Great Bend comes from behind in thrilling 5A playoff win
GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It’s not just that Great Bend has turned a 19-game losing streak into a seven-game winning streak this season, it’s that the games keep getting more exciting. Fourth-and-eight Friday night, and everything was on the line: the game, the streak, the season.
Senior quarterback Cayden Scheuerman delivered a 39-yard strike into double coverage and senior Braylon Council went up to get it. A few plays later, junior Cody Miller punched it in from a yard out to secure a 31-27 come-from-behind win against Goddard-Eisenhower to open the Class 5A playoffs.
“It’s just one of those games, sometimes you look back and say I don’t know how the heck we did it,” said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. “It just comes down to kids that don’t quit. We were flustered. We were struggling on both sides of the ball, but our kids just stayed level-headed, kept their composure. Even when it’s fourth down, our backs are against the wall, this is the game. Our quarterback throws a beautiful ball, and Braylon makes an unbelievable catch. To cap that thing off with a touchdown was huge.”
Great Bend simply could not stop the Eisenhower offense in the first half. Tiger senior Caleb Lowry scored on runs of 47, 30, and four yards, and senior Tyner Horn threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Carter Pabst. After trading blows early, Eisenhower took control with a 27-14 lead.
Panther junior Alex Galindo, the captain of the soccer team who suffered an injury late in the season and missed week eight on the gridiron, was unlikely to return the rest of the season. He ended the first half with a 37-yard field goal to keep Great Bend in it at 27-17.
The Panther defense did not allow another point, forcing a turnover on downs and three Tiger punts in the second half. Still, Great Bend needed an 85-yard run from Scheuerman for a 27-24 score early in the fourth quarter. A nice Panther drive stalled near midfield to set up the big pass from Scheuerman to Council in the final minute of the game.
“It was just backyard football,” Beck said. “Throw it up to seven, see if he can make a play. We tried to motion across like we’ve done before, and see if we could get a guy’s eyes on Maddox Spray. But they didn’t really. The safety stayed and the linebacker went out on Maddox. But, we told them, a 50-50 ball, seven is going to go win them. Basically, that’s all it was.”
Horn was able to complete two passes with the help of the final Tiger timeout, but the game ended when a receiver was unable to get out of bounds to stop the clock.
Lowry, battling some injuries, rushed for 137 yards and the three scores on just nine carries in the first half. He finished the game with 206 yards on 18 carries but never found the end zone again.
“Unbelievable job by our defense in the second half,” Beck said. “To get them off schedule a little bit, we made some adjustments at halftime. Right before we run out there for the second-half kickoff, we make one more quick adjustment and bring Ian Premer down to be another force player to help on their stretch zone, and it pays off.”
Great Bend won the toss and took the ball. Scheuerman capped a 65-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Scheuerman added a 43-yard score in the first half before Lowry and the Tiger defense took over for the 27-14 advantage.
Scheuerman strung together his best game of the season, rushing for 194 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. He threw for 95 yards on 9-of-17 passing.
Eisenhower ends its season at 3-6. Great Bend, after losing its first two games of the season, takes a 7-2 record to Salina Central next Friday for round two of the Class 5A playoffs.
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