well."
"I'm not expecting any carryover from what's going on this week," he said about the sanctions. "And at the worst, it's motivation."
Despite having a down year for Coffeyville's standards (2-4, 3-5), Miller said he expects a tough contest at Veterans Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"They're a formidable opponent," the first-year coach said. "I have the upmost respect for (Coffeyville Head) coach (Aaron) Flores."
For Coffeyville, this will be the first season the Red Ravens won't be in the playoffs since 2008 after conference losses to Hutchinson, Highland, Dodge City and Butler.
"It's been like a roller coaster," second-year coach Flores said. "Sometimes really good, and sometimes really bad."
The last three weeks have fallen into the latter of those two categories, as the Red Ravens lost two close contests to Highland and Dodge before being routed by Butler, 53-6, at home on Saturday.
But the Red Ravens will try to turn that around to end their season against the writhing Busters.
"For the sophomores, the goal is to end on a good note for the time they put in here, and for the freshmen, maybe give you some momentum heading into the offseason," Flores said.
One of those sophomores trying to end on a good note is 5-foot-9 running back Andre Allen, who has racked up 761 yards on 150 carries this season. Allen is the leading rusher on a run-heavy offense, as sophomore Richie Dyer has added 333 yards on 68 carries. All-purpose back Derek Keaton has totaled 232 yards on only 23 carries, while also hauling in 13 catches for 155 yards.
"We try to be balanced between run and pass — multiple formations," Flores said about his struggling offense, which is averaging only 279.1 yards per game.
The Ravens now must go against what will most likely be an angry Buster defense. The Busters have held opponents to just under 270 yards per game, 17th-best in the nation, and 20.6 points per game, tied for 20th in the nation.
"There's quite a few players that stand out for them," Flores said about the GCCC defense. "They're very athletic, very strong, good team speed, well-coached."
The Busters will be without 6-4, 315-pound freshman nose tackle Dondre Elvoid, though, who was ejected from the Dodge City game for a personal foul and must serve a one-game suspension at Coffeyville.
On the other side of the ball, the Busters seem to have fixed some of the problems that were ailing them in the middle of the season by gashing an otherwise solid Conquistador defense for several big plays, including a 47-yard pass-catch connection from sophomore Jake Curran to sophomore Tyreek Hill. The Oklahoma State-bound Hill also had breakaway rushing touchdowns from 51 and 85 yards out, adding to a 307-total offensive output by the speedy sophomore.
"You can't get yourself out of position," Flores said about trying to slow Hill down. "If you do, you'll get killed."
Curran will start again for the Busters after taking over for previous starter Akeem Jones before the Highland game on Oct. 12. Curran will lead the Buster offense against a Coffeyville defensive unit that is allowing 35.9 points and 396.6 yards per game.
Notes: Hill was named the KJCCC player of the week for his performance against Dodge City. He scored three touchdowns, ran for 200 yards and caught three balls for 107 yards against the Conquistadors.
Know the foe
Who: Garden City C.C.
at Coffeyville C.C.
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Veterans Stadium
Last Meeting: 2012, Coffeyville 54, Garden City 47
Garden City (2-4, 2-6)
League: Jayhawk Conference
Mascot: Broncbusters (Brown and White)
Coach: Matt Miller, (1st year)
Probable Starting Lineup
T--Dontavious Blair, 6-7, 275, So.; Colby Hamel, 6-3, 305, So.
G--Mitch Moore, 6-2, 275, Fr.; Ryan Johnson, 6-5, 330, So.
C--Jason Carreon, 6-2, 295, So.
TE--Alan Kramer, 6-2, 215, So.
WR--Nile Daniel, 6-2, 200, So.; Brandon Snell, 6-1, 205, Fr.
HB--Tyreek Hill, 5-9, 190, So.; Mike Gerst, 5-11, 205, So.
QB--Jake Curran, 6-3, 200, So.
PK--Tyler Peterson, 5-11, 180, So.
E--Richard Obi, 6-3, 255, So.; Ralphael Bernard, 6-1, 290, So.
N--Michael McEachern, 5-10, 280, Fr.
MLB--Errol Clarke, 6-3, 240, Fr.; D'vonta Derricott, 6-2, 235, So.
OLB--Dalton Gantz, 6-0, 210, Fr.; Darius Jones, 6-2, 230, So.
CB--Wonderful Terry, 5-10, 180, So.; Tim Hill, 5-11, 185, Fr.
S--Sam Green, 6-2, 210, Fr.; Makail Grace, 6-3, 205, Fr.
P--Tyler Peterson, 5-11, 180, So.
KR--Tyreek Hill, 5-9, 190, So.; Nile Daniel, 6-2, 200, So.
PR--Nile Daniel, 6-2, 200, So.
Aug. 24--INDEPENDENCE, L 1-0*
Aug. 31--at Cisco, Texas, L 1-0
Sept. 7--at Hutchinson, L 34-24*
Sept. 21--AIR FORCE PREP, L 1-0
Sept. 28--at Fort Scott, W 33-14*
Oct. 5--BUTLER, L 20-10*
Oct. 12--HIGHLAND, L20-17*
Oct. 19--at Dodge City, 41-22*
Oct. 26--at Coffeyville*
*Denotes Jayhawk Conference game
Coffeyville (2-4, 3-5)
League: Jayhawk Conference
Mascot: Red Ravens (Red and white)
Coach: Aaron Flores (2nd year, 9-9)
Probable Starting Lineup:
T--Michael Ivory, 6-5, 345, So.; Kenneth Sellers, 6-3, 300, So.
G--Mike Houghtaling, 6-4, 295, So.; Hayden Chandler, 6-3, 300, So.
C--Tyler Bedford, 6-1, 295, So.
TE--Jon Denton, 6-5, 260, So.
WR--Akia Booker, 6-1, 210, Fr.; Derrick Keaton, 6-0, 185, So.
RB--Andre Allen, 5-9, 175, So.
QB--Dakota Collins, 6-1, 210, So. or Brock Gilmore, 6-5, 215, Fr.
K--Toshi Hayashi, 5-8, 165, Fr.
E--Timmy Hamilton, 6-4, 250, Fr.; Jamaal Johnson, 6-2, 255, So.
NG--Rashad Dillard, 6-1, 265, So.
OLB--Kentrell Reynolds, 6-2, 220, So.; Khary Paige, 6-3, 225, Fr.
MLB--Tanner Ginavan, 6-1, 220, So.; Trynt Dunnegan, 6-2, 220, Fr.
CB--Jamarcus Howard, 5-11, 190, So.; Junior Williams, 5-11, 185, So.
S--Devonta Foster, 6-2, 195, Fr.; De'Vonte Brown, 6-2, 195, Fr.
P--Drew Davis, 6-2, 215, So.
Aug. 24--HUTCHINSON, L 44-14*
Aug. 31--Trinity Valley (Texas), L 72-7
Sept. 7--NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA A M, W 37-19
Sept. 14--FORT SCOTT, W 62-39*
Sept. 21--Independence, W 46-7*
Oct. 5--Highland, L 24-14*
Oct. 12--Dodge City, L 32-27*
Oct. 19--BUTLER, L 53-6*
Oct. 26--GARDEN CITY