Great Bend scores late, hangs on for fifth-straight win
GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - A 19-game losing streak that ended earlier this season feels like a distant memory now for the Great Bend football team. The Panthers entered Friday’s game against Ulysses riding a 4-game win streak and high hopes of hosting a Class 5A playoff game. But first they had to get by Ulysses. The Panthers used a 19-play, 86-yard drive in the fourth quarter to get the job done 27-22.
“When we needed it they came up big, and that’s what you want to see,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “I just feel like we came out a little too lackadaisical, just a little too slow to start this thing. Even as we’re scoring touchdowns and feeling good about things, it just didn’t quite have that feel we really need to take to be that home-hosting Class 5A team.”
Great Bend senior quarterback Cayden Scheuerman was able to utilize classmate Braylon Council throughout the first half. The duo opened scoring on a 23-yard strike on the first Panther possession, then connected on touchdown passes of 15 and 56 yards in the first half. Council finished the half with 137 yards and the three scores on seven receptions.
“We knew that’s the matchup they were going to give us, and we were going to have a chance to take some shots,” Beck said. “We honestly thought we could get them out of what they were running defensively, and they didn’t really adjust. We just missed some opportunities in the second half that probably would have changed some things.”
But the Tigers, entering the night with just one win against a brutal schedule, barely wavered. A 36-yard run from senior quarterback Justin Degollado set up a short touchdown run from senior Lorenzo Gomez. A 58-yard touchdown run from senior Evan Cortez made for a 21-14 score at the half.
Ulysses sophomore Aiden Alvardo nearly took the opening kick of the second half the distance. Gomez punched it in two plays later, and the 2-points from Cortez gave the Tigers a 22-21 edge just 49 seconds into the third quarter.
The offenses drove but rarely scored after that. The Panthers made a big stop deep in their own territory, then marched the 86 yards on 19 plays, capped by Scheuerman’s 2-yard touchdown run with 5:02 remaining. That proved to be the difference in the game.
“It almost felt like our kids really settled in on that last drive offensively,” said Beck. “They weren’t pressing. They weren’t thinking we had to take the big shot. We just moved the ball on them. It was a great drive to go win the ball game.”
Cortez led the Tiger ground attack with 74 yards on 10 carries. Freshman Keedrin Jones had a big second half with 62 yards on nine attempts.
Scheuerman threw for 216 yards and the three touchdowns on 21-of-34 passing. He rushed for another 84 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 17 carries. Council finished with 157 yards on 10 receptions and handled kicking duties, and Cody Miller rushed for 64 yards on 21 attempts.
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