Buffaloes capture win over Great Bend, 4-1

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School goalkeeper Jonathan Hernandez, right, knocks the ball away from the goal off a shot by Wichita Heights' Oscar Vitela Monday at Buffalo Stadium.

Often times at a sporting event where there is a special celebration or ceremony, it becomes difficult for a team to focus on the task at hand.

So it might have been normal for the 14 players at Garden City High School to be a bit distracted Thursday night at Buffalo Stadium when it was Senior Night in their regular-season home finale against the Great Bend Panthers.

But left to a pair of junior forwards in David Hernandez and Chris Barragan, the Buffaloes swept their way to a 4-1 triumph over the visiting Panthers and in the process improved their season record to 10 wins against 3 losses and finished their Western Athletic Conference slate at 6-2, which will give them sole possession of second place behind No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Dodge City.

“With being our senior night, I just hoped that tonight would be a night to remember for all of us in the organization,” said head coach Jose Vital Caro. “Thankfully, that’s exactly what it was. All the seniors went on the pitch and played a heck of a game.”

All 14 of those seniors were introduced and honored in a pre-game ceremony, having been escorted onto the field at Buffalo Stadium by parents and other important people in their lives. Then, it was time for the action to unfold.

It was Hernandez who got things started for the Buffs’ offense, scoring in the 26th minute (13:29) on a shot from the right side that was just outside the penalty box area, firing the ball into the lower right side of the net past a diving Edwin Chavez.

Eight minutes later, with 5:58 showing before halftime, Hernandez got his second goal when he sent a shot into the left-footed shot into the lower left corner of the net on an unassisted play in the 34th minute. That 2-0 lead stood up at intermission.

The second half started out much like the first with teams trading possessions but neither succeeding in scoring. That, however, changed when the Panthers got their only goal in the 55th minute (24:35 on the clock) on a header into the left high portion of the net by Juan Sanchez.

That score tightened what had been a dominating effort by the Buffs, but also perhaps awakened the home team. Just a little more than three minutes later (21:22 of the 58th minute) saw Hernandez record his hat-trick third goal when he drilled the ball into the lower left portion of the goal, giving the Buffs a little breathing room at 3-1.

Barragan’s goal came in the final minute at 0:51 of the 79th minute to make it the final 4-1.

“It’s nice to see all of our players enjoy themselves doing what they love,” Vital Caro said. “We want to finish off the season super strong with zero margins of error from here on out.”

The Buffs will compete in the Wichita North Cup round-robin tournament next week, playing host Wichita North first on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the North Stadium. They will then play again later in the week in Wichita before coming home on Saturday, Oct. 16, to host Liberal in the final North Cup match. That Saturday contest will be at 11 a.m. at Buffalo Stadium.

“We think we have a shot at winning something special,” Vital Caro said. “It feels special, and they play special. We are only looking up after today.”

Great Bend  0; 1; -- 1

Garden City  2; 2; -- 4

First Half

GC—David Hernandez, unassisted, 26th minute (13:29), 1-0.

GC—David Hernandez, unassisted, 34th minute (5:58), 2-0.

Second Half

GB—Juan Sanchez, header goal, 55th minute (24:35), 2-1.

GC—David Hernandez, unassisted, 58th minute (21:22), 3-1.

GC—Chris Barragan, unassisted, 79th minute (0:51), 4-1.

Shots on Goal—Great Bend 7, Garden City 10. Goal Keeper Saves—Great Bend (Edwin Chavez 7), Garden City (Daniel Zamaripa 4). Corner Kicks—Great Bend 2, Garden City 3.