Garden City came into the South Central Region bracket as the top seed with a 15-2 record. The Buffs hosted No. 6 seed Derby at Garden City high school in the regional championship Thursday night. The stakes were win or go home. Although Garden City was favored, the 12-5 Derby team took the Buffs into double overtime and walked away with the state berth 4-3.
Derby played into the wind throughout the first half. Despite the disadvantage, the Panthers were the first team to score 18 minutes into the game. Two minutes later and the Buffs retaliated. Sophomore forward Erik Baarragan slid within feet of the goal. A Derby defender was there to knock him to the ground. He maintained control of the ball while on the ground, jumped up and slid under another Derby defender to slide kick the ball into the goal. The score was tied at one goal each.
The first half continued to excited the fans. The shots on goal were abundant. Both defenses seemed to struggle with both teams' dominant offensive schemes. With 19 minutes left in the half Baarragan barreled through the Derby defense, juked out two defenders and the goalkeeper, and nailed in a shot to the far side of the Panthers' net. Two goals for Baarragan and the Buffs were ahead 2-1. Immediately, the Panthers found a burst of energy and sprinted down the pitch. Within seconds they composed a play and the Buffs were shocked. The ball rolled into the far side of the Buffalo goal, untouched by any defender. The Panthers tied it up at two.
Garden City got their chance but Derby made a stronger attempt. Three minutes later the Panthers had the lead 3-2. Both teams continued to battle and both goalies continued to make incredible saves. Barraagan got his third goal for the Buffs on a penalty kick. He easily catapulted his shot along the ground and into the back corner of the goal. The game went into halftime tied at three.
The second half turned the pitch into a battle ground. A single goal meant the end of the game. At the end of regulation neither team had scored and they began their first overtime. Again, both defenses were impenetrable. Double overtime commenced. With three minutes remaining in the second overtime Derby found its opening and attacked. The Buffs could not respond in time and the Panthers walked away with the upset and the state tournament berth 4-3 in double overtime.