The letdown effect — a drop in quality of play after an emotional win — is an oft-cited phenomenon in sports. Especially in college football, where the physical toll is so great and emotions are so hard to control for 18- to 22-year olds, the letdown effect is profound.
After a big win, perhaps a shocking upset, the winning team sometimes comes out flat the following week. Real or not, the perception is that it happens.
And it’s what Garden City Community College head coach Jeff Sims is concerned with ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. home kick-off against Iowa Central.
The Busters are coming off a stunning 25-20 win over then-ranked No. 1 Butler, an emotional win for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is because it stopped a seven-game losing streak.
“Absolutely, I do (worry about a letdown),” Sims said on Thursday. “We’re trying to correct that. I’m a realist and very aware, that any time things are different — now, we have a bunch of people patting us on the back and talking about last Saturday when we need to focus on this Saturday. So yes, I’m very aware of the possibility.”
Finishing the season strong for the Busters, now 2-7, is paramount for Sims.
“It’s very important, because we’re football players and coaches. This is what we love to do and winning is the goal,” Sims said. “You want to continute to improve and open up opportunities.
“I think (finishing strong) helps in recruiting in that when I sit in a home with a recruit, I have something to point to. I can talk to them about how we’ve progressed.”
That progression is stark, beginning with a 36-20 loss at struggling Fort Scott on Oct. 17, then the win at Butler on Oct. 24. Garden City’s next opponent, Iowa Central, which is 2-6 overall, has also seen some progression, the Tritons’ head football coach Kevin Twait said.
“In the last four weeks, our defense has really come on a little bit,” he said on Wednesday. “Against Ellsworth, Highland and Dodge City, we played pretty darn good football, which gives us some hope on that side of the ball.”
The Tritons defeated Highland, 13-12, on Oct. 10, but fell at Dodge City, 27-7, and home to Ellsworth, 28-22, in the last two weeks.
“Offensively, we’ve struggled a little bit,” Twait said. “We haven’t been able to run the ball as well as we usually do.”
They’re averaging just 185.3 total yards — 113 rushing — and 13 points per game so far.
“A lot of it has to do with who we’re playing,” Twait said. “We knew when we entered the agreement with the Kansas schools, we knew the ante was going to be upped a little bit.”
The Tritons are led by sophomore quarterback Corey Bertini, who is completing just 33.3 percent of his passes for 457 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Busters will stick with Todd Porter at quarterback as the red-shirt sophomore completed 20-of-29 passes for 289 yards and two scores in his first start of the season at Butler.
“Their quarterback’s ability to extend and make players and move the sticks with his legs or his arm, I thought he was just incredible against Butler,” Twait said.
But the play of the rest of the team, more specifically avoiding a letdown, is key for the Busters, which they will try to do “by doing the same exact same things we’ve done every week, not changing,” Sims said.
Know the Foe
Who: Iowa Central at Garden City
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Broncbuster Stadium
Series Record: Garden City, 1-0
Only Meeting: 2014, Garden City won, 13-7
Tale of the Tape
PPG 13.0 20.0
Rush YPG 113.0 46.8
Pass YPG 72.3 228.6
PPG All. 31.6 30.7
Rush YPG All. 165.9 218.0
Pass YPG All. 229.4 159.8
Coach: Kevin Twait (19th season, 134-64)
QB—Corey Bertini, So., 6-4, 217
RB—Taylor Sanders, So. 5-9, 196
HB—Jordan Trowers, So., 5-6, 211
Slot—Neil Hanson, So., 5-10, 157
TE—Trevor Wiekamp, Fr., 6-0, 231
WR—Jalen Glass, So., 6-3, 223; Tyce Sarver, Fr., 6-3, 192
LT—Noah Sander, Fr., 6-5, 273
LG—Edward Sanders, So., 6-2, 313
C—Cleandre Robinson, So., 6-0, 302
RG—D’Andre Despanie, Fr., 5-10, 290
RT—Kane Johnson, Fr., 6-2, 255
DE—Vinnie Harvey, So., 5-11, 234; Evan Davis, So., 6-3, 230
DT—LaCale London, Fr., 6-5, 272; Tommy Irvin, Fr., 6-2, 274
OLB—Tanner Devries, Fr., 5-9, 200
LB—Romel Hill, So., 5-11, 200; Kendrick Suntken, Fr., 6-1, 251
CB—Jalen Embry, Fr., 6-0, 191; Roosevelt Lawrence, Fr., 5-11, 156
SS—Jermaine Gilyard, So., 5-11, 197
FS—Jordan Baldwin, Fr., 6-0, 166
K—Marl Malm, So., 6-1, 179
P—Jacob Sherman, So., 6-2, 205
Coach: Jeff Sims (First season, 2-7)
QB—Todd Porter, R-So., 6-3, 210
WR—Jeff Thomas, So., 6-3, 210; Felton Hatcher, R-Fr., 6-0, 185; Ben Phillips, Fr., 6-2, 187; Tim Arno, R-Fr., 6-0, 185
RB—Eddie Morris, Fr., 5-10, 200
T—Cody Jennings, Fr., 6-5, 270; Arlington Hambright, Fr., 6-5, 265
G—Donald Rocker, R-So.; 6-5, 315; Nathan Hale, Fr., 6-1, 260
C—Trey Popp, Fr., 6-2, 242
DE—Jeremy Faulk, R-So., 6-2, 265; Andrew Basham, Fr, 6-4, 280
NT—Tyler Small, So., 6-1, 265
OLB—Gabe Luyanda, Fr., 6-5, 220; Delshawn Phillips, Fr., 6-2, 215
MLB—Josh Meis, R-So., 6-2, 205
WLB—Myles Matthews, Fr., 6-2, 225
CB—Lonnie Johnson, So., 6-3, 205; Andrew Brown, So., 5-10, 175
SS—Trayvon Blake, So., 6-1, 190
FS—Jonathan Cook, R-So., 6-0, 198
K—Kevin Olney, Fr., 6-0, 190
P—Lawyer Davis, So., 5-8, 175