Garden City regains The Hatchet

The Garden City High School football team has regained The Hatchet after defeating Dodge City on the road Friday at Memorial Stadium, 14-8.


This was the first time in three years GCHS has claimed the prize, in the 83-year battle.


The game proved to be a defensive battle in the first half, as neither teams’ offenses could find the end zone, for a 0-0 score at halftime.


"We were our own worst enemy (in the first half), either with penalties or missed assignments," GCHS Head Coach Brian Hill said. "It was just one thing after another early on. We were blocking wrong guys, weren’t staying on blocks long enough and had a really ugly first quarter."


The Buffaloes made some simple adjustments at halftime according to Hill, and began executing the offense in the third quarter.


Quarterback Caleb Wiese got Garden City on the board first in the third quarter with a 34-yard touchdown run. Isaac Rivera kicked the point after attempt for a 7-0 lead.


The Buffaloes other touchdown of the quarter came on a quirky play. Dodge City punted from deep in its own territory. The punter rushed the punt off a bad snap and kicked the ball in to one the Red Demon players. The ball bounced back in to the end zone and Garden City linebacker Alan Chairez pounced on the ball for a touchdown. Rivera kicked the point after for a 14-0 lead.


Dodge City got on the scoreboard in the fourth with a three-yard run by Alden Knedler. The Red Demons’ Matt Friess took the snap on a fake point after attempt and scampered in for a two-point conversion, bringing the score to 14-8.


Neither team could reach the goal line in the remainder of the game. Dodge City had the ball with 16.9 second left, but through an incomplete pass on a fourth and 14 for a turnover to Garden City, and the game.


"Coach (Justin) Reich put a plan together against a very explosive offense, and it worked great," Hill said. They were playing a lot of younger guys on the offensive line and we really challenged our line and linebackers to be the ones to stop the run. We knew if we could do that, we’d have a chance to put enough guys in the secondary to be able to defend against them. They did a terrific job of doing what they ere supposed to do with coverages. I can’t enough about the way these kids played."


Garden City had 204 yards of total offense to Dodge City’s 181. The Buffaloes ran the ball 37 times for 116 yards, while the Red Demons had 38 runs for 151 yards. GCHS had 88 passing yards as DCHS had 30.


For the Buffaloes offensively, Wiese had 18 rushes for 95 yards on the night. He also was 3 of 11 in passing for 88 yards and threw one interception. Josh Janas ran the ball 15 times for 18 yards, and Erik Dominguez carried the ball four times for three yards.


Dominguez had one pass reception for 52 yards, Cooper Ramsey had one for 20 yards, and Caleb Metzen had one reception for 16 yards.


For Dodge City, Knedler led the Red Demons running attack with 16 carries for 58 yards. Chance Kerr had eight runs for 56 yards and D’Andre Vontress had 14 carries for 37 yards. Tucker Smith was 21 of 30 passing for 88 yards and one interception.


Ivan Cordero led Dodge City in receiving, making three catches for 18 yards. Matt Friess had two catches for 10 yards and Enrique Chavez had one catch for two yards.


Garden City’s defense was led by Joel Bellows and Sergio Garcia with six tackles each. Ramsey and Terrell Elliott each had four tackles. Trey Nuzum collected two sacks on the night.


Garden City’s special teams played a difference in the game’s outcome, being able to shut down Dodge City’s Friess,


"We watched a ton of film showing them how explosive Friess is, and that he’s faster than you think," Hill said. "Think that’s something we haven’t had the last couple years but shows that I think we have athletics that are learning and it’s nice we can continue to let those kids grow out there. One of the guys that did a tremendous job in cover and kickoff is Colin Kleystueber. He did a terrific job of staying in his lane and making plays."


Garden City, 1-2 overall and 1-0 in Western Athletic Conference play, will host WAC foe Hays on Friday at Buffalo Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Garden City: 0;0;14;0; - 14


Dodge City: 0;0;0;8; - 8