Garden City beats Dodge City, advances to semifinals

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College defensive lineman Vaai' Seumalo, right, moves through the Dodge City offensive line to force a rushed throw by Conquistador quarterback Rashad McKee for an incomplete pass Sunday at Broncbuster Stadium during a Region VI quarterfinal game. GCCC won the contest 36-16.

Broncbusters to host Butler on Sunday

Garden City Community College achieved something on Sunday that they hadn't done in 16 years.  

Rhett Ricedorff notched his second 300-yard passing game of the year with a season-best 351 through the air and four scores, William Knight hit the century mark on the ground for the fourth time in the last five games with 131 yards, and the Broncbusters won a Region playoff game for the first time since 2005 with a 36-16 victory over Dodge City at Broncbuster Stadium. With the win, Garden City advances to play Butler in the semifinals next weekend after the Grizzlies pounded top-seeded Coffeyville, 48-7.

"This was a sloppy game on our part," GCCC Head Coach Tom Minnick said afterwards. "We have a lot of things to clean up before next week."

All positives aside, Garden City was flagged 16 times for 121 yards with 12 of those infractions coming in the first 30 minutes. Besides that, everything else went the Broncbusters' way. They outgained Dodge City 486-308 and played turnover-free football for the second time in the past three games.

"We stopped ourselves a lot today," Minnick added. "We killed drives with all of those penalties."

After forcing a three-and-out on Dodge City's first possession, the Broncbusters marched 69 yards in 10 plays, converting a pair of third downs including a third-and-13 when Ricedorff slipped a pass to Shawn Charles right at the sticks. Later, Ricedorff went back to Charles, who was wide open in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown.

"For the most part, I thought our offensive line protected well today," Minnick said.

Garden City Community College running back William Knight, left, breaks to his right, past Dodge City's Anthony Quinney, for a 12-yard gain on a play Sunday during a Region VI quarterfinal game at Broncbuster Stadium. Knight rushed for 131 yards in the Broncbusters win.

Dodge City took a brief lead early in the second quarter on Rashad McKee's 27-yard touchdown pass to Fred Eaford that made it, 7-6. But Garden City quickly responded when Ricedorff hit Keyshawn Buckley for a 55-yard score, and Knight ran in the two-point conversion to put the Broncbusters on top for good, 14-6.

"These are the hard games to get up for," Minnick explained. "Because your guys expect to just roll out there and win. But that's not how it works. So, I'm glad they found a way."

Ricedorff capped the first half with his third scoring toss in the final three minutes when he connected with Fuafiva Tulafale to give Minnick's bunch a 21-7 advantage at the break.

"Our passing game worked really well today," Minnick said. "Rhett has been great for us all season long, and it's disappointing that he missed those couple of games early in the year."

The Broncbusters pushed their lead to 17 after William Greig drilled a 20-yard field goal midway through the third. But the Conquistadors found a way to stick around. McKee dropped a 48-yard dime right in the lap of Cameron Faison that pulled Dodge City to within 10. 

Then in the fourth, Garden City left tackle Isaiah Adams was called for holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety. However, the visitors failed to take advantage of the free kick and went three-and-out. The Broncbusters answered with a six-play, 79-yard drive that Ricedorff capped with a 51-yard bomb to David Elder for a 30-16 lead, and Knight finished off the Conquistadors with a nine-yard rushing touchdown that put the Broncbusters up 20 with 2:20 remaining.

"We figured out a way to win this game," Minnick said. "Now we move on. We know who is coming in here next week."

Elder caught four balls for 80 yards and a touchdown for Garden City, which extended its winning streak over their rivals to seven games. In fact, Ricedorff connected with nine different receivers on the afternoon.

McKee finished 14-of-28 for 271 yards and two touchdowns for Dodge City. Elisha Turner had four catches for 90 yards, and Nico Perofeta had a game-high 14 tackles.

Dodge City  0; 7; 7; 2; -  16

Garden City 6; 15; 3; 12; - 36

Garden City will host Butler at 1 p.m. on Sunday in a Region VI semifinal matchup.