Buffaloes grounded by high-flying Blue Aces

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Jerry Arteaga makes a run after a pass reception Oct. 1 against Liberal at Buffalo Stadium.

WICHITA - Even with a four-game winning streak under their belt, the Garden City High School football team found out that life on the road isn’t always rosy.

Perhaps hitting the road to Wichita to face Wichita East’s Blue Aces, who came in with a 2-3 record, and playing in between two important Western Athletic Conference games with Hays and Dodge City, was too much to ask of the Buffaloes.

But Brian Hill made no excuses and made no bones about what happened to his team in a 50-7 loss to East on Friday at Wichita Northwest Stadium. The Buffs came in ranked No. 10 in Class 6A by the various state polls. It was the first time in nine games that East produced a victory over the Buffs.

The favored Buffs won only the coin toss and as they have done throughout Hill’s career, deferred to have the ball in the second half and opted to play defense for the opening kickoff.

East took advantage, scoring on its first possession for a 6-0 lead, held the Buffs’ run-oriented offense to a punt on their first possession and proceeded to score again on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Daeonte’ Mitchell to LT Robinson and then a Mitchell 2-point conversion made it 14-0 East midway through the first quarter.

The deficit rose to 20-0 on another quick strike by the Aces and then Mitchell connected with Caquoy Patterson on an 8-yard TD pass with Rayvelle Leak running for the 2-point PAT in the second quarter to make it 28-0.

The Buffs got the only score of the third quarter and made their lone TD drive of the night, capped off by Zack Keosengphet’s 1-yard plunge and Issac Rivera’s PAT kick to make it 28-7 with 1:37 left in the period.

East would strike often and quick in the fourth quarter, getting TDs at the 10:46, 8:36 and 4:35 marks, and adding in two PAT 2-point conversions for a 22-point quarter, thus ending the rough night for the Buffs. The Buffs had no answer for Mitchell, who finished with 275 passing yards and 85 yards rushing to account for four of the Aces touchdowns.

“Obviously, a lot of things went wrong,” said Hill. “We weren’t focused at all and we played by far the worst game of the year.”

Call it a trap game, perhaps, since it came between the Buffs’ huge road win the week before at Hays (27-21) and in advance of the annual Hatchet Game at home this year with Dodge City on Friday and it may have been the recipe for what transpired.

Comparative scoring would be tossed out the window on this one when one considers Garden won the Hays game on the road but Hays had defeated Wichita East, 35-6, in the season opener.

“We haven’t handled the success part of our four wins as well as you need to,” Hill said. “Maybe we were drinking our own Kool-Aid, but our preparation last week was similar to the way we played Friday night.”

Hill hopes the fact that this week’s game is the big rivalry game with the Red Demons, who lost 39-17 to Hays Friday night, will be incentive enough for a better week of preparation and then execution in the game itself.

“One shouldn’t have to motivate for Dodge City” said Hill, who is 5-5 in his tenure with the Buffs against the Demons. It will be Hill’s first Hatchet Game against new Dodge City coach, Glenn O’Neil, who came from Topeka Seaman (5 years) after a long tenure at Scott City.

“I hope the kids have learned what happens when you quit doing the things that got you the success before,” Hill said. “Everything we do, in the classroom, off the field, how we behave, we’ve got to be better this coming week.”

Kickoff for the Hatchet Game is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Buffalo Stadium.

Garden City  0; 0; 7; 0; -- 7

Wichita East  20; 8; 0; 22; -- 50

Garden City Scoring

Third Quarter

Zack Keosengphet 1 run (Issac Rivera kick), 1:37

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Keosengphet 14-52; Wiese 16-67; Pilosof 1-4; Arteaga 1-29; Chairez 4-16; Burns 3 (-2), Charite 2-2. Totals 41-168.

Passing—Wiese 0-2-0-0

Punt—Heiman 3-41.0

Tackles—Wiese 15 (5-10); Marquez 12 (5-7); Bellows 9 (7-2). Sacks—1 (Whitehurst).