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Cantu, Maize South run by Great Bend 32-0

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 11:18 PM CDT
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - September showers brought with them some odd numbers to Friday’s season opener in Great Bend. Maize South used three big plays to score three of its four touchdowns on first downs, and the Mavs picked up a pair of safeties en route to a 32-0 win.

Maize South received the opening kick and marched 60-plus yard down the field on 16 plays before turning the ball over on downs. But Great Bend’s first possession went just three plays and the Mavs answered with a big run from senior Evan Cantu to set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from senior Owen Bailey to senior Luke McCormack for a 7-0 score with 5:02 to play in the first.

The Panthers were trying to answer when a 34-yard pass play was called back on offsetting penalties. Maize South junior Latrell Clay intercepted the next pass to halt that drive.

Both offenses stalled on their next drives, but Cantu provided the exclamation point in the first half with a 69-yard run to open the first Maize South drive of the second quarter.

“We have a pretty good back in Evan, and we have some great experienced linemen in Daniel Jantz and Brady Claasen,” said Maverick coach Brent Pfeifer. “That’s what we want to do.”

Despite throwing two interceptions in the first half and four in the game, Bailey quarterbacked the Mavs to a 14-0 lead by the time rain began to fall at halftime.

“We have a great quarterback and he got his first start tonight,” Pfeifer said. “He did some great things, and he had four bad things. They were really just misreads on his part. That’s something he can correct and I know he’ll get better so I’m not worried at all.”

Great Bend opened the second half with its best drive of the night, picking up three first downs on its first four plays of the third quarter. The drive stalled inside the 10-yard line. Maize South took over on downs only for Bailey to throw his third interception of the night, this time to Panther junior Cayden Scheuerman.

With the outcome of the game still in question, Maverick senior Ladislao Jaimes ran back an interception 45 yards on the next play to put Maize South ahead 21-0 with 2:58 remaining in the third.

The Maverick defense took over from there, forcing two safeties down the stretch – the second a result from a Jaimes punt that pinned the Panthers inside their own 5-yard line. Late in the game Great Bend had three chances to gain a yard to get on the scoreboard but the Mavs answered each time with a goal line stand.

“It’s a lot of new faces,” Pfeifer said of his new defense. “Tonight we had some great leadership. Some of the guys who are returning seniors – Britton Forsythe and Ladislao Jaimes – they did a great job of getting everyone set and communicating, even on the shifts and motion Great Bend does.”

Cantu scored one more big touchdown on a first down play early in the fourth, bouncing off several defenders to run 49 yards. He finished his first game of the season with 249 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

Bailey completed his first two passes of the second half but threw interceptions on his final two attempts of the game. He finished with 99 yards on 10-of-18 passing with the four picks and a touchdown. McCormack caught five passes for 64 yards and a score.

Great Bend managed just 42 yards of offense in the first half, surpassing that mark on the first drive of the second half. Sophomore running back Cody Miller carried the ball 15 times in the second half to finish with 45 yards on 16 attempts. Moeder threw for 47 yards on 8-of-23 passing with an interception. Junior Braylon Council netted 11 yards on his four receptions.

With a winless run in 2020, Great Bend extends its losing streak to nine games. After a 10-1 showing in 2019, Maize South fell to 5-4 in 2020. The Mavs are ready to build on Friday’s win.

“Our thing this year is just day by day,” Pfeifer said. “Last year taught us it was important to take it a day at a time. Great Bend brought a lot of guys back and they’re a better team. They fought hard tonight and they’re much improved. I don’t know if I’d want to play them in week nine. They have some guys with experience, and by the end of the year they’re going to be a pretty good squad. I’m glad we got them in week one.”

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