A week later, down to the very hour and almost down to the exact points on the scoreboard, the Garden City High School Buffaloes found themselves in the familiar circumstance of being up four touchdowns against a visiting WAC rival.

A week ago, after leading 28-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes nearly collapsed under the weight of their own success, but held on for a 7-point win over Hays. On Friday night, the Buffs just added on to their 25-0 halftime lead in a 32-6 blowout of Liberal at Buffalo Stadium.

“We talked about it at halftime,” GCHS head coach Brian Hill said. “‘Here we are, seven days later, and we’re almost in the exact same situation.’ I thought we did a much better job of staying focused, playing hard and doing those little things we didn’t do last week with a big lead.”

Yet it was the big things that helped the Buffs improve to 2-0 in the WAC (2-3 overall) and send Liberal to 1-4 and 0-2.

Big things such as a trio of Carlos Acosta touchdown passes in the first half, and an Avey Arana touchdown run that sent them into the break with a big lead. And the big things such as nearly shutting out Liberal in the second half as well, before the visitors avoided the shutout by scoring their only touchdown with 1:41 remaining in the game on a 58-yard run by Elijah McCarter.

The Buffs snuffed out everything else Liberal tried on offense, holding the attack to just 156 total offensive yards, and picking off Liberal quarterback Syrus Dunlap three times. Even when the Buffs made a mistake, they responded well, unlike in previous games this season.

Early in the second half, the Buffs forced a Liberal punt from inside of Liberal’s 5-yard line, but the ball hit a Buffs’ player once it landed and Liberal recovered. In recent weeks, the defense might have given up a touchdown afterwards.

Instead, the Buffs held them to three-and-out once again, and then stopped a fake punt to give the ball back to the offense in Liberal territory.

“That was a big thing for us to be able to hold them to another three-and-out,” Hill said.

That turned into the fifth and final Buffs’ touchdown, when Reece Morss rumbled in from 4 yards out with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter — and a 32-0 lead.

After throwing for 220 yards in the first half, the Buffs rode Morss — and Acosta on the ground — in the second half, grinding out the yards and the clock. They finished with 146 rushing yards and 241 passing.

“I was still a little frustrated late in the game where we were still missing a few things up front that were driving us backwards,” Hill said, “but we still were able to run the clock. It’s more about eating up the clock. If we do score, great, but it’s about taking the air out of the game."

They did, allowing their big early lead to stand for 60 minutes.

That lead was built quickly, as the first four drives for the Buffs all ended in touchdowns, and the first three were on passes from Acosta, who accounted for 220 passing yards in the first half alone.

The first of his three touchdown passes was a 12-yard toss to Tye Davis in the back of the end zone, lofting his pass over a battalion of Liberal defenders. Four minutes later, after a three-and-out for Liberal’s offense, Acosta hit Kaleb LaPointe on a cross pattern, and LaPointe ran in for the score.

That touchdown was set up by a pair of physical 10-plus yard runs from Reece Morss, who should have been dropped in the backfield on the second run, but stiff-armed a Liberal lineman and then got outside for the 13-yard gain.

The next play saw Acosta hit LaPointe for the score.

Liberal finally got a drive going on the ensuing possession — after going three-and-out in the first two drives — but this march stalled inside of the Buffs’ 5 as Liberal turned it over on downs.

Two plays later, Acosta threw a long ball to Davis, who had to come back to the under thrown ball, catch it and then out-raced the defenders for the 87-yard touchdown.

Liberal again started to put another drive together, running 10 plays and getting into Buffs’ territory, before quarterback Syrus Dunlap was picked off by Davis.

The Buffs then put together their longest drive of the half with a nine-play, 52-yard march that was capped by Avey Arana’s 2-yard burst. The possession was kept alive when Acosta stood in the pocket on 3rd-and-18 against an edge blitzer and took the big hit, but found Ryan Jarmer for 26 yards and the first down.

After a missed extra point and a pair of failed 2-point conversions on the previous touchdowns, the Buffs opted to kick it again after Arana’s score, and Miguel Ramos’ boot was good as the Buffs led 25-0.

That’s where it stood at half, as the Buffs stopped another Liberal drive when Acosta, playing defensive back, covered his receiver perfectly and was in better position for the Dunlap pass to pick it off.

“I saw Syrus … look my way, and I knew it was coming my way … and I just saw the wide receiver break off and I just had to make a play on the ball, and that’s what I did,” Acosta said of the pick, coming from his former full-time position before making the switch to QB.

In the second half, Davis picked off another Dunlap pass and returned it for the would-be touchdown, but it was called back due to penalty.

Still, it ended Liberal’s ninth-consecutive drive short of points. And it helped keep the Buffs undefeated in WAC play.

“It’s a big win for us,” Acosta said, “starting off 0-3 and now 2-0 in WAC play.”