Garden City's Kleysteuber punches in game-winning touchdown in overtime thriller over Hutchinson High

Billy Watson
The Hutchinson News
The Garden City Buffaloes celebrate after beating the Hutchinson Salthawks 13-7 in overtime Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson.

HUTCHINSON – It was the ultimate clash of the flexbone offenses and gritty defenses, but Garden City running back Colin Kleysteuber had the power with the backing of a strong offensive line.

After the Hutchinson Salthawks missed a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, the Buffaloes could not be stopped on the ground as Kleysteuber punched in the one-yard touchdown to lift Garden City over Hutchinson 13-7 Friday night at Gowans Stadium in The Hutchinson News' Game of the Week.

Improving to 1-1 on the year after an opening-season loss to ranked-Manhattan, the Buffaloes think the only direction to go is up, especially after a win like Friday's.

"I'm so happy for the kids," Garden City head coach Brian Hill said. "I've got so many seniors that have been playing for so long around here, and they haven't be able to taste a victory like this. I'm just really happy for them."

The only two scores for Garden City came on the heels on Kleysteuber, who had a three-yard touchdown on the Buffaloes' opening drive and would be the only score in the first half. On the one-yarder to win the game, mayhem broke loose are Garden City stormed the field with Kleysteuber lying on the goal line.

"It was a big win," Kleysteuber said. "We had our first loss (against) Manhattan. That was pretty tough. We had the early touchdown at the beginning and just went dry... Our defense pretty much won the game for us, and we just finished off in overtime."

Garden City started with exceptional field position with 5:46 to go in the fourth quarter but moved the ball in the opposite direction after a false start and two illegal-shift penalties. Two drives later, the Buffalo defense kept the Salthawks put and forced overtime, which began at the 10-yard line.

The Salthawks lost major yards on their first play of overtime and missed a field-goal attempt, opening the window to Garden City. That's where Kleysteuber called game and capitalized.

Garden City running back Colin Kleysteuber runs the ball in the first half against the Hutchinson Salthawks. The Buffaloes beat the Salthawks 13-7 in overtime Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson.

"Just really proud of the way the kids played," Hill said. "We had some bad penalties there in the fourth quarter, but I thought here at the end they just a great job on defense and offense executing.

"(Kleysteuber) is a baller. He's not very big to be playing that position, but he's a wrestler. He's a very tough kid, and we know we can trust him. Just great second and probably third effort to get across the goal line."

Afterwards, players were yelling, "This is only the start." After not-so-successful seasons in the past, Hill thinks now it's time for Garden City to learn how to handle success moving forward.

"Understanding how we got here tonight was with a great week of practice," Hill said. "That's hopefully what we'll learn the most out of this."

Billy Watson has been the sports reporter for The Hutchinson News since March 2021. You can reach him at wwatson@gannett.com or send a direct message on Twitter @hutchsports or @billywatson4l.